Roster of U23 and junior riders announced
BMC Bicycles is continuing its backing of the top-ranked US development cross country mountain bike racing team this season. In its ground-breaking 2011 season, the team's racers earned the U23 national title and the U23 men's and women's US Pro XCT titles. For 2012, the squad has re-vamped its roster of promising young American mountain bike talent.
"Our intention is to give young US athletes a realistic chance to transition to the top professional level in cross country. This is a long term project," said Frank Schreiner, Head of Marketing at BMC. "We want to build a consistent development structure, a BMC success pyramid, where, with the right commitment, our riders can always step one level up, if you perform and finally become a pro rider. The success of Stephen Ettinger shows that we achieved this goal already in our first year."
A core group of six racers will make up the team. On the men's side, returning teammates Kerry Werner and Jack Hinkens will be the senior riders, both with racing ages of 21. Joining them will be second year junior rider Tyler Coplea. All three were standout athletes on US National Team trips in Europe last season as well as some of the strongest young riders on domestic soil.
AliciaRose Pastore will be anchoring the women's side of the team and will be coming off of a 2011 national championship season. Rounding out the team roster will be junior racers Grace Alexander and Shayna Powless. All three women dominated the junior cross country national championships in 2011 by landing inside the top four spots in the junior women's 17-18 race.
In addition to contesting all of the US Pro XCT UCI-categorized events across the USA and the North American World Cups, BMC Team riders will once again look to make a big impact at the US National Championships and are scheduled to travel to Europe for a number top level UCI events and World Cups. When not on the road, BMC Team riders will compete in various regional events as well as schedule a number of dealer visits.
Team operations will be based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado, where Ryan Kohler will manage the young group of riders while they travel the country providing leadership and logistical support throughout the long season.
"I am excited to work with BMC and the talented group of racers this season and look forward to promoting developmental racing in the US. We have an amazing group of sponsors to help athletes achieve their goals domestically and internationally, so this season will provide additional successes as US athletes build on 2011 results and continue the push for a strong international showing," said Kohler. Joining Kohler on the road as team mechanic will be Kimmi Ward, who will provide expert neutral tech assistance for team riders during races as well as maintain all the team bicycles throughout the year.
The team is racing the all-new BMC Teamelite TE29 hardtail and the Speedfox SF29 full suspension bikes.
The squad kicked off its season with the first two rounds of the US Pro XCT at the Mellow Johnny's Classic and at Bonelli Park.