Francisco “Paco” Mancebo will captain the new 13-rider U.S.-based RealCyclist.com squad in 2011.
Mancebo, 34, finished ninth overall and won the best young rider award in the 2000 Tour de France, and was fourth overall in the 2005 Tour. He later was linked to the Operation Puerto case and retired, only to return to race for Rock Racing in 2009, when he won the first stage of the Tour of California. He completed his 2010 racing season with the Kastro Heraklion-Murcia pro cycling team in Europe.
“I’m very excited about this new project,” Mancebo said in a team release. “I’m very attracted to the idea of racing in the USA, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” says Mancebo, 34. “I hope to have good results in 2011, especially in California and Utah, to repay the team for placing confidence in me.”
Mancebo will be joined by climbing specialist Cesar Grajales, 37, a Tour de Georgia stage winner.
2011 RealCyclist.com team
Team director Gord Fraser said Mancebo will lead a squad with many young riders.
“We have numerous young riders that are dipping their toes into full time NRC and UCI level competition for the first time,” Fraser said. “I’m looking forward to helping mold our talented riders into a cohesive team as quickly as possible.”