(Austin, Texas) – Team Hotel San José heads into the 2010 season with a solid roster of riders and some promising newcomers who are ready to build on the success the team enjoyed in 2009.
The Austin, Texas-based professional team will field a multi-national roster of seven professional/elite riders to go along with five others who are part of the Team Hotel San José Under 23 Junior Development Program.
Headlining the pro squad is 2009 Athens Twilight Criterium winner Heath Blackgrove. The 29-year-old is coming off one of his best seasons, with victories at the Tour of Southland in his native country of New Zealand, the Mississippi Grand Prix, Texas Tough Grand Prix II and the Tour of Lawrence.
Team Hotel San José Executive Director Todd Reed said he will lean on Blackgrove, a ninth-year professional, to be a leader in a number of ways.
“We have built a developmental team around Heath and he will play a pivotal role when they are on the road,” Reed said. “Not only does he have the most experience, but he is also a terrific mentor for our younger riders and even the Team Hotel San José club members.”
Blackgrove said Team Hotel San José should be competitive in nearly every type of race. The squad has added strength for breakaways and hilly races, and boosted its speed for sprints and criteriums.
“While the extra strength will give us more options, I am very excited to work with the sprinters we have on board and setting them up for the bunch finishes,” Blackgrove said. “I really think we’re going to surprise a lot of people this year and look forward to helping develop Team Hotel San José.”
One of the speedsters on the team is Carlos Vargas. The 27-year-old Columbian is the 2009 Texas state criterium champion who won two stages of the Mississippi Grand Prix on the way to finishing third overall. He is also a perennial podium placer at the International Cycling Classic (Superweek) series. Helping him in the lead-outs will be Australian strongman Sean Sullivan, 31, who won a stage of the Tour of Austin last year
Team Hotel San José has also bolstered its already talented line-up with the addition of several promising newcomers, including New Zealander Logan Hutchings, Cody Foster (a 19-year-old who was fourth in the junior men’s time trial at the 2009 USA Cycling championships), American Alex Battle-Woods and current Under 23 U.S. national team member Travis Burandt. Hutchings, 25, is new to the U.S. racing scene. He won two stages last year at the Tour of Southland and captured the Under 23 New Zealand national road and time trial titles in 2005.
Other notables on the roster include Joshua Carter (multi-stage winner at the International Cycling Classic), Ronnie Strange (2009 Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred criterium winner) and Stefan Rothe (Texas State Time Trial Champion 2009) of Germany.
In 2009, Team Hotel San José won 50 races and registered 95 podium (top three) placings, including victories at the Athens Twilight Criterium, the Texas Tough Grand Prix II, the Tour of Lawrence, the Mississippi Grand Prix, the Texas and Colorado state criterium championships and a sweep of the podium at the Tour of Austin.
Team Owner and Manager Barry Lee said the long-term vision for the team is to apply for continental license status in 2011. In the short-term, the development of juniors and Under 23 racers is a priority and has always been the program’s focus.
“This team is a complete package of what cycling can deliver on a number of levels: from grass roots events, to camps and clinics, to club and amateur developmental programs all the way up to the elite pro level,” Lee said. “We like being the underdog team at the larger races – because our guys thrive on winning and being the long-shots.”
The team’s management company, Redbud Sports, LLC, has a solid reputation in sporting events and operations. Redbud Sports manages the Team Hotel San José Cycling and Multi-Sport Club programs, the latter of which boasts more than 120 members. Redbud Sports also puts on Pace Bend Road Race, the largest annual road race in the State of Texas.
“We want to make a difference,” Lee said. “We have a large club, a large team, and high expectations of them both. They are required to volunteer and work at our events and in the community through camps and clinics, etc.”
Alex Battle-Woods* (USA), Zach Bergh* (USA), Heath Blackgrove (NZL), Travis Burandt* (USA), Josh Carter (USA), Cody Foster* (USA), Logan Hutchings (NZL), Stefan Rothe (GER), Ronnie Strange, Sean Sullivan (AUS), (USA), Joseph Tokarski* (USA), Carlos Vargas (COL).
*Under 23 Junior Development team member.