Best Buddies is to close its racing team at the end of this year after two years of dominating the criterium racing scene in the US. In its wake, the not-for-profit organisation has brought Tom Pidcock and Chris Froome on board as ambassadors.
In a statement published on its website (opens in new tab), the organisation says it will "retire" its racing team after two years of activity, and "shift its focus to building a more inclusive cycling community".
Best Buddies Racing was the best squad in US crits, leading the men’s team standings in the 10-race American Criterium Cup. The team secured the team title this month at the final event that was part of the Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup, with two riders, Alfredo Rodriguez and Bryan Gomez, finishing third and fourth overall, respectively, in the individual points competition.
Best Buddies helps foster opportunities for "one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities ".
The organisation has created a new "professional cyclists Ambassador initiative", which will be led by Froome and Pidcock, who will take part in Best Buddies Challenge events and Breakaway Camps cycling initiatives.
Cyclingnews reported (opens in new tab) that the pair are scheduled to attend a Best Buddies Challenge event in Miami, Florida on November 18, a 75-mile event limited to 50 riders.
“Best Buddies will retire the racing team and shift its focus to building a more inclusive cycling community by engaging diverse, prospective, and new riders, while promoting our mission of one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” the statement reads.
“Over the past two years, the Best Buddies Racing team has created a strong foundation built on inclusion and sheer passion to increase awareness about the Best Buddies mission, while expanding the organization’s efforts to open up the world of cycling to a new generation of riders,” Anthony K. Shriver, the founder, chairman and CEO of Best Buddies International, said.
“We are incredibly grateful for the teams’ efforts and look forward to the launch of our new professional cyclists Ambassador initiative led by four-time Tour De France champion Chris Froome and Tom Pidcock, in addition to exciting new developments that will complement the Best Buddies Challenges and Best Buddies Breakaway Camps cycling initiatives.”
“I am extremely proud of what the Best Buddies Racing team was able to accomplish over the past two years,” Michael Hernandez, the team's captain, said in the press release. “The team’s on-the-bike success speaks for itself, but what touched my heart the most is how every one of our team members fully embraced the mission of Best Buddies and truly cared about each of the participants who came to support us at the races.”
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