When Vittoria launched its line of Terreno cyclocross tires two years ago, it was a sign the company wanted to make a deeper commitment to cyclocross.
Vittoria recently announced it is deepening its involvement with the sport by signing a two-year contract to serve as the official tire sponsor of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team that has been a mainstay in American ’cross in the 21st century. Stu Thorne’s Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team will be running the tubular Terreno tires for cyclocross and the tubeless-ready TNT models when they choose to race gravel.
“This is an easy one, they are the longest running professional cyclocross program in the U.S.,” Vittoria Vice President of Marketing Ken Avery said about partnering with the green machine. “We jumped at the chance to add Kaitie Keough and Stephen Hyde to the Vittoria family, along with the rest of the team, for both cyclocross and gravel.”
The stability and success of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team mean not much changes for Stu Thorne’s team in terms of its roster and primary sponsors in any given year. Prior to the switch, the team worked with Challenge as its tire sponsor.
The partnership with Vittoria and addition of Spencer Petrov to the team’s Elite roster represent two things that will be different in 2018/19 for the team that took home three national championships in Reno.
The sponsorship of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team is the latest step of a deepening involvement in the sport for Vittoria that has been hard to miss. The company took over sponsorship of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series in 2016 and signed Tobin Ortenblad and his Santa Cruz / Donkey Label racing program at the beginning of 2018.
The partnership also includes providing tires to the team’s athletes who choose to race gravel during the cyclocross offseason. Kaitie Keough ran Maxxis tires during her win at the Dirty Kanza 200, so her 2019 title defense will likely see her on either the Terreno Zero, Dry or Mix. Devo team rider Magnus Sheffield has also shown he is likely to give his Vittoria tires a go for a gravel race or two next spring.
After the 2018 Cyclocross Nationals in Reno, we did an informal survey of tire brands for the 40 front-row starters in the Sunday Elite races. Only two riders—Ortenblad and Greg Gunsalus—ran Vittoria tires, which means the company still has a ways to go in making inroads at the Elite level. There is, however, little doubt that its partnership with the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team will help.
“The cyclocross community is unlike any other, largely due to the people,” said Avery about Vittoria’s decision to deepen its ’cross involvement. “This core group represents cycling commitment, grit and lifestyle in a way that few others do and in a time of year where some people are putting their bikes away for the season. To get through conditions like those found in cyclocross racing, riders need to trust their tires. For us, it’s a proving ground that feeds our product development.”
UCI cyclocross racing kicks off in the U.S. on September 1 and 2 at Go Cross in Roanoke, Virginia. Fans can look for the new tires on the SuperXes of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team there.