Simon Mottram of Rapha, pictured here, and Grant Young of London bike shop Condor, seen on this photoset, announced the new funding package at the London start of the Tour of Britain yesterday. Rolling up in an antique French car sporting Tour de France caravan banners, Mottram and Young want their team - and their funding concept - to get noticed.
From 2009, Rapha Condor will be owned and financed by four parties: Rapha, Condor, the team management and, the team's members.
Rapha Condor is offering one year subscriptions to a up to 100 individuals and 20 corporate partners. Each member will effectively become a part-owner of the Rapha Condor team for 12 months.
Think £1000 is too steep? Twenty people have signed up already and there's a closing date: 30th September.
Individual members get exclusive Rapha replica team kit and can buy team bikes. There's also personalised training and coaching advice; rides with pro team riders; VIP hospitality at races and events; discounts at Rapha, Condor and other partners; and eam training camps and travel opportunities.
Such a concept worked very well for Lance Armstrong's Discovery team. Armstrong's name - and personal appearances - attracted a select band of high-status, wealthy individuals who paid big bucks to be "part" of the Armstrong orbit.
Armstrong's Champions Club members put up at least $100,000 each in their first year, then $25,000 a year thereafter, with some cash going to the USA Cycling Development Foundation.
Champions Club members included Robin Williams, the comic actor; Richard Cashin, a private equity specialist; George Battle, the former chairman of Ask Jeeves; Rob Walton of Wal-Mart; and John Doerr, the American venture capitalist best known for his investments in companies such as Google and Amazon.com.
Rapha isn't yet saying whether any top names have been attracted to its 'club' but members will be supported by a full time club director, Rapha Condor co-founder and racer, Dominique Gabellini, plus a full time club secretary. The director and secretary will be there to "help connect members with the pro riders, team management and sponsors."
In addition to access to the team itself, members will also benefit from "regular contact with our illustrious racing partners, including Shimano, Continental and Giro."