Ben Berden in control and on his way to the win at the 2012 Sea Otter Classic cyclocross race. © Tim Westmore
Two of cycling’s most historic brands are teaming up to launch a new cyclocross team for the 2012-13 season, and some of the sport’s most prominent riders, Ben Berden and Caroline Mani, will lead the squad.
2012 marks Raleigh’s 125th Anniversary, while legendary tire manufacturer Clement has been in business for 124 years. Both companies have celebrated histories, but will draw upon cutting-edge technologies to equip the team.
The uniquely international squad will tackle a full U.S. racing schedule, including Cross Vegas, the USGP series, the Cross After Dark series, and many other top events.
Berden brings more than 15 years of experience in a career highlighted by a U23 Belgian national title and victories at major European races. Berden re-energized his career last year by coming to the U.S. and battling all season with well-known Americans on their own turf. His season was punctuated by a thrilling victory at the Boulder Cup in Colorado, double wins at the North Carolina Grand Prix, and second place overall in the Cross After Dark series.
Caroline Mani is a French National Champion twice over, and she finished top 10 at the World Championships three times. The 25-year-old surprised many with her aggressive international style and top finishes at U.S. cyclocross races last year, and she quickly became popular with American fans. Mani will race a busy U.S. schedule thru mid-December before she travels back to Europe to complete the season.
The team will also include single-speed racer Craig Etheridge, who dominated last season’s USGP series winning 6 of 8 single-speed events. A full-time bike messenger in Seattle, Etheridge is well-known for his laid-back attitude and masterful riding. He lives and breathes cycling and even won the 2010 Cycle Messenger World Championships.
Two additional riders will earn spots on the team by way of a unique selection process. The two best-placed riders, one male and one female, without a current pro contract at the Raleigh Midsummer Night’s CX Race will be rewarded with a fully-supported position on the team and the unique chance to race, train, and learn from European veterans Berden and Mani. The special race will be held on July 24 at Dealer Camp in Deer Valley, Utah.
Raleigh has become a fast-moving leader in the cyclocross market and offers 11 different cyclocross models for racing and everyday riding. The Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team will race on the Raleigh RXC Pro, an innovative full carbon frame featuring disc brakes and internal cable routing.
The historic Clement brand was relaunched two years ago with an emphasis on cyclocross. The Team will race on Clement’s innovative tubeless tubular tires which hit the market last season with great success. Clement’s tubular line includes the popular PDX tread for mud, the LAS for fast and firm courses, and a new intermediate tread dubbed the MXP. Team drivetrains and disc brakes will be supplied by Shimano and FSA will provide rims and components.
The Raleigh-Clement Cyclocross Team is led and managed by industry veteran Donn Kellogg, owner of Donnelly Sports and the licensee of Clement. A formal team presentation will occur at the Dealer Camp Raleigh booth at 4:30 p.m. July 25.