ONE Pro Cycling, who made such a big impression in their debut season this year culminating with a successful Aviva Tour of Britain where they won both the YodelDirect Sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains jerseys, have been successful in their application to secure a ProContinental Licence for 2016.

Their elevation in status will effectively step up into the second division of the world sport next season, racing extensively around Europe and other parts of the world as well as competing on the British circuit.

The team, only launched this February by former England cricketer Matt Prior and Yorkshire businessman Simon Chappell received notification of their successful application today as ONE Pro Cycling become the first ever UCI Professional Continental team to come out of Britain.

“It’s been a tough but very satisfying process if I’m honest,” says Matt Prior.  “The UCI have been incredibly rigorous looking at every aspect of the team, the structure and the finances. As well as being a hurdle to clear it has in many ways been an invaluable insight into the standards that are expected. It has underlined the big step we are taking and I welcome that.

“The scale of things goes up massively now, that’s the first thing I’ve noticed.  We are just completing plans for our big December team camp and suddenly we need 19 staff to full service the squad for the intensive training but it’s a genuinely exciting moment for us. It’s what we want and of course long term our aim and dream is to go all the way and become Britain’s second World Tour team.

“Our initial task will be to get fully fit for purpose and just race and race, put ourselves out there and hopefully get a few results. And on the back of that we – in fact probably me – will be working hard to get invites and wildcards to some of the big races. 

“My ‘beat’ used to be Australia, Sri Lanka,South Africa  India and now I spend most my time travelling to France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland. We intend to have some fun along the way but we are deadly serious in wanting to be fulfil our potential and be ultra-competitive at all times.

“We’ve spent the last few months carefully selecting new riders to join the squad preparing us for what will be a huge step up. We have a great balance of talented up and coming riders who are hugely motivated to fulfil their potential, as well as experienced riders who have already tasted success at the top level. This mix of experience and youthful exuberance will stand us in good stead.

“It has been equally important for us to ensure we have the right performance and support staff in place creating a culture that will give us the best chance of success. The staff have been selected not only based on the skill they bring but also their character and outlook on the world of professional sport.”

Right from the start ONE Pro Cycling have made no secret of their ambition to be become Britain’s second UCI World Tour team within five years and Prior, much encouraged by a promising first season at domestic level, sees no reason not to step up a level after just one season’s racing.

During the 2015 season they picked off a decent crop of wins around the British circuit. Pete Williams won the Eddie Soens Memorial race and the Clayton Spring Classic, while Marcin Bialoblocki – a star performer in various roles from start to finish, seen here winning in Bath – took the Primavera Road Race and the Betty Pharaoh Memorial Road Race. They also performed bullishly in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series winning rounds as individual riders and a team, which saw a tug-of-war between ONE Pro and the established Madison Genesis team all the way to the final round in Bath, cruelly falling short at the final hurdle with Yanto Barker suffering a severe mechanical causing him to abandon the race.

Next up in August was victory in the team standings of British Cycling’s season long Elite Road Series before heading to their national Tour where they made their debuts in September.

Then the entire team put their best foot forward at the Aviva Tour of Britain when they mounted a superb campaign which resulted in both the SKODA King of the Mountains Jersey and the YodelDirect Sprints competition for Peter Williams.

“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make our ambition become a reality and I’m immensely proud of what the team have managed to achieve in such a short period of time,” adds General Manager Becky Frewing.  “Plans are already in place for our first training camp in December, and having overseen each of the new rider signings it will be very rewarding for all of us to finally see the whole team come together.”

Squad for 2016: Yanto Barker, Tom Baylis (Development Programme), Marcin Bialoblocki, Karol Domagalski, John Ebsen, Matt Goss, Richard Handley. George Harper, Kristian House, Josh Hunt, Sebastian Lander, Hayden McCormick, Martin Mortensen, Chris Opie, James Oram, Glenn O’Shea, Dion Smith, Steele Von Hoff, Pete Williams, Sam Williams (Development programme)

Don’t forget, you can check out a recent interview with team boss Matt Prior here, where he looks back on their debut 2015 season and ahead to their plans for the future.