Veteran Spanish climbing and stage-racing star will lead talented team for 2011 season

PARK CITY, UTAH - As the 2011 cycling season approaches, the The Professional Cycling Team today announces that Spanish racing standout Francisco "Paco" Mancebo Pérez will captain the 13-rider U.S.-based UCI Continental squad that will compete in National Racing Calendar and UCI America Tour events.

A seasoned climber and stage-racing strongman, Mancebo, who completed his 2010 racing season with the Kastro Heraklion-Murcia pro cycling team in Europe, brings expertise and veteran leadership to the Pro Cycling Team. With five top-10 finishes in the Tour de France in the last decade which included the Best Young Rider accolade in 2000, Mancebo is eager to race a full season in the U.S.

"About the new team,, I'm very excited about this new project. 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. The team is a mix of youth and experience and will make up a solid group."

A native of Madrid, Mancebo started his illustrious professional cycling career in 1998 with Spanish powerhouse Banesto. Earlier this year, Mancebo joined forces with US-based amateur team Canyon Bicycles to defend his 2009 Tour of Utah victory. He finished second overall in Utah this past August. In 2009, Mancebo won stage one of the Amgen Tour of California, was first overall at Vuelta a Asturias and second overall at the Cascade Classic.

"I'll be relying heavily on the leadership and experience of Francisco Mancebo to turn Pro Cycling Team into a tight fighting unit," says directeur sportif Gord Fraser. "We have numerous young riders that are dipping their toes into full time NRC and UCI level competition for the first time. I'm looking forward to help mold our talented riders into a cohesive team as quickly as possible."

In addition to Mancebo, the Pro Cycling Team will receive a big boost of seasoned experience from Colombia native Cesar Grajales. A climbing specialist, Grajales, 37, is best remembered for ousting Lance Armstrong on Brasstown Bald Mountain in 2004 at the Tour de Georgia. In 2010, Grajales took second place at the San Dimas Road Race, third on stage one of Tour of the Gila and won the King of the Mountain classification at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.

Photo courtesy: Brian Hodes, VeloImages