HTC hits the road in 2011 with Specialized

Road – As the new year begins, so does an exciting—and fast!–new partnership in the cycling world: Two California companies, High Road Sports and Specialized, kick off a multi-year commitment to arm the world’s winningest men’s and women’s cycling teams, HTC-High Road, with the racing world’s most successful bikes in 2010, ours.

The combination of Pro Tour-dominating bikes and equipment with our rich history, culture, innovative spirit, and overall commitment to cycling is what High Road founder Bob Stapleton found so attractive about Specialized.

“We are thrilled by this partnership,” said Stapleton. “Founder Mike Sinyard is an authentic entrepreneur, and his iconic company is a dominant force in both professional racing and bringing innovation to millions of cyclists worldwide. Our partnership is focused not only on athletic success but also on developing superior products.”

For the 2011 season, the HTC-High Road men will ride our S-Works Tarmac SL3 frames and forks for most road races, switching to the Roubaix SL3 for the cobbled classics, while women will ride the S-Works Amira. Both teams will race the SHIV in Time Trials. Riders will also wear the new complete performance Prevail helmet on the open roads, and the TT3 for races against the clock.

Sinyard is equally enthusiastic about the venture. “I’ve always respected Bob and the teams he has built. Our organizations have a lot in common,” he said. “High Road will drive us hard to continually improve our bikes and helmets, and we’ll deliver the best materials in the world to help them win races.”

The new partners kicked off the 2011 season with their first-ever in-house winter camp at Specialized’s headquarters in Morgan Hill, California. Over 50 members of the international media were also in attendance, and given rare access to HTC athletes throughout the camp. The event culminated in a 200-strong casual ride for team members, employees, and journalists.

The teams got down to serious early-season business, with all riders enjoying separate BG FIT sessions on their road and TT bikes. Specialized’s proprietary, comprehensive fit system makes riders “one with their bikes,” and the HTC-High Road pros—including their premiere sprinter—saw tangible results. “It’s a lot better actually,” admitted superstar sprinter Mark Cavendish from the saddle of his newly-fit Tarmac SL3. “I’m able to get power out of both legs. I had some problems with that last year, but this has helped a lot. It’s really good!”

Evelyn Stevens, 2010 US National Time Trial Champion, summed up the overall experience perfectly. “This was a great mix of team bonding, training, and learning about our new partnerships.”

With the camp behind them, both teams are deep into their early season training in Europe. Look for the men in their first major race, January 16-23 at the Tour Down Under in Australia.