Duke will ride ’cross for Alchemy Bicycle Company

A group of sponsors have stepped in after Raleigh-Clement dropped ’crosser from its roster this month

American cyclocrosser Nicole Duke has landed new sponsor support after Raleigh-Clement dropped her from the team’s roster earlier this month. Alchemy Bicycle Company announced on Tuesday that Duke would ride in the independent builder’s colors for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

“We love Nicole. We were almost inexplicably drawn to her as a person, and bike racer. It was a shame to see her season almost come to a premature end,” said Alchemy marketing and brand manager Pete Smith. “We just want her to do well, and have fun out there! When the opportunity came up to work with Nicole, we couldn’t pass it up.”

Duke, third at the U.S. elite national championships in January and the second American woman at the elite world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, joined Raleigh-Clement after winning the Midsummer’s Night Cross in Park City, Utah, in July. Duke had previously split with her Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld squad. The Raleigh relationship soured quickly after Duke experienced health problems and developed a romantic relationship with teammate Ben Berden. Duke told Cyclocross Magazine that she appreciated Berden’s support through the split.

“It’s an unfortunate situation. My private life and my professional life collided. It’s upsetting, it’s unfortunate but it was a good decision on both of our parts [to leave Raleigh-Clement] and I’m excited to be moving forward with a new program on my own,” she said. “I’m working on my health, I’m training really hard, and I’m trying to put something together so I can continue my season and still go for my dream of making the worlds team.”

Duke will return to racing at the CXLA weekend in Los Angeles December 1-2. Spy Optics, SRAM, Giro and FasCat Coaching are also backing Duke, who is a former top-level gravity racer.