Bear Naked Cannondale ready for 2007

The US-based Bear Naked Cannondale mountain-bike team enters the 2007 season with 44 athletes on the...

The US-based Bear Naked Cannondale mountain-bike team enters the 2007 season with 44 athletes on the roster. With such a large group racing across many disciplines, the team has many chances to podium. Although the team is not overflowing with big names, it takes pride in focusing on developing talented athletes that might not appear on everyone else's radar for another one to two or as sometimes as many as four years into the future. Team director Matt Jewett said, "The real excitement comes from watching each member of our team grow and progress--finding their places in our sport."

Among the team's top riders is Brandon Draugelis, who had an outstanding year in 2006 and upgraded from Expert to Pro classification for 2007. Draugelis finished third at the 24 Hours of Adrenaline World Solo Championships in Georgia - his first 24 hour solo worlds. While most of that race's coverage focused on the epic battle between Craig Gordon and Chris Eatough, Draugelis put in a solid performance. In fact, Draugelis may follow eventually in the steps of Gordon, who raced for the team when it was sponsored by SoBe.

On the women's side, look out for Nina Baum. She's been knocking at the door of a top-five finish for a few years now, and this could be the year she goes big. Jewett also pointed to talented up-and-comers Jenna Zander (2006 U23 National Champion) and Andy Schultz (2005 U23 National Champion). Both have retooled their training and have "that look in their eyes that can be the difference between a top 10 and a top three finish."

"With the amazing support from Bear Naked, Cannondale, and our other sponsors our team is looking to continue its tradition of giving the support that allows athletes to reach their full potential in cycling," said Jewett. "I can honestly say that the potential of this year's team is the best we've seen in our eleven years of running this program." Given the size of the program, the team roster is never "locked"; another rider or two may be picked up throughout the season.

Over on the gravity side of things, the team boasts two top women who can crack the top five on any given day. Amelia Colasurdo and Wendy Reynolds both have good skills, and over the past two years, have learned that they can get to the top of the podium with a well executed run.

Other well known racers include endurance gurus like Matthew Lee and Sue Butler. Whether each will defend their respective Great Divide Race and Trans-Rockies wins remains to be determined.

Perhaps the most inspirational member of the Bear Naked squad is racer Berny Pizarro. Pizarro was involved in a bad crash last year that resulted in a broken femur. Then complications during surgery caused her to slip into a coma for close to a month. Doctors gave little hope, but Berny's indomitable spirit helped her to recover.

Look for Bear Naked team members at all the NMBS series races as well as many other events around the US. The first NMBS race kicks off in Phoenix, Arizona, in late March, as the season-opener for the elite American off-road scene. Some team members have already gathered in Arizona for a month-long informal training camp, where they are logging early-season base miles.

Unlike some squads, the team does not specify which bikes its riders must race. They may choose from carbon Rushes, Taurines, Scalpels, Judges, Prophets, Perps, and even 29'ers based on their racing preferences and terrain.

Roster
Amelia Colasurdo (Pro DH/ Super D)
Andy Schulltz (Pro XC)
Becca Blay (Pro XC)
Ben Storrar (Pro DH)
Bernardita (Berny) Pizarro (Pro DH)
Brandon Draugelis (Pro XC)
Brett Morgan (XC Pro)
Bryna Nestor (Pro XC)
Cassandra "Cass" Perkins (Pro XC)
Chenoah Hendershot (Junior XC)
Chris Anderson (Pro XC)
Cully Todd (Expert XC)
Damian Calvert (Pro XC)
David Wood (Ex XC)
Dezmin Wilder (Expert XC)
Emily Van Meter (Pro XC)
Garth Prosser (Pro XC)
Heath Sherratt (Expert DH)
Jenna Zander (Pro XC)
Jorel Hendershot (Pro XC)
Joshua Misevcis (Pro DH)
Julie Lewis Sroka (Expert)
Justin Rhinehart (Semi Pro XC)
Karen DeWolfe (Pro XC)
Ketura Hendershot (Junior XC)
Kevin Smallman (Expert XC)
Kim Eakin (Semi DH)
Matthew Lee (Expert XC)
Michael Nixon (Expert XC)
Mike Bartos (Expert XC)
Nina Baum (Pro XC)
Noah Holcomb (Pro XC)
Paul Hanson (Pro XC)
Paul Clark (Pro XC)
Rob Lichtenwalner (Semi pro XC)
Shawn Altizer (Semi pro XC)
Shey Lindner (Expert XC)
Stephanie Schlaack (Junior XC)
Sue Butler (Expert XC)
Terry Blanchet (Expert XC)
Theresa Richardson (Pro XC)
Thomas Turner (Pro XC)
Tim Dougherty (Semi Pro XC)
Wendy Reynolds (Pro DH/4X)

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