Whilst Tachoblog makes no apologies for being patriotic, at least this is an Olympics 2012 story that is truck related!
Members of the national road, track, MTB, BMX and paracycling squads and support staff will be transported to training sessions and competitive events across Europe in eight new vehicles bearing the three-pointed star.
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They will be bidding to emulate the triumphs of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and their team-mates, who returned from the 2008 Games in Beijing with a record-breaking medal haul.
British Cycling, the governing body for cycle sport in the UK, is based at Manchester Velodrome, and its new vehicles were supplied by city dealer Enza.
Four are Long-bodied, high-roofed Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 315CDI vans, two of which have been fitted by Upholstery Vehicle Services with second rows of seats and side windows.
The Manchester-based specialist has also transformed three Medium-bodied Sprinter 311CDIs and a smaller Mercedes-Benz Vito 111CDI Long into nine-seat minibuses.
“We considered vans from several manufacturers but quickly realised that the Mercedes-Benz package was far superior to anything else available,” British Cycling’s Management Accountant Darren Gilmore told Tachoblog.
“The reputation for reliability of both the Sprinter and the Vito, coupled with their long service intervals and high residual values, translate into very competitive ‘whole life’ running costs.
“What really clinched it for us, though, was the fantastic back-up provided by Mercedes-Benz and its network of dealers across Europe. Our vehicles are in constant use and we can’t afford for them to be off the road for any length of time.”
British Cycling has leased a variety of vehicles in the past. Its latest vans are the subject of deals with Mercedes-Benz CharterWay, the manufacturer’s commercial vehicle finance arm – British Cycling plans to trade in all eight for new Sprinters and Vitos early in 2012, in time for the London Olympics.
Mr Gilmore is delighted too, with the service British Cycling received from Enza sales executive Phil Lea. “Phil was very professional and responsive, going out of his way to make sure the vehicles matched our requirements and expectations. We operate in an elite sports environment where ‘attention to detail’ can mean the difference between success and failure. Our vehicles are no different,” adds Mr Gilmore.