Neal Kindree will now not only have the support of Squamish but also of cycling giant Specialized after being named to the company’s new mountain biking team earlier this month.
The Squamish native was named to the team along with Ontario’s Evan McNeely. Kindree said he’s looking forward to the 2012 season.
“I’m honoured to have been selected for the Specialized/EMD Serono race team,” Kindree said in a statement. “The people and the products backing this program are confidence inspiring and we are all working hard for a great cause: MS research. I was fortunate to have great sponsors in the past, but looking ahead, I had always hoped that one day, I would pilot a Specialized. Evan and I are lucky to be a part of this new program and we are both committed to doing our best.”
According to EMD Serono’s Stephen Riby, Kindree should help raise awareness for the group’s fight against multiple sclerosis in Western Canada.
“We feel Neal can help us successfully expand our program in Western Canada,” he said. “We are very proud to renew our commitment to Canadian cycling in 2012. Since partnering with Specialized in 2009, our program has focused on the development of young riders.”
Larry Koury, managing director of Specialized Canada, said it should be a great 2012 season for Kindree and McNeely.
“When this opportunity to deepen our support for two promising Canadian racers came up this fall, we were pleased to be able to step up to the plate.” Koury said. “Canada has real XC and CX [cyclocross] race talent, and Specialized has some of the best race bikes in the industry.
“We are fortunate to be in a position to support these riders. Evan and Neal will also bring important feedback to our engineers and developers as well, ensuring we continue the virtuous cycle of feedback to produce the best bikes and equipment in the industry.”
Kindree, who had an impressive return to the racing scene in 2011, said that he will be focusing on Canadian cross-country events and select pro cross-country tour races in the United States.