Francisco "Paco" Mancebo re-signed a two-year contract with the US-based UCI Continental team RealCyclist.com following his overall victory at the Tour de Beauce last week. The team is hoping that his commitment will attract stronger riders and additional sponsorship dollars to the program as it heads into its second season in 2012.
RealCyclist.com directeur sportif Gord Fraser confirmed the signing of the 35-year-old, "We are happy to have him. I think it shows that he is not slowing down too much and he is so methodical in his routine and he is so dedicated that giving a guy of that age a two-year deal might be kind of risky, but with him we are all seeing how passionate he is about his craft and the team and sponsor have enjoyed his success and reward him."
Mancebo joined the team at the beginning of this season. He is currently leading the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) after winning overall titles at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Sea Otter Classic and Tour of the Gila earlier this year. He is scheduled to next participate in the Boise Twilight Criterium, Cascade Cycling Classic and the Tour of Utah.
"He likes the environment that we have and hopefully we can improve it so that we can compliment him with good riders, better riders, more results and bigger races," Fraser said. "I'm sure he is not making what he was normally used to making, on our smaller team, I'm speculating."
"It think it's great that he is with us for two more years because it shows the program is going to be here for a while and it shows that our sponsors are committed," he said. "Maybe it will help us with recruitment of new riders and new sponsorship and we can get to a level where we want to be."
On The Rivet Management LLC and Jason Kriel run the RealCyclist.com team. The current roster also includes Cesar Grajales, Cole House, Thomas Rabou, Frank Travieso, Evan Hyde, Tommy Nankervis, Yosvany Falcon, Mike Midlarsky, Josh Berry, Matt Crane, Ian Burnett and Oscar Clark. After a successful first-year, Fraser hopes the team will continue to progress on all levels from roster to staff and management into a top-tear domestic team.
"It's a little to early to be specific about whether or not we want to move up to the Pro Continental license," Fraser said. "Our goal is to grow the program so that we are more professional so that we can aspire to expand our scope with our race schedule and get the infrastructure in place where we can execute better. We have a lot of work to do. We have benefitted from the results of our riders, especially Paco, and this is just a start and a good sign that our captain has committed for another two years."
Mancebo spent most of his early cycling career racing in Europe for top-level teams. He is a former Grand Tour contender having placed on the podium on three occasions at the Vuelta a Espana and inside the top 10 on four occasions at the Tour de France. He competed for teams Banesto, AG2R-Prevoyance and Relax-GAM. According to Fraser, he has not expressed a desire to race in Europe again and enjoys a more relaxed schedule of racing in the US.
"I don't think he would extend for two more years if he had his heart's desire to return to Europe," Fraser said. "Our race schedule, although we want to expand it to include some Europe trips in the future, is mainly based in the US. So far he seems to like US racing, he excels at it and we are happy that he is enjoying his time here. He has a family in Spain and so he has a more relaxed schedule over here so that he can be at home in Spain with them."