With the contract renewals of several top athletes for 2012, Specialized Racing is well positioned to continue its success on the elite men's cross country race circuit. Jaroslav Kulhavy, Burry Stander and Todd Wells will continue racing in Specialized's colors for the upcoming Olympic year as will the previously renewedChristoph Sauser. The team also signed the young rider Howard Grotts.
"All is good for the year ahead, " said Specialized Racing Team Manager Bobby Behan to Cyclingnews. "Also, yes we have signed young Howard Grotts, who will do select World Cups. It's good to give a young kid like this the chance."
Kulhavy dominated the elite men's cross country scene in 2011, winning most of the World Cups and taking the overall. The Czech rider, who was the first to win a World Cup on a 29er, capped off a stellar season with a win at the world championships in Switzerland.
Sauser managed to mix disciplines again in 2011 with success in both the cross country and marathon. He took the marathon world championship title mid-season and was a regular finisher in the top 10 of World Cups. The Swiss rider also won stage races such as the Cape Epic and Trans Germany.
Wells, the US national cross country champion, defended his 2010 title in 2011. He was the top male American performer on the World Cup and won events like the Leadville 100 and La Ruta de los Conquistadores. Recently, he was named to the US Olympic Mountain Bike Long Team.
Looking to the future, Specialized Racing signed American cross country racer Howard Grotts, who will move into the under 23 ranks in 2012. Moving from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Sweet Devo Elite Development team, Grotts is the US junior national cross country and short track champion and he won the junior cross country at the Windham World Cup.
The full 2012 Specialized Racing team roster is expected to be finalized by January.