Over the past few years I've had the privilege of running a team which has recruited some of the UK's most talented mountain bikers. There have been many highlights such as Tim's 12 hour European title in 2013, Isaac challenging for podiums at the 2014 British XC Series, and then in 2015 seeing Mark and Dylan win medals at XC and CX National Champs. Watching the riders achieve something often felt just as satisfying as achieving my own race results.

There are many challenges when running a team and looking after a group of athletes, combine that with trying to race and train for an international programme of your own makes it a full time occupation. Luckily over the years we've had an amazing group of very supportive sponsors. I cannot emphasize enough how great the sponsors have been. There are also many individuals over the years who've sacrificed their time and sanity to help the team on race weekend! Without people such as John Newport the team wouldn't have achieved half what it has.

2016 brings a new chapter, a change in direction. With the National Marathon jersey on my back and some fantastic results over the last few months of the season including a 4th place at the penultimate European round of UCI World Marathon Series it was decided I should concentrate on my own race programme in 2016. This is only possible thanks to the support of the sponsors. It wasn't an easy decision but hopefully one day I can return to the roll of team manager and help support another group of talented athletes.

2016 brings new sponsors including a new bike. The brand instantly recognized the difficulties I'd experienced over the years and are motivated to help me achieve my goals as an individual in 2016.

I'm hugely excited to start this new chapter and will kick off the season in January at the Costa Blanca Bike Race. The first goal of the season is the early rounds of the UCI World Marathon Series in April and May. I'll follow this up with European and World Marathon Championships in June.

It's been great seeing the reaction on social media to what the team had achieved over the past few years, thank you to all the followers for keeping us motivated. Please continue to follow the Mountain Trax - Vauxhall Cycling Team on Facebook for updates on my racing adventures throughout 2016.

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Regards,

Ben Thomas
Team Manager
Mountain Trax - Vauxhall Cycling Team