Rapha and Focus are sponsoring two up and coming U.S. ‘cross racers, and they’ll be getting this oh-so-hot kit that’s very reminiscent of that oh-so-hot Speedvagen cyclocross bike Vanilla was showing at the NAHBS earlier this year.
PRESS RELEASE: In a joint effort to support cyclo-cross racing here in the United States, FOCUS Bicycles USA and Rapha will be funding a professional cross squad for the 2010/2011 season. Dubbed the Rapha-Focus team, the outfit will consist of cross upstart Chris Jones of Auburn, California and U23 standout Zach McDonald of Seattle, Washington. The team will be outfitted with custom Rapha apparel and FOCUS Mares AX-1 bikes. FOCUS will also provide a support van and race mechanic for the riders.
Last season, Jones finished second in the season-opening Cross Vegas event and followed that with a series of solid performances at national-level races. McDonald, Junior Elite National Champ in 2009 and a podium finisher in a UCI World Cup, looks to impose his will on the U23 field. Both athletes will race US and International schedules and will look for peak form around the American National and UCI World Championships.
Read the rest, and check out the long-sleeve kit, after the break…
â€œThe FOCUS brand was literally founded by a world cyclo-cross champion in Germany and weâ€™ve always kept one foot firmly planted in the sport,â€ says Scott Rittschof, president of FOCUS Bicycles USA. â€œThe joint effort and investment of our two passionate, discerning and authentic brands should prove to give a push to the domestic cyclocross racing scene in advance of the world championships being held here in 2013.â€
â€œAt the foundation of our company is a passion for racing and once the Rapha-Condor-Sharp team in the UK closes their road season in the early fall, there is a tangible void within Rapha. With our North American headquarters in Portland and penchant for the suffering of racing, the sport of cyclo-cross is a natural area for the company,â€ says Slate Olson, General Manager of Rapha N.A.. â€œItâ€™s fantastic to partner with FOCUS, who has such an accomplished history in cyclo-cross and I am excited that together we could support two genuinely impressive riders.â€
â€œLast year I had a real breakthrough season riding a FOCUS,â€ says TK year-old Chris Jones. â€œThis year, I truly believe that weâ€™re going to be both the best outfitted and most highly motivated riders in the field. Having the backing of Rapha and FOCUS is absolutely a dream and this season should prove to be the perfect build for the 2012 world championships here in the USA.â€
Team Rapha-FOCUS riders will campaign aboard FOCUS Mares machines that feature a monocoque carbon fiber frame with oversized BB30 bottom bracket shell, tapered headtube and an ultra-rigid carbon fork. The bikes will outfitted with equipment from SRAM and Easton. The Mares was developed and tested in-concert with the FOCUS sponsored Team MILRAM and is a true expression of the FOCUS motto â€œBy Pros, For Pros.â€