The close of the 2015 season will mark a significant change for Condor and former National Champion, Kristian House. After eight seasons riding for Condor's professional team, JLT Condor p/b Mavic (formerly Rapha Condor), the Brit will hand back his Condor steed and move on to a new team.
Kristian House has been a permanent fixture of John Herety's team since 2008. The 35-year-old joined the team following a spell on the Great Britain track team, and a season with the Pro-continental Navigators team. In 2008 Rapha Condor merged with the Recycling.co.uk team and became Rapha-Condor Recycling for 2008. The merger brought Kristian House and Chris Newton into the Men in Black understated colours. Kristian's tenacious riding style saw him take several victories for Condor and at the end of the year he had a spell in the polka dot King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour of Britain.
2009 saw the launch of the Tour Series, a series that enabled House to become a household name as he and the team raced around city centres up and down the country. The National Championship hadn't been a race the team had focused on, as the Tour Series final round was just three days before the race in Abergavenny. On a Sunday morning in the Welsh sunshine Kristian and the team prepared for a race where the Rapha Condor team featured well down the list of journalist hot picks.
The undulating course with narrow roads soon split the race up and Kristian rode well, managing to stay in the front group. His role was to ride for Olympian Chris Newton or Tom Southam, but when the decisive split came in the race, Kristian House featured in a select group with Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Dan Lloyd and Chris Froome. The small group rode hard and it looked like a four-way sprint to the line was inevitable.
"I just gambled by putting everything in the sprint, and making sure I left it 'til just before the top of the climb before I tried to go. I didn't realise I'd won until about a metre before I crossed the line. I knew I had that kind of result in me, I just hadn't expected it right then." — Kristian House
The victory was the biggest win for Condor since the heyday of the Percy Bilton team in the 1980s, as well as putting the Rapha Condor team firmly on the map.
In 2010 the team raced in Britain and internationally. Resplendent in the white National Champions jersey, Kristian took a fine individual stage win at the Tour of Japan, 3rd at the Mi-Aout-Bretonne, stage wins at the Tour of Tobago and several victories in the British Cycling Premier Calendar.
House opened the 2011 season with a solo win at the opening stage of the Tour of South-Africa. The rider with the Texan draw pulled on the yellow jersey and his Rapha Condor team mates ensured he kept it all the way to the end of the race. Success continued at home and abroad, with a win Vuelta a Leon, and a second place in GP des Marbriers in France.
Condor handed House a development frame in 2012. Made from steel it was the first time the material would feature in the pro peloton. The bike went on to become the Condor Super Acciaio and House helped hone various incarnations of the steel race bike. 2012 proved to be another strong year for the team where house assisted Dean Downing to a stage win at the Tour de Taiwan. He rang up numerous Tour Series and Premier Calendar victories and it was a year that ended with Kristian featuring nearly everyday in the breakaway at the Tour of Britain. He was rewarded in his efforts and took home several fluffy Skoda Yetis and the King of the Mountains jersey.
Rapha Condor formed with JLT with a new focus to assist talented under-23 development riders and Kristian's role changed to become both leader and mentor. House broke his collarbone just before Christmas Day in 2013 when a deer sprinted across the road, knocking him from his Super Acciaio. Despite the injury he bounced back, leading the young team to time trial victory in the 2014 Mzansi Tour of South Africa, and supported Graham Briggs at the Tour du Loire et Cher.
Condor handed him a new test bike at the back end of 2014. The new frame was our lightest yet and House put it through its paces in America, before taking it to Australia to race the Sun Tour, beginning the season in the re-booted team colours of JLT Condor presented by Mavic.
"I will miss Kristian riding a Condor; during his eight year tenure he helped us develop many models in the Condor range. His feedback was invaluable and during that time he was a consummate professional and great ambassador. Everyone looks for new challenges to keep their drive and spark; I wish him all the best next season." — Grant Young, Managing Director
The Tour of Britain (6th-13th September) will close out the House's career riding for the Men in Black. Get out and watch Britain's great race and give Kristian a cheer in his final apperance on a Condor.
House on the podium as part of the Tour Series overall team winners in 2009
House just after crossing the line at the Tour of Japan, 2010
Taking to the podium in the Polka Dot jersey at the 2008 Tour of Britain
Kristian House solos to victory on stage 1 of the Tour of South Africa
Wearing the King of the Mountains jersey in 2012
Presented with the Stage 8 Tour of Britain combativity award in 2013
2015 about to launch one of his famous solo attacks; the move helped him him take the win in Motherwell