Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team has promised a big presentation at its scheduled team launch on March 12 in downtown Los Angeles, California. Rider introductions will be held at Club Nokia, an up-scale entertainment venue with amphitheatre-style seating designed to attract as many as 4,000 spectators.
“It made sense to have it in a place that people are familiar with and attracts a decent crowd,” said Rahsaan Bahati, team co-owner and rider. “It has traffic flowing all the time, so it is a great place for us to deliver the message of the Bahati Foundation.”
Bahati, a former USPro Criterium Champion, built the professional cycling team as a vehicle to spread awareness about the Bahati Foundation. Bahati created the organisation to help underprivileged inner-city children through the sport of cycling, education and music.
“More important than the team launch, the presentation is about introducing the Bahati Foundation to the public,” Bahati said. “It’s about making the public aware that this foundation exists to help inner-city kids. That is really what this launch is about. Ultimately the team is here to deliver the message about our foundation.”
The team will introduce those in attendance to its 20 strong professional team: Nathan O’Neill, Hilton Clarke, Jason Donald, Matt Rice, Cesar Grajales, Ryan Baumann, Corey Collier, Bobby Lea, Alex Hagman, Peter Carey, Phillip Mann, Evan Hyde, Ian Burnett and Lanell Rockmore. There are also five amateur riders in the squad Morgan Ryan, Devan Dunn, Yosvany Falcon, Jorge Alvarado and Neil Coleman.
“Picking the team was one of the hardest things I had to do because there are so many riders out there that I have competed against and wished I could bring on to the team,” Bahati said. “I had to make a conscious effort to make sure that not only was I getting a talented rider but a guy who could speak well publicly, help be an advocate for the foundation and who had a passion for helping kids. I think we did a great job.
“Nathan O’Neill and I were teammates on Saturn and I have always had respect for him,” he continued. “Hilton Clarke was one of the best moves. Jason Donald has so much experience in the short time he was pro with Garmin in Europe. I think he is going to have a standout year and surprise a lot of people.”
Cannondale is the official bike sponsor of the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team and will outfit the riders with its SuperSix model. Cannondale donated a bike custom painted by San Francisco-based artist, Mike Giant, to be auctioned at the presentation to raise funds for the foundation.
“The bike will be on display at our team launch and people can enter to win it,” Bahati said. “We will be giving it away at the Tour of California stage when it comes through LA for the time trial.”
Following the team launch the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team will head to the nearby city of Agoura Hills for a week-long team training camp that will conclude on March 18.
“It won’t be a lot of training and it’s heading into our first race at the San Dimas Stage Race,” Bahati said. “It will be the first time the whole team will be on the bike together. We have some top secret team bonding stuff that will go down. We will be there for five days visiting with our sponsors so there won’t be a lot of time to go riding.”