Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) will lead a 13-man squad in top ranked US stage races including the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Tour of the Gila in April along with the UCI 2.1 Tour of Utah and the UCI 2.1 Quiznos Pro Challenge, both in August. The Spaniard recently joined his new team at an opening training camp that concluded on Sunday in Dahlonega, Georgia.
"I feel very comfortable with my new RealCyclist.com teammates," Mancebo told Cyclingnews. "Even though I don't speak English, they have all been helpful and treated me great. It has been very helpful that there are three Latinos on the team, it has made everything easier."
The RealCyclist.com team includes Mancebo along with Thomas Rabou, who won the King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey at the Amgen Tour of California last year, Cesar Grajales, Cole House, Frank Travieso, Evan Hyde, Tommy Nankervis, Yosvany Falcon, Mike Midlarsky, Josh Berry, Matt Crane, Ian Burnett and Oscar Clark.
"This training camp has been very useful, besides getting to know my teammates, the training has been very good, high quality and intense, I believe we will arrive at our initial races in San Dimas and Redlands with good fitness," Mancebo said.
RealCyclist.com is a UCI Continental outfit and will begin racing at the San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Mancebo will focus on winning overall titles at the Tour of the Gila held from April 27 to May 1 in Silver City, New Mexico. He will then turn his attention to the UCI 2.1 Tour of Utah from August 9-14 around Salt Lake City and the UCI 2.1 Quiznos pro Challenge from August 22-28 in Colorado, should the team receive an invitation.
Mancebo 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.
He arrived stateside to compete with the now defunct Rock Racing team in 2009, when he won the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California on the streets of Santa Rosa. Last year, he placed second overall to Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) at the Tour of Utah.
"This year we didn't get an invitation to California, so it is clear that the big objective for Realcyclist.com is the Tour of Utah, especially since our sponsor is from there," Mancebo said. "I also hope to be good through out the whole season and fight for the victory in all the stage races in which I participate. I would also like to race at the Mountain Bike Marathon World Championship."