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Bessette, Johnson and Powers to Belgium

North American 'cross stars Jeremy Powers, Tim Johnson, and Lyne Bessette will head to Europe for the month of January to prepare for the World Championships with their team, the team announced at its launch this month. The three riders, all of whom have impressive palmares, will be based in Belgium.

"New for this year is our foray into the European cross scene," said Thorne. "The riders will be based in cross crazy Belgium for the month of January. While in Europe they'll be contesting the remaining World Cups before the biggest race of the year – the World Championships in Treviso Italy. It will be quite an undertaking this year, but we are all looking forward to the challenge and we really appreciate the support."

Bessette returns to the team she has ridden with since its inception as the defending Canadian National 'cross champ after a hiatus from European racing. Once one of the top road riders in the world, Bessette will make a concerted assault on the World Cup circuit,with the ultimate aim of the World Championships in Italy. She remains one of only two North Americans, male or female, to have won a UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross race, having won the Nommay, France race in 2001. Alison Dunlap also won a World Cup in Heerlen, The Netherlands in 2002.

"You name it she has won it," said Thorne of Bessette. "Lyne races with such determination and drive. She is a joy to watch. Lyne has been a part of the Cyclocrossworld team since the beginning and I feel honored to work with her for another exciting season of racing."

Jeremy Powers, fifth at the 2006 U.S. National Championships, joins the team after two years racing 'cross for his road sponsor, Team Jelly Belly. Powers raced the European 'cross circuit in 2005-06, but was on a domestic calendar last season, where he became a force at the front of national level races throughout the year. For 2007, Powers, 25, is anxious to return to the Continent.

Tim Johnson will hit the season under the banner of Cannondale - Team Leer - While using the same component package as Powers and Bessette, Johnson will ride his own signature model Cannondale XTJ cyclo-cross frame. Third place at the U.S. Nationals in 2006, Johnson will make his first assault on the European scene since 2002.

Ridley Bikes' David Alvarez and SRAM's Alex Wassman were on hand for the team launch, highlighting the cutting edge bike set-up Powers and Bessette will use in the coming season: all carbon Ridley X Fire frames shod with brand new SRAM Red components. Mavic wheels, Dugast tires, Fizik saddles, and FSA bars, stems, and seatposts round out the package on bikes that flirt with the UCI minimum weight standard. According to Alvarez, the new Ridley X Fire is lighter and stiffer than previous carbon Ridley 'cross frames with a lower bottom bracket to better suit the fast and dry nature of most modern 'cross courses.

Team will kick off the 2007-08 season in Las Vegas on September 26th at inaugural Vegas Cross.

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