England wicketkeeper Prior gets on his bike by forming new professional team

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Cricketer Matt Prior – criticised for his passion for cycling by his former England team-mate Kevin Pietersen – has co-founded a new professional team.

The wicketkeeper-batsman is chief executive of ONE Pro Cycling, who were launched yesterday with the aim of competing at UCI Continental level, the tier below Team Sky, but one above the UK domestic teams.

Prior said: “Cycling is a huge passion of mine and I am delighted to be setting up ONE Pro Cycling with a team of experienced and dedicated people.

“It will be a big challenge but one I’m thoroughly looking forward to. The group of riders we have is exceptional – not only because of the team’s ability on the bike but also the spirit we have off it.

“We have a team that could potentially do something very special and that excites me.”

The 12-rider squad is led by Yanto Barker, who is well-known on the UK circuit, and features riders who came through British Cycling, including Jonny Bellis, Jon Mould and George Atkins.

Prior, known in the England squad as ‘Big Cheese’, has 79 Test appearances for England and was ridiculed by Pietersen for taking a bike on tour to New Zealand.

Pietersen wrote in KP: The Autobiography: “You don’t need to take your bike with you. They have bikes in New Zealand. Who the hell takes a bike? If Cheese (Prior) wasn’t a top genius cricketer Cheese would have been a world-class cyclist. Obviously.”