LAYCOCK-born cyclist Tom Barras is preparing for life away from the saddle after being appointed the new Director Sportif of his NFTO team.

The 37-year-old (pictured) has retired from racing following the completion of the 2015 season and is ready to take up his new role.

Barras said: “It’s going to be very different as I’ve been racing at the elite level since 2000 when I graduated from university and headed out to Belgium to become a full-time rider.

“I run two small businesses alongside my riding which helped me balance things out a little but now the riding has gone and I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter and evaluating the other riders’ performances.”

Son of Steeton’s three-time national champion Sid Barras, his new role away from the action brings with it a new challenge and new responsibility.

He said: “I’m now the sporting director of the team which means I’m in charge of organising the races we as a team take part in and I have to look at riders’ fitness and select which of the cyclists I think will be best suited to compete.

“On race day itself, I’ll be driving the car behind the peloton and will have to deliver the team talks before each day’s racing and put across the tactics to the racers.”

With over 100 career wins to his name, retirement will not take away the veteran’s appetite for riding.

He said: “Of course I’m going to miss competing but I’ll still be riding on a Tuesday and Thursday with the lead cyclists. I’ll still get the buzz on race days, the only difference is I’ll be behind the wheel of the car instead of the handles of the bike.

“I hoped I’d never have to stop riding but my age was getting the better of me but it has been an honour to be offered my new role.”

The highlight of his 15-year professional riding career came in his final season when he took part in the prestigious inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in May.

Barras said: “As a proud Yorkshire man, to be asked to ride what is three stages of the Tour de France on home soil was a tremendous honour.”

The NFTO team – Not For The Ordinary – was set up by Wakefield-based John Wood, after a long career in the military, during the winter of 2011 and came onto the scene the following year.

Hugh Wilson’s victory at the Jock Wadley event was one of many memorable victories during the 2013 season and it resulted in the then amateur team being granted professional UCI Continental status for 2014.

Further success followed as NTFO continued to pick up victories while attracting the likes of Steele Von Hoff, Ian Bibby and Eddie Dunbar to the team.