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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 January 2008, 09:30 GMT
GB boss outlines Tour team target
Dave Brailsford
Brailsford intends the new women's team to be the model for the men
Dave Brailsford, British Cycling's performance director, has set his sights on a British men's professional team win in the Tour de France.

At the launch of a women's pro team led by Nicole Cooke, Brailsford set a 2012 target for a GB men's team in Le Tour.

"I think you can get a men's team and bring it right to the level where we will have a full British team competing for the Tour de France," he said.

And he was clear about the long-term aim: "We're only in it to win it."

Brailsford, who was speaking at Wednesday's launch of the Team Halford's Bikehut women's professional road race team, outlined his vision for a British men's team win in Le Tour.

"It's a bit more of a medium to long-term plan, but there is no reason why this model [Team Halford's Bikehut] cannot develop."

"I think it is the future and I think you can go and get a men's team and bring it right to the level where we will have a full British team of professional male riders competing for the Tour de France, which will match what Nicole [Cooke] has done for the women.

And as for winning the Tour, Brailsford was forthright: "Why not? If we did not think we could win it, we would not be in the sport. We're only in it to win it to be honest."

Team Halfords Bikehut

Cooke, twice winner of the women's Tour de France, and leader of the new Halford's women's team, hailed the formation of an entirely British professional team as, "The biggest step forward in women's sport in this country for many, many years".

The 24-year-old heads a squad of 10 women and two men, who will ride a full season of events under the new team colours on bikes designed by Chris Boardman, an Olympic gold medallist in Barcelona in 1992.

And it's very clear that this year's target is Olympic success and hence the team's racing schedule will be geared to that end.

"Going to Beijing and being able to ride the bike I'll be on [with the Halfords team] at the Olympics was very important," Cooke said.

The full Team Halfords Bikehut squad is: Nicole Cooke, Catherine Hare, Tanja Slater, Wendy Houvenagel, Joanna Rowsell, Lizzie Armistead, Katie Curtis, Emma Trott, Jessica Allen, Katie Colclough, Rob Hayles and Tom Southam.

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