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Rapha-Focus added the team’s first female rider Friday with the signing of France’s Julie Krasniak. The team also confirmed that Chris Jones would not take the start in the weekend’s opening rounds of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross.
Krasniak, 23, is a professional on the road with Look and is currently competing with the French national team at the world road championships in Copenhagen.
She will join the Rapha squad for the first time at the first two rounds of the World Cup in Tabor and Plzen, Czech Republic, before making her U.S. debut at the Colorado Cross Classic and Boulder Cup October 28-29 in Colorado.
Krasniak turned from a promising career on the mountain bike to the road and is a multiple-time national U23 time trial champion. She will contest her first full season as an elite ’crosser this fall.
“We’ve come to know Julie this year as she has been a key member of a European women’s road team that Rapha is involved with,” said Rapha, NA general manager Slate Olson. “That Julie is coming slightly out of nowhere to ‘cross is exciting, we expect that she might surprise some people this season.”
Scott Rittschof, CEO of Focus Bicycles, USA, said Krasniak’s signing is an important step in international marketing for both title sponsors.
“Focus Bicycles is excited to have Julie on the team for a number of reasons; for starters we think that Julie epitomizes the sort of talent that is coming into the fields of women’s cyclocross,” he said. “Her nationality emphasizes the importance for Focus and Rapha to be recognized as global performance brands.”
The team’s top returning rider, Chris Jones, will not make his originally planned start at the Planet Bike Cup in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, this weekend.
According to a team representative, Jones is still recovering from last week’s Tour of Britain, where he rode with his UnitedHealthcare squad. Jones has a “strain on a minor adductor muscle” and should be back next week for the Grand Prix of Gloucester in Massachusetts.