Johannesburg – Elite South African cyclists Arran Brown and Richard Baxter have set themselves a target to win all the major local titles next season, under the banner of their new team.
Brown, who was third at the Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge in Johannesburg on Sunday, will break away from MTN-Qhubeka in the new season to form the Cycle Fit team with Baxter, who finished ninth at the weekend in his last race for the Tasol-GT outfit.
“Next year I'm starting my own cycling team and am looking to race locally and win all the major races,” said Brown.
“Our team is small – it's just myself and Richard and we hope to pick up financial sponsors and then attract more riders, to have a maximum of five.”
Brown, who won the Cycle Challenge in 2009 and 2011, believed the new team would make an impact on the cycling scene despite its modest status.
“The sport is controlled by two big teams, and lots of smaller teams are struggling because of their budgets,” he said.
“I think it’s healthy for the sport that another team will be making our racing competitive.”
Team Cycle Fit's 2013 programme would be focused on the Cape Argus in March, which Brown won in 2009 and finished fourth this year, as well as the next Cycle Challenge.
Brown said the move to start his own cycling team was a pure business decision.
“I joined MTN-Qhubeka as a young kid and I had ambitions of going to Europe and doing the Tour de France. I've had decent results, but I had to review my future goals and gave myself just this year to see how I do in Europe,” he said.
“I concluded that local racing conditions are suited to me and I should rather focus on doing great locally.”
His former team had bigger objectives and wanted to be based in Europe, but Brown said his new outfit had their own goals.
“I will not be racing in Europe any longer and will rather focus on winning locally.” – Sapa