California Giant Berry Farms has sponsored a cycling team for twelve years, starting with road and added cross a few seasons back with resounding success. And they are back. The California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized is back with a strong mix of youth and experience in their cross team to tackle what promises to be an exciting year. The team will contest a domestic schedule with a few select European World Cup races with the aim to represent the United States for the 2013 World Cyclocross Championships to be held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
This year the squad consists of Meredith Miller and under-23 riders Cody Kaiser, Yannick Eckmann and Tobin Ortenblad, and the team will be managed by Jordi Andres Cortes. “We are thrilled to be racing another Cyclocross season and are excited about the squad we have in place this fall.” said Team Manager and VP of Sales for California Giant, Anthony Gallino.
Miller, the 2009 USA Road National Champion and runner-up at the 2009 USA National Cyclocross Championships, is excited to embark another Cyclocross season. “This will be my fifth year racing ‘cross and my fifth year racing with Cal Giant, Specialized, SRAM and Zipp. With Kentucky hosting Worlds this 2012-13 season, the enthusiasm and motivation will be higher than it’s ever been. The buzz and momentum surrounding ‘cross in the US has been steadily building over the last several years, and I am excited to be part of all the hub bub with yet another great mix of riders on the team.”
Hoping to race once again at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in 2013, Miller also added mountain bike races to her usual road season this year.
“My major goal of the season is to make it to Kentucky in February as a member of the US National Team. In order to get there, I will need to consistently have big results for Cal Giant – in the US and Europe. Making the Worlds team has always been competitive, but with the race being held right here on our soil for the first time in the history of the sport, this year will be exceptionally tough. I will need
to be on top of my game each and every race. My hope is that the mix of road and mountain bike racing I have done this year will help me do just that.”
Once competitors in the junior ranks, Kaiser (20) and Eckmann (18) will be joining forces this year in the Elite Men races. The 2009 USA Junior Cyclocross National Champion Kaiser, a three-time US World Team Member, finished third overall at the under-23 US Gran Prix of Cyclocross in 2011.
“I am stoked to be back again with California Giant-Specialized, every year it gets better and I can’t wait for the September to get here.” Kaiser said. “I am looking forward to all of the racing and hope to be as consistent as possible with some big results.”
German-national Eckmann who was second overall at the under-23 US Gran Prix of Cyclocross last year, also raced at the Cyclocross World Championships as a junior. In his first year with the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized squad last year, Ortenblad (18) blasted on the national scene and was the runner-up in the Junior USA Cyclocross National Championships.
Joining the squad in California races will be Justin Robinson and Andy Jacques-Maynes who are both two-time 30+ USA Cyclocross National Champions.
Starting with CrossVegas in September, the racing calendar includes the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross series and select World Cups in Europe. This schedule all leads up to the National Championships in Madison and the World Cyclocross Championships in Louisville.
The athletes will be riding the Specialized S-Works Crux Carbon powered by SRAM and Zipp 303 Cross wheel sets. “We’re really excited to continue our relationship with California Giant. Specialized has always been committed to the development of young talent, and the 2012 California Giant/Specialized team is a perfect example of that commitment. Yannick, Cody, and Tobin will have the benefit of Meredith Miller’s experience and guidance as they head toward the World Championships in Louisville, and our all-new S-Works Crux Carbon will give every member of the team a competitive advantage.” –Tyler Frasca, Sports Marketing Specialist at Specialized