Clif Pro Team, the elite women’s mountain bike and cyclocross program has announced major restructuring for 2019. The team is lead by Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Catharine Pendrel and Czech five-time Olympian Katerina Nash. The six-member roster will include two men for the first time in the team’s history. The team also said that it will focus on a North American race schedule.
The program was founded in 2001 to advance the opportunities for women in mountain biking. Over the course of it’s existance the team has claimed dozens of World Cup wins and national championship titles, and two Olympic medals. Pendel joined the team in 2008 winning two world championship titles and the 2010 UCI World Cup overall.
American Haley Baten and Hannah Rae Finchamp will return to the Clif Pro Team in 2019. In addition, Americans Russell Finsterwald and Clif athlete Ben Sonntag join the umbrella of the proffesional team.
“The team was built in 2001 on the principles of creating opportunities for women in sports, and to advocate for equal pay, prize money, and support for female athletes,” the team announced in a statement. “18 years later, we’re embarking on a North American race schedule with an expanded family. While we still support female achievement in sports, it’s the right time to create opportunity for women and men alike.”
Pendrel’s 2018 season was interrupted when she broke her arm in training. She returned to competition at the Mont-Saint-Anne World Cup and then was riding in the top-10 at the UCI World Championships before an untimely flat tire. A week after racing together as part of the larger Team Canada squad in Lenzerheide, Pendrel partnered up with Haley Smith for the 2018 Perskindol Swiss Epic 2018. The pair won the race that included a leg numbing 12,000 m of climbing over five stages.