Team Specialized Racing has announced its newest member, “Fast” Freddie Rodriguez, one of the United States’ most accomplished professional cyclists. Freddie will join the organization as a board member, mentor and racer, competing in select professional category races alongside his junior teammates to help achieve the goal of becoming the number one junior team in the United States.
Rodriguez is recognized as one of the all-time leading US cyclists, with palmares that include three USPRO championships, a Giro d’Italia stage win, podium finishes at one-day classics including Milan- San Remo and Gent-Wevelgem, plus stage podium finishes the Tour de France, Giro d’ Italia and Vuelta de Espana. With Team Specialized Racing, Rodriguez will impart his vast experience with a hands-on, on-the-road approach to the development of the junior squad’s 14 riders ages 14-18.
Joining Team Specialized is part of an overall commitment by Rodriguez to participate in the development of junior riders. His Fast Freddie Foundation, which was formed five years ago, supports young cyclists in their endeavors to pursue athletic goals while also encouraging them to remain committed to education. The Foundation has been a supporter of Team Specialized Racing’s junior program from the onset.
“Giving back to the sport and contributing to the development of our next generation of riders has long been a goal, and why I formed the Fast Freddie Foundation,” said Freddie Rodriguez. “However, instead of cheering from the sidelines, joining Team Specialized was a unique opportunity to be out on the road alongside some of the nation’s leading juniors where the action takes place, teaching them about racing and how to conduct themselves as young men.”
Rodriguez joins a team that features a unique aspect: a squad of masters comprising former Olympians, former professional cyclists and amateur world and national champions, who mentor and assist in the development of younger teammates. These accomplished masters riders include Larry Nolan, Billy Innes, Dylan Casey, Rob Anderson, Mick Hellman, Craig Roemer, Kevin Metcalfe and Chris Lyman.
“Team Specialized is focused on junior development and was created with an accomplished squad of cyclists, who serve as mentors to their younger teammates,” said Wyatt Weisel, team founder. “To have someone of Freddie’s talent, success and passion join Team Specialized is not only testament to all that we have accomplished to date, but more importantly speaks to the ambitious goals we have set for the program.”
2010 was the best year yet for Team Specialized Racing, which culminated with USA Cycling’s “Overall Club of the Year” award for teams of similar size. The team earned a stage win, 2nd general classification and 3rd team general classification at the UCI Nations Cup seven-stage Tour de l’abitibi in Canada. The team achieved multiple victories and podiums at USA Road National Championships and sent numerous riders to the USA National Team in Europe, where races included the UCI Junior World Time Trial Championships and junior edition of Paris-Roubaix.
In the coming year, the team will focus on the USA Cycling Road National Championships, Track National Championships, the Tour de l’Abitibi, and other events. The team is also finalizing its regional and national event schedule with races such as Valley of the Sun, Merco, San Dimas, Nevada City, Cat’s Hill, Tour de Nez, and Sea Otter.
The team is in its fourth year with equipment sponsor Specialized and will be riding Tarmac SL3 and Tarmac SL2 race bikes equipped with SRAM Red. It will also utilize Specialized S-Works helmets and Specialized S-Works shoes.