Francisco Mancebo is in the final stretch of negotiations with the US-based Continental team RealCyclist.com in 2011. The 34-year-old Spanish climber is expected to contest a full season Stateside that will include International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned events and select races on the National Racing Calendar (NRC).
"He will bring the winning punch that we will need especially at the high altitude races where we are going to try and mold a strong climbing team," said Jason Kriel of On The Rivet Management LLC, the team's management company. "We want that final punch to be able to win overall and get some stage wins.
"Especially at races like Colorado [Quiznos Pro Challenge], Tour of Utah and with the roster that we are putting together it is at the caliber that hopefully the Tour of California would be interested in having," he said. "Our overall goal is to be successful on the North American circuit and one of the stronger domestic teams at the NRC, UCI and maybe some invitational overseas events. We also want people to be able to go to the website and have access to the team."
Mancebo represented the Canyon Bicycles squad at this year's Tour of Utah where he placed second to the overall winner Levi Leipheimer. Before that, he raced for the controversial and now disbanded Rock Racing team based in Los Angeles in 2009. He spent most of his career as a Grand Tour contender, placing sixth in the Tour de France in 2004 and fourth in the 2005 Tour.
Canadian Gord Fraser will lead a 13-man roster as directeur sportif. The decorated road sprinter joins the team having directed the UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis squad that recently made the jump up to the Professional Continental ranks. The team will announce the full roster at a later date.
"We think with his leadership as a directeur that he knows what to do," Kriel said. "He brings a ton of experience which is what we need to pursue our goals. He knows how to win and he will be able to help the guys. We are just finalizing our roster and Gord will help put a stamp on it."
On The Rivet Management LLC stepped in to run the former Bahati Foundation Professional Cycling team in June last summer. The team experienced turbulence when its co-title sponsor OUCH Medical Center pulled its funding after rider Floyd Landis admitted to doping in the past.
RealCyclist.com, an online cycling shop that specializes in road gear, signed on as the title sponsor of the management company’s new team in 2011.
"This is a completely new team for next year," Kriel said. "We met RealCyclist.com at the Tour de Beauce last summer. We continued the relationship with them and kept the guys racing throughout the year. We met them again at the Tour of Utah and they got to see us and how we managed the team. They liked what they saw and we were able to continue for next year."