Last week RoadCycling was in Newmarket for the launch of Team ŠKODA Racing, where James Oram, Robert Stannard and Nick Bain all shared their excitement about being part of the team for the 2015-2016 domestic season. ŠKODA’s General Manager, Greg Leet said, “ŠKODA is very proud to be able to play a role in the future success of Team ŠKODA Racing. We share the values of performance and quality and look forward to working together to achieve great success and race wins in 2015 and beyond.”
Prior to becoming Team ŠKODA Racing, the Nature Valley Avanti Cycling Team saw extraordinary results in 2014 and 2015, winning major races including the Elite Criterium Nationals, the Elite race at the Lake Taupo Challenge and two rounds of the North Island Teams Series.; with Patrick Bevin being a strong force on the team before moving to Avanti Racing and now on towards the World Tour with Cannondale-Garmin.
These results were supported by strong performances in New Zealand’s UCI races, with two podium finishes at the 2.2 classified New Zealand Cycle Classic courtesy of Nick Bain in stage 3 and stage 4; and a 4th placing for Callum Gordon at the 1.2 classified The Radiosport Rev.
New Zealand National team rider Nick Bain, and NRS rider Callum Gordon are back for the team again this year, along with double world junior track champion Campbell Stewart and World Junior Championships rider Robert Stannard. In a squad that is positively bristling with talent, Team ŠKODA Racing have also secured the allegiance of James Oram who finished 6th in the U23 World Time Trial.
As part of its sponsorship of Team ŠKODA Racing, ŠKODA is providing the team members with their own ŠKODA vehicles. A new cycle team kit also features ŠKODA branding. Scott Fairbairn, Team Principal at Team ŠKODA Racing commented, “ŠKODA is a fantastic sponsor for Team ŠKODA Racing. Partnering with an iconic European brand that has strong links to cycling and a focus on quality will support us as we work to perform at the top level.”
Cycling is a cornerstone of ŠKODA’s sponsorship strategy. Globally ŠKODA supports international races such as Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta España. At a local level, ŠKODA already sponsors Cycling New Zealand and the National Cycling Centre of Excellence – The Avantidrome. ŠKODA NZ also supports an ambassador programme of young cyclists, and sponsors the World Champion New Zealand Men‘s Sprint Cycling Team which sees them all driving the ŠKODA Octavia RS.
ŠKODA New Zealand’s commitment to cycling extends to a grassroots level where it sponsors, among others, the Auckland event Bike the Bridge, Le Race in Christchurch, and Motatapu in Queenstown. These team cycling events are all part of the wider membership programme Team ŠKODA, which encourages Kiwis to get involved in team cycling events.
This season has already got off to a near perfect start as Team ŠKODA Racing have already been at the sharp end of events in the North Island. Nick Bain has already got two second place finishes to his name courtesy of round 1 of the Trust House North Island Series – which he also leads in the U23 category – and Sunday’s Te Awamutu Classic. Team ŠKODA Racing also lead the team classification in the Team Championship presented by Dynamo Events after their strong showing at the Te Awamutu Classic.