A new-look South African road-race outfit, Team TOKEN, has grown by leaps and bounds since starting off as a charity partner at the end of 2016.
The team, known as Formacon until late December when the new title sponsor came on board, set out during its first year not to get results but rather to raise money for a children’s charity.
Team manager and vets rider Misha Loots said things went better than they expected, which resulted in them securing more sponsors and signing more riders.
They began specialising in the men’s veteran 40-44 category (VC) and featuring in the 30-34 (VA) and 35-39 (VB) fields as well.
A five-man elite men’s team also materialised, with Barry Crouch playing the leadership role last year.
Last season the team racked up a total of seven wins, 12 second places, 11 thirds and 18 top-10s over various categories.
Loots said it was their objective to build on that success this year.
“We want to focus on the Gauteng-based races and go after all the big classics [in the province],” Loots told In the Bunch.
“Depending on our budget we might do another tour or an away race. We just want to get as many results as we can.”
The team recently took part in the Gauteng road champs where the outcome was mixed.
“It was good and bad,” Loots said. “James Crawley [VC rider] had a heavy crash the day before provincials so he couldn’t race and he’s busy recovering now.
“But Barry [Crouch] came sixth [in the elite race] at provincials, being beaten by two WorldTour and three Continental riders. It was a great result for him.”
He added that Andre Calteaux finished fourth in the VC category, an area where the team would place special focus at the national road champs in Pretoria next month.
Loots said the elite team was relatively young and inexperienced, with Crouch the strongest rider at this stage.
“He will try to get results in the climbing-orientated races, such as the Tshwane Classic and Satellite Classic.
“He’s also won the King of the Mountains at the Double90 for the last two years running so he’ll probably try to defend that. The team will probably be focused around him in many of the races.”
Loots said all the riders are committed to full-time jobs or their studies, making it particularly challenging to compete against all-out professionals.
The team has signed a three-year deal with TOKEN, while still forming a partnership with the charity, and Loots said they aim to grow it as much as they can and to possibly add a women’s team next year.
They are due to participate in their first event under the Token banner at the Fast One cycle race in Meyerton this weekend.