Metaltek Kuota boss Andy Swain has big decisions to make after his team’s most consistent year on the road left them in “no man’s land”.
The Melton-based semi-professional cycling team set out to be the best of the rest on the national circuit - that is top of the 40-plus teams circulating below the UK’s six UCI teams.
And they duly met that target during a hectic spring and summer, while regularly dishing out a few bloody noses among British cycling’s big boys.
They finished fifth in the Spring Cup Series, ahead of Team Wiggins and Raleigh, and then capped the season with sixth place overall in the Elite Road Series, once again heading Raleigh in the overall standings.
And all of this followed their season-highpoint – Dan Fleeman’s sensational win at their ‘home’ race, the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic.
“We’ve had a brilliant year and we’ve done what we set out to do,” said Swain.
“We pitch ourselves as the best of those 40-odd teams, but by beating the likes of Raleigh and Wiggins often, we are now properly mixing it with the UCIs.
“It has probably been our best season, and certainly our most consistent. We’ve moved on from picking up nice top 20 finishes to nice top 10s.”
The main dilemma now for Swain and directeur sportif Colin Sturgess is whether to stick or twist.
“We are just in that no man’s land now. For us to move up would take a lot of money, or we can stick as we are,
“We are well thought of now on the road so it would be nice to attract some proper sponsorship and take us to the next level of the Tour Of Britain and Tour of Yorkshire.”
A Metaltek name who cropped up regularly in dispatches was George Pym who secured a clutch of top 15 finishes, including fifth at the Klondyke Grand Prix and 13th overall at the Tour of the Reservoir.
The 23-year-old joined Metaltek this season after two years with Raleigh.
“George has done everything, and for me has been the stand-out rider of the year, other than Dan’s Classic win.”
As well as juggling the demands of running a business and cycling team, his labour of love, Swain has also inherited another job within the UK cycling scene events.
“I was offered the job of driving the doctor at the Women’s Tour of Britain, and then I was asked to do Ride London and then the men’s Tour of Brtain.
“It’s probably one of the most important jobs because you are second car in the convoy behind the commissaire so you need a lot of experience and knowledge to be in the right place at the right time.
“The men’s tour involved a lot of driving, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.”