A cyclist from a Staveley-based team has joined the professional ranks to compete on the world stage.
Damien Clayton has enjoyed a stellar season in the saddle for Andy Moore Autocentres / J.E. James Racing Team.
Among his list of achievements over the past 18 months, Clayton recently got on the podium at the Beaumont Trophy.
And in February he took second place at the hotly-contested Perfs Pedal Race.
He has seen that progress and success recognised with a move to leading UCI Continental Team, Ribble Pro Cycling.
The move comes with the full support of team manager Andy Moore.
He said: “Damo has enjoyed an absolutely astonishing season of achievement this season, having come to us when there was little interest in his potential.
“We always felt he had a special talent that deserved our support, and the development work, support and encouragement from the AMAC / JEJ team has proved the point.
“Over the past few months, the big teams have started to show huge interest in him, and with this in mind, we’ve had no hesitation in recommending he takes this shot at the big time and seizes the opportunity of moving to a UCI Pro-Team.
“Ribble Pro-Cycling are one of the very best at that level and have the necessary credentials to take Damo on the next step of his adventure and enable him to demonstrate his capabilities on the world stage.
“We have worked with Damo and Ribble Pro-Cycling to facilitate the move in double quick time, in order to meet the UCI regulation deadlines, and are hugely pleased to have enabled the transfer in such a short time span.”
And added: “We are absolutely delighted that the AMAC / JEJ Partnership has achieved the milestone of enabling an amateur rider to make it into the pro-team ranks and have the opportunity to race on a world-wide platform, it’s a massive achievement for the team, J.E. James Cycles and for Damo himself. We are massively proud.”
On his move, Clayton said: “Ribble is a team that I ultimately respect and look up to and is one that I have had my eye on since being introduced to the sport.
“I believe it is a team that will offer me a great deal whilst teaching me a lot. During this season I have been inspired by the team spirit which in turn delivers results.
“The new dimension this team is delivering to the cycling scene is not only refreshing but inspiring, everything from the tactical panache, choice of sponsors and the new way of thinking.
“It goes without saying that I am honoured to join such a strong team and look forward to contributing the best I can to the team.”