Kenda, Competitive Cyclist to merge in 2013

Two top U.S. teams will join forces in 2013 after missing key race invites

Two of America’s top UCI Continental teams, Kenda-5-hour Energy and Competitive Cyclist, are set to merge for the 2013 season, according to a press release from Inferno Racing, owner of the Kenda squad.

On The Rivet Management, the company that owns the Competitive Cyclist team, will absorb Inferno Racing. The new team has yet to announce details of its line-up for 2013, but has confirmed that Kenda director Frankie Andreu and Competitive Cyclist director Gord Fraser will jointly direct the team next season.

Competitive Cyclist, spearheaded by two-time Vuelta a España podium finisher Francisco Mancebo, won the individual and team National Racing Calendar competitions in 2012. Mancebo topped the overall NRC rankings in both 2011 and 2012. Kenda boasts climber Phil Gaimon, who won the overall at the 2012 Redlands Bicycle Classic and finished third overall at the Cascade Classic, but the southerner is set to depart to Bissell in the offseason. Kenda led the NRC victory tally over the course of the 2012 season, and was fourth in points overall.

Both teams made headlines on a few occasions throughout the season for their non-invites to the Amgen Tour of California (in which Kenda raced in 2011), the USA Pro Challenge, and, in Kenda’s case, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Competitive Cyclist did race at the Tour of Utah, where Mancebo finished 17th overall, 6:39 down on BMC Racing’s Johann Tschopp.

The new, as-yet-named team hopes that the merger will improve its prospects for invitations on 2013.

“Bringing [together] America’s winningest 2012 team (Kenda) and back-to-back NRC champs (Competitive Cyclist) should make it too hard for the ‘Big three’ to ignore this time around,” the team said in a release.

Chad Thompson, general manager of Inferno Racing, pointed to shared, “family-based principals in managing,” and a larger budget as major assets to the merger, which will officially take place on January 1, 2013.

The team will announce sponsors and riders in the coming weeks, according to the release.