Raleigh Clement has just announced that it will be adding Kerry Werner to their roster for cyclocross and mountain biking. This makes sense in the scope of the Raleigh Clement team, which has been looking to build on adding younger members to invest in the future, and the 24-year-old will likely be a welcome addition.
Despite his young age, though, Kerry Werner has quietly been racing at a high level for years now, taking several UCI wins back in 2012 at the Supercross Cup in New York and the North Carolina Grand Prix. His career continued as he won several D1 Collegiate nationals titles, including one in Madison and Boulder. He took several more victories this year, and was even able to edge himself into ninth place during the 2015 National Championship at Austin. The following was provided by Raleigh Clement:
Raleigh Clement Professional Cycling Team announced the addition of Kerry Werner to the squad. Werner is a key component of the fortified mountain biking program. A skilled rider and multiple national champion in cyclocross as well as mountain biking, the twenty-three year-old will also compete in cyclocross. The signing of Werner caps off a wave of recruitment for 2015 which triples the number of mountain bike racers on the team compared to 2014 while reinforcing the highly successful ’cross program.
“Kerry first came to our attention as we considered riders who would fit our future team plans and specifically the expanding mountain bike racing program,” team manager Donn Kellogg said.
“It was also very important that we fill this last position on the team with a rider who has mountain biking and cyclocross skills and abilities. When we saw Kerry riding strongly at the front edge of ’cross races and in pace with Jamey Driscoll and other leaders, we knew we had the rider who fit our plan to bring a few options to the line.”
As a member of the Lees-McRae College cycling team, in 2011 and 2013 Werner took the division one individual omnium wins at the collegiate mountain bike national championships. He also became the American U23 cross-country champion in 2013. On the international stage, Werner has represented the U.S. at World Cup events and earned third and fourth places in the cross-country U23 category at the 2012 and 2013 Pan American Mountain Bike Continental Championships. From 2011 through 2014 he raced as a member of the BMC U23 Mountain Bike Development Team. He’s netted top five results on the USA Cycling Pro XCT circuit.
Cyclocross only came to Werner’s attention once he started collegiate cycling; his aptitude showed in short order. “I definitely like some muddy, slick ’cross races,” Werner says. “And I like a challenging course; it kind of takes your mind off the pain in your legs.”
In just his second attempt he won a collegiate national ’cross championship, a title he would capture three times. He touched down on the USA Cycling cyclocross circuit beginning in 2010; in 2012 he won day two at the North Carolina Grand Prix. During the 2014/15 season, racing for Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, he secured four UCI wins which included a sweep of the North Carolina event weekend.
A natural and versatile athlete, Werner tried his hand at many sports while growing up in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. Around age fifteen he discovered mountain biking. Consumed by mastering challenges on dirt trails, he dropped competitive soccer and cross-country running to focus on mountain biking while continuing basketball for winter fitness. Just two years after his first mountain bike race he made the junior world championship team. At Lees-McRae College he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a concentration in nutrition.
Werner is looking forward to the benefits of racing mountain and ’cross bikes on the same team. “I couldn’t be happier,” he said about becoming part of the Raleigh Clement Professional Cycling Team.
“The last couple of years I’ve had a full mountain bike program but I’ve never been able to transition with the same team from mountain biking to cyclocross. So it’s a big confidence booster to concentrate solely on mountain biking without worrying about finding a team for cyclocross. That easy transition will allow me to focus more on racing, which I can’t wait to do for this awesome team.”
During the recruitment process Werner displayed initiative in his contacts with Kellogg, a trait the team manager seeks out in riders. “When Kerry visited the team tent to introduce himself in person, eye to eye, that further proved his initiative and more or less sealed his opportunity to join the team,” says Kellogg.
Werner completes the set of talent assembled to enable the team to make a significant impression in mountain biking. He joins new recruits Fernando Riveros and U23 rider Lance Haidet, as well as Jamey Driscoll, to compete at USA Cycling Pro XCT and other races. Caroline Mani and U23 racer Laurel Rathbun will enter women’s events. The riders will pilot Raleigh Skarns on Clement FRJ tires.
With Riveros focused on mountain biking, in total the Raleigh Clement Professional Cycling Team supports six riders in 2015 for that discipline and five for cyclocross. In addition, the next Amy D. Racing rider will travel with the team for the cyclocross season.