Clif Pro Team is celebrating a massive milestone this year, as 2021 marks 20 years for the North American team. A four rider roster will represent Clif Pro Team, led by Canada’s Catharine Pendrel and veteran Olympian Katerina Nash.
The team, which started as Luna Pro Team back in 2002, also announced this will be the team’s final season. Over two decades, Clif Pro Team operated one of the earliest, and most consistently successful women’s programs in mountain biking.
2021 Clif Pro Team
Joining Pendrel and Nash are Sofia Gomez Villafane and Russel Finsterwald. Despite the smaller-than-usual roster, Clif Pro Team has the same lofty ambitions as ever. Both Gomez Villafane and Pendrel are pursuing the Olympic Games mountain bike race in Tokyo this summer. For Pendrel, it will be her fourth Olympic appearance. The Kamloops, B.C.-resident won bronze in XCO in 2016 at the Rio Games. 2021 will mark the Canadian’s return to racing after giving birth to her first child, with partner and coach Keith Wilson.
A long legacy: From Luna to Clif
Clif Pro Team was founded, originally as Luna Pro Team by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford back in 2001. For much of that history, the team fielded a women’s-only roster, focused on providing equal opportunities for women athletes. As the team evolved into Clif Pro Team, a men’s squad was eventually added on.
“It’s with a sense of pride and deep reflection that we announce the 2021 season will be the final chapter for the Clif Pro Team,” read the team’s announcement. “Over the past two decades, our team has won two Olympic medals, three world championships, four individual and seven team world cup titles, and inspired countless fans across the globe, along with a generation of young athletes.”
Many of those accomplishments are credited to Catharine Pendrel. That includes one of the team’s two Olympic medals and two world championships titles and three World Cup overall titles.
Luna and Clif consistently had a powerhouse roster of the biggest names in mountain biking. The team’s long legacy of promoting women’s cycling translated into success on the race course, and a strong tradition of inspiring young athletes on, and off the bike.
The team’s past roster is a storied list of many of mountain biking’s greats. Among the many top riders to wear the team’s jersey’s are Alison Dunlap (world champion), Marla Streb, Georgia Gould (the team’s other Olympic medallist), Lea Davison and five time Olympian Katerina Nash. More recently, Maghalie Rochette, Eva Lechner, Haley Batten and Hannah Finchmp represented the team around the world and at home in North America.
While it we are sad to see Clif Pro Team’s time come to an end, we remain inspired by their legacy. While many team’s come and go, Clif’s consistend support for two decades stands out, and the team will not soon be forgotten.