After a year with Rabobank's established off-road program, American Katie Compton is back on her own, custom, cyclo-cross focused racing program. The move puts Compton together with brands Trek and SRAM to race the World Cup circuit and focus on the 2013 World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky USA.
Compton's World Cup program marks Trek Bicycle's first real step into the European dominated discipline of 'cross. And with Compton, it's clear the American manufacturer looks to make their presence known internationally. Trek are calling their sponsorship part of the 'Trek Cyclo-cross Race team'. In addition to their sponsorship of Compton, Trek plan to announce a national domestic regional and grassroots cyclo-cross sponsorship program in August.
For Compton, the move puts her back on her own program, and with sponsors she's hand selected. "It's been our secret desire for years to ride for Trek, and finally the opportunity arrived," said Mark Legg, Compton's manager, mechanic and husband. "Basically the connection came through Alex [Wassman] at SRAM. Katie came to a mutual agreement with Rabobank to exit out of her last year in the contract."
"She's really looking for strong race support to help her achieve her goals," Michael Mayer, Trek's road brand manager told BikeRadar. "She'll be our only racer at the World Cup level this year; we're going to grow that in year two.
"She'll have full support from Trek's in-house race department and full access to the race technology that comes out of there."
Compton is known for her particularity regarding component choice and set up, which has previously served as a point of contention with team managers and sponsors. Legg says they brought those needs to the table when negotiating with Trek and SRAM. "Trek has a dedicated race department the functions only for their teams and sponsored athletes," Legg wrote to BikeRadar in an email. "We've come to experience a lot of different setups and sponsors over the years. In the space of one week I've seen far superior product support and interaction between Trek and us than anything we've previously experienced. Quite simply it's heaven for any athlete to have this support, and you'll see it at the races and out on training rides when we talk so enthusiastically about Trek and Bontrager components."
Compton and Legg will also set their own schedule. "Our program will include events such as Cross Vegas, USGP series with a special emphasis on the Madison USGP," said Legg. "And we're racing a full World Cup calendar with the main goal of winning the World Cup overall. US Nationals is naturally on the schedule, win number 9 is the target. Racing in Europe is vital to competing against the same competition you'll line with in Louisville for the World Championships. We'll spend time in Europe with our Belgian host family and attend a couple ‘local' Belgian races to tune up for US Nationals and the main goal of winning the rainbow strips for the US fans, Trek and us."