Europe’s leading cyclo-cross and apparel brands to support the American ’cross scene with a dedicated, professional effort

(Carlsbad, CA, July 16, 2010) –In a joint effort to support cyclo-cross racing here in the United States, FOCUS Bicycles USA and Rapha will be funding a professional ’cross squad for the 2010/2011 season. Dubbed the Rapha-Focus team, the outfit will consist of ’cross upstart Chris Jones of Auburn, California, and U23 standout Zach McDonald of Seattle, Washington. The team will be outfitted with custom Rapha apparel and Focus CX1 frames with SRAM Red, TRP brakes, Fi’zi:k saddles and Easton wheels and components. FOCUS will also provide a support van and race mechanic for the riders.

Last season, Jones finished second in the season-opening Cross Vegas event and followed that with a series of solid performances at national-level races. McDonald, Junior Elite National Champ in 2009 and a podium finisher in a UCI World Cup, looks to impose his will on the U23 field. Both athletes will race US and international schedules and will look for peak form around the American National and UCI World Championships.

“The FOCUS brand was literally founded by a world cyclo-cross champion in Germany and we’ve always kept one foot firmly planted in the sport,” says Scott Rittschof, president of FOCUS Bicycles USA. “The joint effort and investment of our two passionate, discerning and authentic brands should prove to give a push to the domestic cyclo-cross racing scene in advance of the world championships being held here in 2013.”

“At the foundation of our company is a passion for racing and once the Rapha-Condor-Sharp team in the UK closes their road season in the early fall, there is a tangible void within Rapha. With our North American headquarters in Portland and penchant for the suffering of racing, the sport of cyclo-cross is a natural area for the company,” says Slate Olson, General Manager of Rapha N.A.. “It’s fantastic to partner with FOCUS, who has such an accomplished history in cyclo-cross and I am excited that together we could support two genuinely impressive riders.”

“Last year I had a real breakthrough season riding a FOCUS,” says Chris Jones. “This year, I truly believe that we’re going to be both the best outfitted and most highly motivated riders in the field. Having the backing of Rapha and FOCUS is absolutely a dream and this season should prove to be the perfect build for the 2013 World Championships here in the USA.”

Team Rapha-FOCUS riders will campaign aboard the Focus CX1 frame with SRAM Red, TRP brakes, Fi’zi:k saddles and Easton wheels and components. The CX1 was developed and tested in-concert with the FOCUS sponsored Team MILRAM and is a true expression of the FOCUS motto “By Pros, For Pros.”

FOCUS Bicycles USA entered the North American market in the fall of 2009 and its bikes are available through independent specialty bike shops in 21 states from California to New York, as well as Performance bicycle stores nationwide. Please check out the complete FOCUS line at www.focus-bikes.com.

###

About FOCUS Bicycles USA

Based in Carlsbad, California, FOCUS Bicycles USA is dedicated to enhancing the cyclist’s experience with premium, race-inspired designs that integrate German engineering, precision design and cutting-edge technology. True to the brand’s German lineage, FOCUS bicycles are developed, built, tested and delivered with utmost efficiency and to< exacting standards. For more information check www.focus-bikes.com.

About Rapha

Rapha creates the finest cycling clothing and accessories in the world. Designed without compromise for the most discerning rider, Rapha products blend style with optimum performance. A passion for road racing means Rapha is more than just a product company. It is an online emporium of performance roadwear, accessories, publications and events, all celebrating the glory and suffering of road riding. For more information, visit www.rapha.cc.