The five biggest names on the rise in cycling from Southern California cycling
With its abundance of flat, open highways, rolling hills and rugged off-road terrain, Southern California is a cyclist’s dream landscape. The all-purpose terrain, coupled with long periods of excellent cycling weather, has produced some of the top riders in the sport in almost all cycling categories.
The USA Cycling national rankings include a number of riders based out of Southern California who have claimed the top spots in the road, mountain and track categories. Below are five of the biggest names in the sport that reside and train in Southern California.
Stephen Leece (nicknamed “Cannon”) hails from San Luis Obispo and is a member of the California Giant/Specialized racing team. He’s been road racing for more than four years and placed first in the 2011 UCLA Road Race and the 2011 Patterson Pass Road Race. In 2012, Leece has posted back-to-back third-place finishes in the Cal Poly Classic Criterium (for the University of California-Santa Barbara) and the Copperopolis Road Race (for the California Giant/Specialized team).
A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 28-year-old Stefano Barberi now resides in Oak Park, California and rides for the CashCall Mortgage team. He began riding professionally in 2005 for the TIAA-CREF team and later joined Toyota-United in 2006. He was the 2004 Florida State Criterium champion and won the Stazio Criterium in 2007. So far in the 2012 season, Barberi took first place in the Tour de Murrieta Criterium with a time of 01:16:18.
Justin Williams, 23, hails from Los Angeles and was the 2008 U-23 Criterium national champion. A rider with the CashCall Mortgage team, Williams began racing with the Major Motion Development Team as a junior rider. In the 2012 racing season, Williams took first place in the USA Cycling SoCal Cup Criterium series and second place in the Dana Point Grand Prix Criterium. Williams has gained a reputation in the sport as one of the fastest sprinters in the United States.
At only 18, Casey Williams is fast establishing himself as one of the rising stars of cross-country biking. A native of Big Bear City, California, Williams posted several impressive wins in the 2011 season including taking first place in the 24-Hour Mountain Bike Nationals, the Sycamore U.S. Cup, the U.S. Cub/Big Bear and the U.S. Cup Series.
A rider with the CashCall Mortgage team, David Santos has remained close to the Southern California area. Born in La Mesa 28 years ago, Santos now resides in El Cajon. In May of 2012, Santos took first place in the time trials of the SCNCA Elite, Masters and Juniors ITT Championship with a time of 0:46:45.68. Santos led the CashCall team to a first place finish in the 2011 San Clemente Criterium, one of 63 podium finishes for the team that year.