Whitehouse will join the team in the UK this week and could make his debut as soon as this weekend’s Wilshire GP, before heading to the tours of Azerbaijan and Japan next month.
Team manager John Herety had already spoken to 19 year-old Whitehouse after he impressed with a 4th place finish at the New Zealand Classic, which the team took part in this January. The young talent was naturally the first rider on the list when the decision was made to take on another rider for 2014.
Herety commented, “I was already looking at Daniel for 2015, as he had really impressed me when we saw him racing in New Zealand at the start of the year. He is an ambitious and talented rider, who I think will fit in really well with our team going forward.”
“At 56kg he is an excellent climber so I think he will be a real asset to us in some of the stage races that we’ve got coming up, in Japan, Korea and Azerbaijan.”
Despite their strongest ever start to a season the Men in Black have been hit unusually hard by injuries in 2014. Both Felix English and Mike Cuming are currently out of competition with broken bones. Will Stephenson is currently suffering the effects of a dislocated shoulder, and Richard Handley, Jack Sadler and Chris Opie have all recently been sidelined to illness and injury.
“We have never had a start to a season like this one – both in terms of big wins, and in terms of illness and injury. We have seven riders out at the moment, which is almost unheard of. It goes back to the start of the year when Kristian broke his collarbone, and now in this early period of racing we have been really hit hard.”
“We are very fortunate that we have backing from HMT Sancta Maria hospital, who have been taking in a steady stream of our riders and getting them the best possible recovery. Without that help we would have potentially struggled to get strong enough teams ready coming in to our busiest part of the season.”
The team was forced to start with just five riders at this week’s East Midlands Classic, which was won by Tom Moses. But the arrival of Whitehouse and the expected return to competition for Mike Cuming, who is making a fast recovery from his broken collarbone sustained in South Africa following treatment at Sancta Maria, should mean the team has the manpower to continue it’s run of success through May and June.