Cannondale has announced the formation of a new powerhouse cross country racing team this week, which will contend for the top spot on the World Cup circuit. This multi-year partnership with global tire manufacturer Vredestein blends established winners with young rising stars for a program that Cannondale expects to make its way onto podiums well into the future.
This cross country team is a fundamental part of Cannondale's commitment to mountain bike racing and development in all disciplines; from top level pros to aspiring young athletes, from cross country to gravity.
"With the continued diversification in the sport of mountain biking, we felt it necessary to communicate our cross country product story with a team focused on cross country racing," said Matt Mannelly, President of the Cannondale Brand. "In addition, we recognise that the gravity disciplines and riders are best served through a program focused on those races and events and not contained within a classic cross country-based team structure."
The team's 2006 roster includes Swedish rising star Fredrik Kessiakoff, who remains aboard a Cannondale and will continue his rise to the top levels of the sport with the new team. Fredrik finished fourth overall in the UCI Cross Country World Cup rankings in 2005 and eighth in the Marathon World Cup after winning his home round of Falun, Sweden.
Kiwi Kashi Leuchs will return to the Cannondale family in 2006, joining Fredrik as a formidable pairing for the World Cup season. In addition, Kashi is targeting the 2006 World Championships which will be held in his native New Zealand. "I'm excited to return to the Cannondale family and also to be able to contribute to a racer support program like the one I started with," stated Kashi, referring to Cannondale Europe's plans to launch a grassroots program in 2006.
Peter Riis Anderson also joins the team from Denmark. Peter is currently ranked 12th in UCI world rankings, and finished fourth at the Marathon World Championships.
Completing the team is another Danish Dynamite, Jakob Fuglsang, the 2005 Under 23 World Cup Champion and currently the top ranked rider in the UCI U23 ranking. Jakob comes from the Heijdens-Ten Tusscher Team, also sponsored by Cannondale and Vredestein in 2005.
The team is managed by Jan ten Tusscher and Ruud Poels and is linked with the Heijdens ten Tusscher development team, which gives promising young riders like Jakob a chance to compete at the highest level of the sport and ultimately paves their way to a professional racing career.
With three riders in the UCI top twenty, this young and focused team will target World Cup events, the World Championships, and the 2008 Olympic Games to be held in Peking. The team will race aboard the Cannondale Scalpel equipped with Lefty fork and Vredestein new line-up of mountain bike tires.