Cedric Gracia, one of the most popular riders on the World Cup circuit, announced at the end of last week that he would no longer be racing for Commencal. Instead, he will start his own team, the CG Racing Brigade. Gracia has ridden for Commencal since Cannondale ended the Siemens/Cannondale DH race team after the 2005 season. His relationship with Max Commencal goes back even further, however. Commencal first sponsored a young Gracia as part of the legendary Sunn-Chippie team in the 90s.
Gracia, in a newsletter announcing the separation, did not give a reason why the sponsorship deal is ending. He said only, "I am going to make [a] private team next year…. It was the time for me to make a team to give as much back as I can to my direct sponsors." Gracia, 31, has had long-time sponsorship deals with Oakley, SixSixOne, Marzocchi and many others.
In his decade-long career, Gracia has 26 World Cup and World Championship podiums in DH and 4X. Between 2002 and 2006 he finished in the top-10 overall World Cup rankings in DH and 4X every year. Injuries the past three years, however, have limited his World Cup racing.