And we are back. The presents have been unwrapped, the turkey roasted and eaten, the eggs nogged, the champagne fizzed, the new year welcomed, resolutions already forgotten and it’s time to get back to work. What better way to start a new that with some news.
Australian Baden Cooke who originally was announced with Rock Racing has now joined the new Dutch Pro Continental team Vacansoleil. That makes it three riders to jump ship, with Ivan Dominguez and William Walker who joined the Pro Tour Fuji-Servetto team after being originally announced on the RR team. The troubles continue for Rock Racing as Cooke is considering suing owner Michael Ball for the promised money from his contract worth “many hundreds of thousands of dollars”. Cooke told an Australian paper that Ball informed him that the team had no sponsor and his two-year contract could only be guaranteed for only six months. Rumors have been swirling that contracts have been cut in half, that no bike sponsor has been lined up and that most of his staff has moved on, including touted DS Rudy Pevenage. Or were they let go given the money problems with the team? Will the team survive?
But that didn’t stop the team from sending a 5-man team to the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in Australia. The roster includes U23 US Crit Champion Justin Williams, Nic Sanderson, Aaron Kemps, Caleb Manion and US Crit Champion Rahsaan Bahati. Other riders that are racing down under include Trent Wilson, Rory Sutherland, Jonny Clarke, Matt Wilson and Cody Stevenson all riding for different composite teams. Also, Henk Vogels is moving to behind the wheel as he started his DS duties for the Virgin Blue team on the 5-day criterium series that started today.
Another race, the grueling 14-day Vuelta Ciclista a Costa Rica ended on December 28, with Costa Rican Gregory Brenes (BCR – Pizza Hut) winning the overall classification of the 44td edition of the race. The 20-year old claimed the top step with consistency by finishing in the top 5 for five of the stages and in a surprise for this climber, he won the 30 km individual time trial on the penultimate stage. Brenes – remember that name.
Tour de Quebec organiser sent a Canadian composite team made up of Pascal Bussières, Charles Thibault, Julien Fillion, Vincent Veilleux, David McLean, Logan Loader and Phil Cortes to the race. Cortes who rides for the Amore & Vita team won his first professional race in style by a solo chase of about 30 km to catch up with a 3-man breakaway and stayed away from the chasing peloton to win th 182 km stage 6 from Santo-Dominguo to Guapiles. It was a tough race for the somewhat green team and only Veilleux out of the 8-man team finished the race in the second to last position. (photo courtesy of vueltacostarica.com)
Speaking of Tour de Quebec, the organizer has started talks with the USA Crits folks to see if a prologue tentatively scheduled for July 8 could join the series. Nothing is set yet but talks are in progress.
Changes on the management side of Team Type 1. Vassili Davidenko who was the assistant DS last year is moving up to become the Directeur Sportif of the team and Canadian Gord Fraser is joining the team as the assistant DS. Davidenko raced professionally for 14 years before moving behind the wheel learning the ropes from Beamon with the Navigators squad. Fraser raced professionally for 13 seasons and retired in 2006 and then tried his hand as guest directeur sportif with the Health Net-Maxxis squad at the Tour of Missouri. No information as to where Beamon is going to for the 2009 season. Tom Schuler stays on as General Manager.
Slipstream has just launched The Argyle Club. Where for a fee, members enoy privileges and benefits such as an 2009 team kit and casual merchandise, discounts to sponsors’ merchandise, access to exclusive team events and race day “insider info” from Jonathan Vaughters. Available for an introductory price of $995 for the first 100 members. According to the team, 100% of the membership goes to support the team, including the testing program which alone is an annual cost of over half a million dollars.
One of the best amateur teams in the United States, the California Giant/Specialized team is expanding in 2009 by also launching a U23 development squad. The three new riders to the elite squad are Jared Barrilleaux from Jittery Joes, Justin England from Toyota-United, and Adam Switters from Rock Racing. Returning riders are 2008 Elite Road National Champion James Mattis, Patrick Briggs, Tyler Dibble, John Hunt, Keith Miller, Jesse Moore, Ozzie Olmos, Steve Reaney, Mark Santurbane, Mike Telega, two-time Olympian Dirk Copeland and top U.S triathlete Chris Lieto. The U23 development squad includes Nick Agate, Julian Martinez, Chance Noble and Reid Pletcher.
On the women’s side, Touchstone Cycling is also expanding its roster and has picked up new sponsors. Riders joining the team for the 2009 season are Sarah Bamberger after three years racing for Cheerwine and Beverley Harper, who spent the last two years racing for Webcor, Kristina Seley, Carol Irving, and a Canadian duo of Cara Gillis and Megan Rathwell. Returning to team are Kelly McDonald who was 6th in the Mogollon Road Race at Tour of the Gila and 9th overall at Cascades, 2008 Irish National Time Trial Champion Olivia Dillon, Holly Borowski, Jill McLaughlin, Maria Monica, Pat Ross and Janeen Thorpe. Touchstone is also continuing their support of the National Ataxia Foundation and Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP). In 2008, team contributions from race winnings and personal donations totaled over $3,500 for the National Ataxia Foundation, and the Touchstone women raised over $3,000 for BORP’s cycling program, which supports athletes with physical disabilities.
The BMC team is ramping up its training, getting ready for the first big race of the season, the Amgen Tour of California. Living in Utah, Jeff Louder sometimes with his buddy Burke Swindlehurst of the Bissell team supplemented his training with snow-shoeing and skate-skiing while Scott Nydam has stayed mostly in Northern California set up with a “rain bike” that has fenders.
The jersey for the OUCH Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis can be viewed on the new team site. While still an illustration, it gives a good idea of the final product. Not bad. And the team has also joined the facebook and twitter world.
The team is also going to convene for a training camp in January to get ready for the Amgen Tour of California.
Lastly, congratulations to Bissell manager Glen Mitchell and his wife on the birth of their daughter. Best wishes to all.
that’s it for now while I catch up on all the news.