DECEMBER 4 - EIGHTof Britain’s most promising cycling prospects will fly the flag for drug-free sport following today’s launch of a unique collaboration between British Cycling and UK Sport.


The riders, part of Great Britain’s Under-23 Olympic Academy, will compete as ‘100% ME’ – taking its name from UK Sport’s anti-doping education programme.


The 100% ME team will make its track debut this Saturday at the Revolution event in Manchester.


The team is made up of: Ben Swift; Steve Burke; Jon Bellis; Russell Hampton; Ross Sander; Ian Stannard; Andy Tennant; and Alex Dowsett, all of whom have already been earmarked by British Cycling as having the potential to succeed at future World Championships and Olympic Games, including London in 2012.


By taking on the 100% ME name, the team has committed to not only compete drug-free, but to help promote the positive values of ethically fair sport.


 John Scott, Director of Drug-Free Sport at UK Sport, the National Anti-Doping Organisation for the UK, said: “Signing up as the 100% ME team is a real statement of intent from British Cycling that doping in the sport will not be tolerated.


"The programme focuses on the attributes required to succeed in sport, such as belief, resilience and commitment. These mirror what the likes of Chris Hoy and Nicole Cooke – both 100% ME ambassadors – have displayed throughout their careers so it is appropriate that our first ever 100% ME team is in cycling.


“The enthusiasm with which British Cycling has taken up 100% ME is a real credit to all involved and sends out a strong message to their counterparts in cycling and the wider sporting world.”


 Dave Brailsford, Performance Director at British Cycling, added: “The credibility and reputation of cycling has suffered over the years as a result of high profile doping cases.


"This is unfortunate as it detracts from the huge amount of talent we have at our disposal in the UK, and the hard work, dedication and determination that goes into providing a world-class system for our riders to perform and win medals at the highest level.


“Prohibited substances have no place in our sport and the quicker we can spread that message, the better. Our link up with 100% ME provides a platform for this and will hopefully create some momentum within the sport to change people’s perceptions, and ensure our riders get the credit they deserve for their performances.”


100% ME was launched by UK Sport in May 2005, with the long-term aim of  "creating a generation of sportsmen and women who know they don’t need to use Prohibited Substances or Methods to be successful".


Since its launch, almost 20,000 athletes and support personnel have benefited from the programme, receiving up-to-date information and advice allowing them to make sensible, informed decisions about competing drug-free.


In addition, 310 tutors and advisers covering 46 sports have been trained to deliver education workshops to current and future competitors, whilst 38 athlete ambassadors have been signed up to act as role models to the next generation of sporting stars, showing what can be achieved competing cleanly and fairly.


Scott said: “In the 18 months since it launched, 100% ME has already made a huge impact in terms of getting quality, timely information out to those who need it.


"The launch of the 100% ME cycling team is the start of the next stage of evolution of the programme which we hope will help raise the profile of anti-doping education internationally, as there is no doubt such programmes have a key role to play in helping athletes compete drug-free.”