The Steve Tilford Foundation has partnered with the MAAP – Mini USA Cyclocross Program for professional, domestic elite, and junior development teams that will create learning environments for new racers, and provide veteran racers with valuable racing opportunities. The teams aim to pass along Tilford’s legacy, with a mission to help young people to pursue high-performance competitive cycling.
Three-time U.S. cyclocross national champion Stephen Hyde will be joined by former professional road cyclist, Joseph Schmalz who will serve in an advisory capacity. Schmalz raced under Tilford and hopes to impart the lessons he learned from Tilford to the team.
Hyde won three consecutive U.S. national cyclocross championships, 2016-18. Earlier this year, VeloNews reported that he was not offered a contract to race a sixth season with Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com, the longtime U.S. factory team managed by Hyde’s uncle Stu Thorne. The opportunity to race with the Steve Tilford Foundation should prove to be a promising future for the ‘cross champ, as well as provide valuable mentorship access for the development teams.
“As effective as Steve was as a cyclist and a teammate, he was a friend and mentor first,” said Schmalz. “I met Steve at a local cyclocross race here in Kansas when I was 12 or 13. It was the first cyclocross event I had ever attended and after watching him that afternoon, I was hooked. His skills and his obvious unrivaled passion for competition were infectious traits.”
In an announcement Wednesday, the multisurface racing program indicated they plan to work with local and national cycling organizations to foster education, provide mentorship, and facilitate access to competitive, domestic racing.
Despite the lack of racing through the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Steve Tilford Foundation Racing team remains optimistic about the coming year.
“We are fortunate to be able to build something so bright during what seems to be such a dark year and without any racing on the U.S. calendar,” says team owner Raylyn Nuss.
Returning sponsors and partners include Mini USA, Specialized, Roval, Muc-Off, and MAAP cycling apparel.