Rising ambitions for Gord Fraser and his team
Chad Beyer is looking forward to a fresh start at the Competitive Cyclist Racing Team after joining the squad from BMC during the off-season. The American is one of a number of signings for the US-based UCI Continental team made by team manager Gord Fraser, with Max Jenkins also joining the squad, and Francisco Mancebo, Tommy Nankervis and Thomas Rabou all re-signing with the team, which was known as RealCyclist.com last season.
The change in name came about as Backcounty.com – parent company of RealCyclist.com – purchased Competitive Cyclist, a high-end on-line retailer. As a result of the buy-out, the team is switching names for 2012 and will compete under the title sponsor Competitive Cyclist Racing Team.
For the past three seasons, Beyer has been part of the BMC pro team, racing in European stage races such as the Volta a Catalunya and completing his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’ Italia. The 25-year-old also lined up at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. However, when the squad contains the 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans and classic stars like George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan there are not many opportunities for a rider who describes himself as, “the bottom man on the totem pole.”
“Coming to Competitive Cyclist is a change for me as I don’t have teammates that have won the Tour de France, but we have Mancebo who’s really strong and a team that is really good on a domestic level,” says Beyer. “I think we’re going to do really well.”
The Arizona native has now had to alter not only his training but also his goals.
“I’m no longer going to be riding at the front all day. I’ll have opportunities to get some good results for myself and the team,” Beyer said.
“Instead of long, tempo rides to prepare myself to be at the front, it’s more specific shorter efforts. It’s different on all aspects for me.”
Another aspect that Beyer is looking forward to being able to live in his hometown of Tucson. As a Europe-based pro, the American lived in Italy within a “BMC bubble” with teammates Taylor Phinney, Chris Barton and Chris Butler, who has since transferred to the Champion Systems team.
“It was a good core of guys to train and speak English with,” said Beyer of the experience. “But there really is no place like home.”
Competitive Cyclist Racing Team director Gord Fraser also calls Tucson home and that’s how the connection was made between Beyer and Competitive Cyclist. “I know Gord and the team seems like a good fit. It’s also a good opportunity for me to race in the U.S. Hopefully I’ll get some good results.”
Now with a US based calendar in front of him Beyer is targeting the domestic stage races, but not excluding the one-day race Tour of the Battenkill in Cambridge, New York.
“I’m not sure of the team’s schedule but if we get into any of the big races like the Amgen Tour of California it will definitely be my goal.”
Eventually Beyer wants to return to Europe but for now he’s happy to try to move up the team totem pole.
“I’m not expecting to come on Competitive Cyclist as a leader and I’ll work for whoever is the strongest, but hopefully I’ll be able to snag some results. But if Mancebo is the guy I’m definitely going to help him win some races.”
For team director Fraser, Mancebo is just one arrow in his quiver. In addition to Beyer, Cesar Grajales returns and will continue to be a threat on the climbs as will Rabou.
“We kept our core riders,” said Fraser referring to Cole House, Nankervis, and Ian Burnett.
By keeping with their core riders the squad remains focused on the domestic stage race calendar. “We bolstered the depth of our team for if we get to California, Colorado or Utah we are going to have a strong team from top to bottom,” explained Fraser.
With the change in title sponsor, there are more people involved in the team structure, new equipment and an increase in the budget. “We’re going to do more races and we’ve hired more riders.”
Fraser describes these changes as baby steps to grow the project. “We’re going in the right direction, but we’re also starting all over in 2012. We’re changing everything and there’s that extra bit of work to coordinate all the new riders, equipment and clothing.”
On the immediate horizon, Fraser wants the team to earn invites to the Amgen Tour of California as well as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Tour of Utah. Fraser realizes that type of high caliber racing will fine tune his Spanish star’s performance, and improve the team’s chance of snagging those all important stage wins in America’s biggest races. Fraser admits that the chances of racing a European campaign are more restricted.
“We’re remaining Continental but we’ve put feelers out to international races to get invitations but there’s so much competition for those spots.
“It’s good to see all these North American teams trying to expand their race schedule and we’re going to try and do the same. We realize that it will be a challenge but we’re certainly exploring as many international races as we can possibly do with our resources.”
Competitive Cyclist Racing Team 2012 roster:
Chad Beyer (USA), Ian Burnett (USA), Cesar Grajales (Col), Phil Grenfell (Aus), Cole House (USA), Max Jenkins (USA), Nate King (USA), Francisco "Paco" Mancebo Pérez (Spa), Tommy Nankervis (Aus), Mike Olheiser (USA), Thomas Rabou (Ned), Taylor Shelden (USA), David Williams (USA)
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