Melton’s elite cycle racing team Metaltek KUOTA RT has had a turbulent few months heading into its big home race this weekend.
Metaltek, formed by Melton rider Andy Swain in 2012, enjoyed a superb debut at the 2013 Classic when it was one of the leading teams, with four of its six riders among the 60 finishers led by Kit Gilham who was an excellent ninth.
But the loss of major sponsor Knights of Old at the end of January put a major spanner in the works in the run-up to the season. Despite the shortfall in cash, the team survived due to the continuation of support from Melton-based Metaltek Engineering Solutions and Italian bicycle brand Kuota.
And in spite of the upheavals, team manager Swain feels he has one of the strongest British teams in the field.
Their squad for Sunday includes Dan Fleeman, a former Continental professional for Cervelo and now one of the country’s leading mountain bikers, Ben Stockdale, Dexter Gardias, Steve Adams and last year’s fifth-place finisher Will Bjergfelt.
Recently Metaltek was awarded one of only five positions as a British Cycling Elite National Team and is one of only eight teams that will contest the prestigious ITV4-televised Tour Series in May and June.
Last weekend they lined up for the opening round of British Cycling’s Elite Series in Northumbria for the two-day Tour of the Reservoir.
Up against all the big squads such as Raleigh, NFTO and Madison, they performed strongly with Stockdale, Fleeman and Bjergfelt finishing inside the top 20 on day two with Fleeman an impressive 17th overall.
Follow the team on Twitter @MetaltekKUOTA and say hello to them in Oakham or Melton on race day. Anyone interested in sponsoring Metaltek, which offers TV time and VIP hospitality, should contact Andy Swain firstname.lastname@example.org