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The Kenda team had their work cut out for them to hold things together.
10-rider roster to be directed by Andreu
Two-time National Race Calendar winner Francisco Mancebo will lead the reformulated 5-hour Energy/Kenda Racing Team next season, team owner On The Rivet Management announced Wednesday. Former 12-year professional rider and television commentator Frankie Andreu will direct the 10-rider 2013 roster.
The team is a combination of the former Kenda/5-hour Energy squad run by Inferno Racing and On the Rivet Management's Competitive Cyclist team. On the Rivet Management absorbed Inferno Racing during the off-season when Competitive Cyclist's owner, BackCountry.com, decided to back away from all of its cycling sponsorships. Both programs held UCI Continental team status last season, as will next year's merged team.
Coming to the team from Competitive Cyclist along with Mancebo are Taylor Shelden, David Williams and Max Jenkins. Shawn Milne, Bobby Sweeting, Jim Stemper, Nate English and Greg Brandt will represent the Kenda contribution to the team.
Christian Parrett, a former US U23 national team rider who in 2010 was on Team Sprocket, Magnus Backstedt's Swedish Continental team, will be the only 2013 rider who wasn't on either squad last year. Parrett, 22, rode with the Athletix-Global Bike Domestic Elite team in 2012 but made a guest appearance with Competitive Cyclist during the USA CRITS Speed Week.
“Christian is a talented young cyclist from Macon, Georgia, that we have been watching for a while,” said On the Rivet Management co-owner Jason Kriel, who started the company with Josh Saint in 2010.
Despite a roster that will be missing firepower from 2012 Kenda riders like Phil Gaimon, Andy Jacques-Maynes, Isaac Howe and John Murphy, Andreu is happy with the 2013 team's composition.
“We have brought together a great squad for the mountains, and many of our riders are equally accomplished in the time trials,” Andreu said in a team statement. “Our young riders have already proven themselves on the circuit, and combined with the power and speed from some of our veterans, we do not have to just focus on the general classification.”
Besides the management company mergers and roster shake-ups, the team's title sponsor and its presenting sponsor also swapped commitments for the 2013 incarnation, with 5-hour Energy taking top billing from Kenda. Kriel said the latest arrangement should provide stable team funding for next season and into the future.
“We are very excited to have a great foundation for 2013 and beyond with so many dedicated partners,” he said. Devinci Bicycles, out of Chicoutimi, Quebec, will supply the 2013 team with LEO and LEO T2 machines to ride, while Hincapie Sportswear, which will work with Kenda for the fourth straight year, will furnish the familiar red, black and yellow team kits.
Finding the formula to sustain team's goals
Competing in 2012 as Competitive Cyclist, the On The Rivet squad led by director Gord Fraser won the NRC team championship with 17 overall wins and 46 podium finishes, as well as putting in a strong showing against the ProTour teams at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Undisputed team leader Mancebo also captured the NRC individual title for a second consecutive season in 2012. Kriel said On the Rivet had been happy working with Fraser for the past two seasons, but the former pro from Canada had taken another offer when they put this team together.
Andreu's 2012 Kenda/5-hour Energy team finished the season with 47 victories, the most wins for any men’s team on the NRC last year. The team kicked off the USA Cycling national series with an overall win at the Redlands Bicycle Classic for leader Gaimon, who will move to the Bissell Pro Cycling team next year.
The merged teams provided a deep pool of talent, with the two squads employing more than 30 riders on their combined 2012 rosters, but the 2013 line-up has been whittled down to just 10.
“Ultimately it is never easy when you have to combine two rosters to create one,” Kriel told CyclingNews in an email exchange. “The toughest part is not being able to keep everyone. We believe the right formula to sustain our team goals is 10 riders.”
Andreu agreed with his new boss. “The roster was reduced to a more manageable group of strong riders,” he said. “This will allow everyone to have a chance to meet their goals at key races during the season.”
As was the case with the Competitive Cyclist sqaud, the new 2013 team will no doubt focus on the continued stage racing success of Mancebo, 36, who in 2012 took GC wins at the Cascade Cycling Classic and the Joe Martin Stage Race. He also scored a victory at the one-day Tour of the Battenkill.
In his European racing career, the former Spanish national champion finished third overall at the Vuelta a España in 2004 and 2005, and he finished in the top 10 of the Tour de France four times. But Mancebo was also implicated in Spain's Operación Puerto doping scandal in 2007 and was pulled from the Tour de France on the eve of the race – although he has never been sanctioned by any governing body. He started racing with On the Rivet teams in 2011.
Beyond 5-hour Energy, Kenda Tires, Hincapie Sportswear and Devinci Bikes, the team's 2013 corporate partners also include SeaSucker, Vision Wheels, Full Speed Ahead (FSA), Catlike, microSHIFT, Look Pedals, Fizik, Smith Optics, Chamois Butt'r, Jagwire, Mazza Wines, Bonk Breaker, CarboRocket, Arundel, Topeak, Yelo Velo, GoPro and Sockguy.
All riders will take part in a team camp in Dahlonega, Georgia, next month.
2013 5-hour Energy/Kenda Racing Team Roster:
[from Competitive Cyclist] Francisco “Paco” Mancebo (ESP), Taylor Shelden (USA), David Williams (USA), Max Jenkins (USA)
[From Kenda/5-Hour Energy] Shawn Milne (USA), Bobby Sweeting (USA), Jim Stemper (USA), Nate English (USA), Greg Brandt (USA)
[New] Christian Parrett (USA)