It was a weekend of double celebration for Team Raleigh GAC as the team won two races on the same day.
A six man team travelled to the Wally Gimber Trophy in Kent for 160km of racing.
Pictured clockwise from top left are Brad Morgan, Calvin Beneke, Liam Stones, Karol Domagalski, Steve Lampier and Sam Lowe.
The early pace was quick with the opening 60 miles covered in 2hrs 16mins and soon after a break of 23 riders moved away.
That group included Karol, Steve, Brad and Sam but with just a few kilometres to go three riders went clear.
Steve and Karol managed to drop the third man and rolled over the line together.
After a look at the photo finish the win was given to Karol, the first win on British soil for the Polish rider.
A few minutes behind Brad and Sam crossed the line in sixth and seventh respectively.
At almost the same time but at the other end of the UK in the Scottish city of Stirling Evan Oliphant was crossing the line to take first place in the Crit on the Campus race.
Team principal Cherie Pridham, said: “I’m delighted for Karol to get his first win after just two races on British soil.
“Our aim was to ride aggressively again and be there in force when the crucial move was made.
“That paid off with four riders being present when the first split in the peloton came. Then for Steve and Karol to break away and bring the win home was perfect.
“I’m also thrilled that Evan has got his first podium of the year.
“To be able to celebrate two wins in one day is brilliant and that they came in two very different disciplines shows the strength and depth that we have in the team.”
With the first race of the season looming Team Raleigh GAC’s riders were not only getting the miles in on the road but also on the track.
The team was lucky enough to be invited along to the Derby Arena to try out the new 250m cycling track ahead of its grand opening on March 20.
The boys were joined by Team Raleigh GAC chairman John Vicars for the test and all were blown away by the facility.
Derby-born Sam Lowe said he was excited to start using the new track to help mix-up training.
Earlier in the day some of the team headed down to the opening of our new Outlet Store in Hilton Three-time Madison World Champion Morgan Kneisky was there and featured in stories in the local media. A link to the story can be found here.
After their media commitments were fulfilled all attention turned to the opening race of the season – the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race.
The 80km race takes place at the historic Aintree racecourse and the flat surroundings made for a tough day’s riding with a strong headwind blowing across the course.
The Soens is a handicap event, meaning the field had nearly a lap on the pros as they started, but Team Raleigh GAC quickly went to the front and reeled them in.
A number of breaks went away from the bunch, most with a Team Raleigh GAC rider in the mix, but none could stay away.
That was until Ian Wilkinson and George Pym broke free, alongside three other riders, with around nine laps to go. With three laps to go a burst from the group saw George lose contact leaving Ian to contest the podium places.
The team captain was narrowly beaten in a sprint for second and Morgan Kneisky showed the form that took him to his third Madison World Champion title easily winning the bunch sprint for fifth place.
Next week sees the team travel to Belgium to race the Omloop van het Waasland a UCI Europe Tour 1.2 event.
Direct Nutrition are proud to announce a brand new partnership with Team Raleigh GAC.
The correct fuel can mean the difference between victory and defeat and with the products from Direct Nutrition the riders will be given the best chance before, during and after the race.
Whilst training in preparation for and during competitions, Team Raleigh GAC will be helped by an array of state of the art nutrition that will fuel their body and mind.
Ross McManus of Direct Nutrition said: “We are very proud and excited to be a part of Team Raleigh GAC and providing them with all of the sports nutrition they need.
Our aim is to keep them hydrated all the time, to fuel them during their training and competition and help their recovery after racing.
We believe that good nutrition will help Team Raleigh GAC to continue to be one of UK cycling’s leading teams!"
Team Raleigh GAC Team Principal, Cherie Pridham, said: "We are delighted to have Direct Nutrition as a partner. Our riders need the very best possible products to keep them in good physical during training and racing. With Direct Nutrition we have the perfect partner to deliver the fuel for those big efforts - as well as starting the recovery process for the next race."
During the team's pre-season training camp the riders and staff began using the products to help them push through the punishing efforts over the 12 days as well as over the 2015 season.
New signing Andy Hawdon has been using the products and praised their recovery benefits as well as taste.
"We have been using Elite Series Hydrate while we are on the bike and that has been fantastic.
I haven't suffered from any cramps at all during the week and it tastes good too. We have also been using the Elite Series - Post Workout recovery shakes and they have been excellent as well.
I have had no muscle soreness and they taste so good that I have actually had them with breakfast the day after hard efforts to get some more protein and aid in the recovery that little bit more."
Direct Nutrition is extremely proud to be working along side Team Raleigh GAC and we are thrilled that our products are working for them as we anticipated. If you would like any information on the products please visit our product pages in our shop.