California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized Announces 2014 Road Roster
Watsonville, CA – The California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team announced today the 14 riders that will contest the 2014 road season. Continuing on its mission to develop the next generation of professional cyclists, the roster includes 11 under-23 racers and three mentors that will provide leadership on and off the bike throughout the year.
“We’re excited to bring in five new young riders in our ‘catch-and-release’ program that has proven to be successful in the past. Our goal is to help these young riders become successful adults and to give them the proper support to help them reach for their dream of becoming professional cyclists.” said Team Manager and VP of Sales for California Giant, Anthony Gallino.
As one of the nation’s largest grower-shippers of fresh berries, California Giant Berry Farms has sponsored a cycling team for fourteen years and is proud of the significant growth of this program with regard to rider successes and fan loyalty over the years. The company continues its commitment to the program and is proud of the continued success of the athletes while contributing to the health of American consumers by providing an abundant, healthy & delicious product. California Giant believes in programs like cycling and other organizations that send positive messages about the importance of combining diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Teaming up with Specialized, the California Giant Cycling team will be riding the S-Works Tarmac SL4, Venge, and Shiv TT . Tyler Frasca, USA Marketing for Specialized Bicycles, noted, “2014 is shaping up to be a great year for the Cal Giant/Specialized road team. The expanded roster includes some true talent, and will allow the team to cover more races in both Europe and the United States. The team’s mission is to develop the next generation of pro road cyclists, and we’re happy to provide the best bikes and equipment to further help these young riders reach their goals.”
The team will also be on SRAM Force 22 group sets & Zipp Wheels. “We’re glad to be back supporting the ‘Berries and their goal to cultivate road racing’s next generation of professionals. At SRAM we believe in constant and determined development and our product leaders have been hard at work refining the tools the team needs to take the 2014 season by storm.” stated Alex Wassmann, SRAM Global Road Sports Marketing Manager.
Returning riders include Robin Eckmann, 2013 USA Under-23 Cyclocross National Champion, Yannick Eckmann, Colin Joyce, Tobin Ortenblad, Torey Philipp and Benjamin Swedberg. Longest with the team, Swedberg will be action as senior leader amongst the espoirs. Also back are Stefano Barberi and Jared Barrilleaux who will bring their years of experience to the team as rider-mentors at the national caliber races.
“It means a lot to me to ride for the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team again. I’m excited to be back and racing with the crew and learning more with every race.” Yannick Eckmann said. In his third year with the team, Eckmann is aiming for a podium finish and top 10 at the time trial at the USA Road National Championships next year.
Riders joining the 2014 team include Ansel Dickey, 2009 Jr 15-16 Road National Champion David Kessler, Justin Oien, Brendan Rhim and Benjamin Wolfe. The team is also pleased to announce the return of the 2010 Elite Criterium Champion Stephen Reaney, who will be acting as a rider-mentor at the local races.
“I am very excited to join the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized Team for the 2014 season; this is the next step in my development as a rider to reach my goal of making cycling a career. Cycling is one of the toughest sports in the world, and to have the support of California Giant and all of the team sponsors behind us this next season means we don’t have anything holding us back from making the leap and performing the best we can.” stated Wolfe who raced for a UCI-registered team last season.
“Three of our new riders are first year U23. I think they’re all in the mold that we like, a bit under the radar but have had good results and I think they’ll fit in just fine.” commented Gallino.
The team schedule will include the national caliber races all over the United States as well as many of the Northern California standards. In 2014, the team is also looking forwards to deepening their relationship with the USA Cycling National Team Program. Gallino added “We’ll have a lot more interaction with USA Cycling to get to Europe and having 11 riders makes it a little easier where we can get kids racing in Europe with the National team and also cover our bases here.”
“It’s going to be my last year as an under-23 so I really want to make it count which is why I’m really excited to race in Europe and continue to build a foundation, get some results and move up the ranks.” said Robin Eckmann. “I’m really excited to return to the team because I know the strategy of the team very well and I don’t need to adjust to anything new this coming year.”
The 2014 California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized Road Roster
- Stefano Barberi (29), Newbury Park, CA
- Jared Barrilleaux (28), Petaluma, CA
- Ansel Dickey (18), Woodstock, VT
- Robin Eckmann (21), Boulder, CO
- Yannick Eckmann (19), Boulder, CO
- Colin Joyce (19), Pocatello, ID
- David Kessler (20), Boulder, CO
- Justin Oien (18), Escondido, CA
- Tobin Ortenblad (19), Santa Cruz, CA
- Torey Philipp (20), El Dorado Hills, CA
- Stephen Reaney (42), San Jose, CA
- Brendan Rhim (17), Norwich, VT
- Benjamin Swedberg (21), Kent, WA
- Benjamin Wolfe (20), Old Lyme, CT
- Anthony Gallino, Watsonville, CA
- John Hunt, Fairfax, CA
- Jesse Moore, Sacramento, CA
- James Mattis, Mountain View, CA
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