At the beginning of 2016, the announcement of a new team called Ford Ecoboost made quite a splash – the team had, after all, been set up by Nikki Juniper, one of the most highly-respected riders on the British circuit with a palmares to match, and she’d managed to bring a brand well-known around the world back into cycling sponsorship after many years’ absence.
Nikki had also built a roster that featured several other top names from around the country, but as she explained when she very kindly gave Neutral Service a scoop and allowed it to be the first to announce the team (cheers Nikki!), her main concern when inviting riders to join had not been getting those who were going to win a load of stuff (though to anyone who follows British women’s cycling, it was very clear that they were going to) but had been to put together a team of women who would get on well and support one another in being the best they possibly could be. – more below the links
They did support one another, and they did win stuff – a lot of stuff. As expected, their first season was enormously successful and they rapidly established themselves as arguably the strongest team on the British circuit with a plethora of victories and high placings throughout the year and in a wide variety of different races: Nikki won six prestigious events including that year’s very tough (and absolutely freezing) Tour of the Reservoir, the Curlew Cup and the Ryedale GP, which netted her the Women’s Road Series for the third time, and as a team they secured numerous additional wins and podiums throughout the season – including Adele Martin who won eight out of eleven rounds of the Behind The Bikeshed Summer Series before taking the South-West Championships at the end of the season.
In addition to Nikki and Adele, for 2017 the team retains Julie Erskine, Charlotte Broughton, Sophie Fennell, Louise Surridge Mel Brand and Jo Tindley, the latter having signed up late in 2016. They’ll be joined by Beth Hayward, Lauren Creamer and Kelly Murphy, all previously with Podium Ambition, and Charmaine Porter (previously Army Cycling Racing Team, five victories in 2016), Corinne Clark (ex-WNT, two victories and numerous podiums in 2016) and Jenny Powell (ex-EliteVelo Kalas, three victories including the Southern Region RR Championships in 2016).
Edit: Clover Murray, who was listed as remaining with the team, has since announced she’s moving on.
While Ford Ecoboost was so successful in 2016, when NS spoke to directeur sportif Nick Yarworth he was insistent that the team definitely won’t be resting on its laurels this season. “There are a lot of very good riders on the smaller teams this year,” he says, listing a number of examples that he feels will shake things up. “Women’s cycling in the UK has grown enormously, it’s on the up. Nobody will get their own way and nobody can be complacent, we just hope to step up to meet them and help raise the profile of the sport along the way.”
Last year, Nikki assisted Nick with much of the team admin and management but, as she told NS, “my job is to ride bikes.” To allow her to concentrate on that, the team has recruited Rick Lister, formerly of Team WNT where he worked with Tindley and Clark. The team retains the tremendous backing of Ford plus additional key sponsors Kalas custom clothing, High5 nutrition, Echelon cycles and Fenwick’s lubrication and cycle care products.
Team Ford Ecoboost 2017 roster at a glance
Want to see the team in action?
Nick says that the Matrix Tour Series is Ford Ecoboost’s primary target in 2017 – with several rounds taking place around the country (locations yet to be annouced), the Series offers a great opportunity to see both Ford Ecoboost and the best of British women’s cycling, and all rounds are televised. They will also contest the Women’s Team Series which, like the Tour Series, consists of several rounds across the UK including circuit races and some of the best road races in the country, as well as the National Road Series. You can also expect to see them, as a team and individually, competing at numerous other events throughout the UK.
“well that’s come around quickly! hello 2017 season. Cant wait to start racing with the TFE girls. Exciting times with so much young new talent coming through. Very lucky to have great sponsors as Ford UK supporting us for another year. Competitive sport at any level is hard but having the support of sponsors who believe in you makes it that little bit easier. Lets make it another good year for women’s cycling! #getgirlsonbikes“