By Mikkeli Godfree, freewheel.com.au
The Australian domestic cross-country racing scene has seen many changes in the past couple of years, including the introduction of a professionally-run series of events and a highly competitive National Series. With this, events have seen an increase in brand representation from a wide range of companies. The increase in the number of semi-pro race teams has been a positive step in contributing to the growth of the local racing scene, and with companies like Cannondale leading the trend, the attendance numbers at races has steadily grown.
Cannondale launched its cross-country race team at the beginning of 2005 with the intention of assisting its athletes in their goals and objectives as well as to gain more brand recognition at events ranging from local through to international levels. Exceeding all expectations, the Cannondale-Maxxis team managed to secure two national titles in both XC and Enduro 24hr disciplines, several podium places at national series level. As a result, the Cannondale-Maxxis team has become one of the most recognised teams in the country.
For 2006, the Cannondale-Maxxis-SRAM XC-race team has formed a strong contingent of riders representing in the junior, U23 and the elite ranks, covering NSW and Victoria. With all 2005 members back on board and the addition of a young fast junior, Cannondale hopes that its team can continue to grow the brand's market awareness, and promote a fun, yet professional racing team outfit.
The 2006 roster includes - 2005 junior national champion Lachlan Norris (VIC), solo 24hr National Champion and all-round madman Craig Gordon (NSW), multiple national team/podium place getter Aiden Lefmann (NSW), U23 enduro/XC specialist Hamish Elliot (NSW), 2005 U19 runner up Garry Millburn, and Junior speed-demon Glenn Stewart (NSW).
An impressive list of sponsors for 2006 round out a very professionally-presented race team, and they include: SRAM, Maxxis, Avid, Cateye, Park, Finishline, Giro, Scud, Crank brothers and Enervit food products.