What's Cool In Road Cycling

Axeon Cycling Team Announces New Sponsors For 2016

The Axel Merckx Project, Hagens Berman, NEON Adventures, SRAM®, Specialized, Cal Giant, the American Proficiency Institute and Velofix come together to invest in the future of cycling.

Axeon Cycling Team announced Monday it is significantly bolstering its sponsorship for the 2016 season to expand one of the world’s leading cycling development programs.

In addition to current sponsors NEON Adventures, SRAM®, and the American Proficiency Institute, Axeon (pronounced “AK’shun”) will be joined next year by Hagens Berman, a Seattle-based national class action law firm, Specialized Bicycle Components, California Giant Berry Farms, a long-time sponsor of cycling that is headquartered in Watsonville, California, and Velofix, North America’s largest fleet of franchised Mobile Bike Shops.

Axeon Cycling Team General Manager Axel Merckx said the new sponsorship program will allow the re-branded “Axeon Hagens Berman” team to continue its tradition of nurturing and advancing young, talented riders from the amateur ranks to the highest level of the sport. The additional funding will be channeled toward training, personal coaching, conditioning, bike fittings, performance counseling, physiological assessments, and technical training, he said.

“This is a major step forward for us and a groundbreaking one when it comes to our development of young riders,” Merckx said. “The past six seasons, we have sent 18 riders to the WorldTour. Getting riders to that level will continue to remain our focus. The new support from these partners will allow us to sign additional riders, provide them with better resources, and participate in more races throughout Europe and the United States.”

From its Seattle headquarters, Hagens Berman fights for the rights of consumers, employees and others across the nation against corporate greed, fraud and deception. Outside the courtroom, many members of the firm’s legal team enjoy cycling to work and on the weekend.

“This is a natural move for Hagens Berman in our support for promising young talent in their rise to compete at the highest levels of cycling and forge the skills to succeed both on and off the bike,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.

Hagens Berman has sponsored one of the longest-running UCI road racing teams registered in the USA, Jamis-Hagens Berman, and also bolstered the Hagens Berman U-23 Cycling Program. With the new Axeon Hagens Berman team, Berman said the firm looks forward to focusing on the Under 23 level.

“We want to provide young riders with opportunities and experiences that can change their lives forever,” he said.

Other new sponsors say they are equally as excited about being involved.

“Specialized has looked at Axel’s team in the last few seasons and we have always been very impressed by the great program and the talent that he has developed over the years,” said Simone Toccafondi Head of Specialized Racing. “Specialized Racing will provide the team with the best equipment and the technology needed to interpret every race in the best way possible. With the technical partnership with Specialized, riders will have the option of pro tour proven bikes including the new Venge ViAS. Additionally, riders will have access to key time saving equipment like the SWorks 6 road shoe and Evade helmet.”

California Giant Berry Farms says the partnership is a perfect fit.

“We are excited about this new partnership with Axeon Cycling,” said Anthony Gallino, Vice President of Sales. “This new connection provides our riders the opportunity to have even more support as they strive to achieve the highest level in pro cycling. California Giant has supported a team for 15 years and during that time period we have escalated our program due partnerships and the talented riders we have been honored to sponsor. In turn they have supported our strong commitment to health and fitness. This new partnership with Axeon will allow us to continue our commitment to this sport and the health and fitness message for our berries we grow and ship both domestically and internationally.”

VeloFix co-founder and CEO Chris Guillemet said: “We are excited and very proud to partner with Axel and Axeon for the 2016 season. His commitment to youth development and the team’s investment in the future of cycling aligns perfectly with our business goals. We look forward to supporting the team and being part of a successful 2016 season.”

The Axeon Cycling Team is currently competing in the USA Pro Challenge, a seven-day UCI 2.HC event in Colorado. Earlier this month, Axeon won a stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah with Logan Owen, as well as the “king of the mountains” classification with Gregory Daniel. Among the team’s nine victories this year is Ruben Guerreiro winning a stage and overall title at Trofeu Sudoeste Alentejano e Costa Vicentina in Portugal in March, James Oram’s victory in the Under 23 New Zealand national time trial championships, Keegan Swirbul’s U23 national title in the USA Cycling Under 23 road race and Daniel Eaton’s national title in the USA Cycling Under 23 time trial championships.

The Axeon Cycling Team will continue to be registered in the United States, Merckx said, meaning 60 percent of the 2016 roster will be Americans. This year’s roster includes riders from Great Britain, New Zealand, and Portugal.

About Axeon Cycling Team
Founded in 2009 by world-renowned Belgian cycling champion Axel Merckx, the Axeon Cycling Team has the goal of developing the best young talent into pro riders. With the backing of an international racing program, the team strongly supports talented young cyclists in their journey towards becoming top athletes and role models. Already the program has advanced 18 riders to the WorldTour ranks, including Giro d’Italia stage winner Taylor Phinney, past U.S. national road champion Ben King, two-time Amgen Tour of California “best young rider” Lawson Craddock, 2015 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah winner Joe Dombrowski and 2009 junior world road champion Jasper Stuyven.

About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in nine cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com.

About NEON Adventures
NEON Adventures is a London-based digital team born out of the Forward Internet Group with interests spanning from publishing to property, philanthropy to films. Having first teamed up in 2015 to co-create the Axeon brand, NEON will be continuing their support of the world’s top young riders in the 2016 season.

“Becoming an active part of the Axeon setup has been an incredible experience,” said Neil Hutchinson, founder of NEON. “We are hugely excited to build on last year with Axel, the team and a great set of sponsors.”

About SRAM®
SRAM® is a global manufacturer of high-end bicycle components founded in Chicago, Illinois, in September of 1987 with the invention of Grip Shift®. SRAM has focused on building its organic product development capability through road, urban and mountain, but also has completed strategic acquisitions focused on amplifying this capability. SRAM has acquired Sachs Bicycle Components, RockShox®, Avid®, Truvativ® Zipp® and Quarq® power. SRAM is the second largest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world. With more than 3,000 employees, and offices and manufacturing in 15 countries, SRAM is a world-class leader in performance bike parts.

“Axeon Cycling Team continues to be an outstanding representative of the SRAM, Zipp and Quarq brands and our culture of teamwork and development,” said Alex Wassmann, Road Sports Marketing Director. “This program consistently represents exactly what is great about the sport of cycling. We look forward to 2016 and sharing continued mutual growth and success.”

About Specialized Bicycle Components
Specialized was founded in 1974 by riders for riders. Based in Northern California, we focus on the rider’s need for functional and technically advanced products that provide a performance benefit.

About California Giant Berry Farms
California Giant Berry Farms is a grower-shipper of premium fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. The privately held, family owned company is based in Watsonville, CA and has been in business for over 40 years shipping domestically and internationally on a year-round basis. California Giant contributes to the health of American consumers by providing an abundant, healthy and delicious product. The company is committed to supporting organizations and alliances that send positive messages about the importance of combining diet and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle to consumers.

About the American Proficiency Institute
American Proficiency Institute (API) provides world-class laboratory quality assurance programs to over 19,000 U.S. hospitals, physician offices, and clinics. In addition, API offers similar programs for food laboratories with customers in 50 countries. For more information, visit api-pt.com.

“It is a great feeling to be involved with Axel Merckx and the Axeon Cycling Team supporting the future of cycling,” said President Dan Edson.

About Velofix
Velofix Group of Companies is the largest fleet of Mobile Bike Shops in North America. Founded with a passion for cycling, we allow cyclists to “Save Time. Ride More.” Book on-line and the Mobile Bike Shop comes to you to look after all your biking needs.” Franchises available. www.velofix.com.

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