Well known as a time trialing and stage racing squad, the BISSELL Pro Cycling team added speed to their roster this year.
“Obviously we’ve been very competitive in the past years and we’ve been known as a time-trialing and tour team, we’ve always performed beyond what our expectations were in some of the tours and we’re a force to reckon with at every race we enter, especially in the multi-day events.” said Team Manager Glen Mitchell. “We’ve always wanted to bring a little bit more speed, to be competitive in the criteriums and just having a more rounded team.”
The team brought in Kyle Wamsley and Daniel Holloway to add more finishing speeds to build on the existing fast guys on the team. Mitchell continued, “I’m super excited to have the likes of Frank Pipp, Andy Jacques-Maynes and Peter Latham, they have huge engines and they can definitely ramp up the speed, and to have Kyle and Daniel behind those three guys, any combination of those guys I think we’re going to be right up there with every other team going for the win.”
Mitchell’s focus is still simply to win races. “The overall plan for the year is the same as last year, we just want to go to races and we want to win them. Now we definitely feel that we can enter every race and we have the ability to win it, we just have to work out the game plan on how to do that depending on the other teams that are there and what the courses. I still think that we have a strong tour team now we should be able to back up our time trial stages and road stages with good results in criteriums as well.”
One goal not on the list are the start of the year is the NRC title. “There are so many factors involved in racing for a series win, if you get an invite to go out of the country and you miss a couple of races automatically you’re losing points. If you’re sending riders to some races and not others you can lose points. If you’re going for the individual and that rider gets injured or gets sick for one of the main races then they don’t get points and that’s your whole season gone. “ explained Mitchell. “It’s definitely in the back of our minds but it’s not our focus for the year. Our focus is hopefully get to the end of the year and say yes we won this amount of races, we had this amount of riders on the podium.”
So does that mean that we’lll see a BISSELL leadout train battling at the front “I hope so, I definitely hope so.” smiled Mitchell.
“We’ve tried it in the past, the part especially when we come to the criteriums in the tours have been hard, we’ve always been racing for GC so it’s always taken a lot of fire power out of the lead out, we’d been doing a lot of work in the stages.” said Mitchell who is ready to try it again.
“I don’t know with some of the guys around, Dan, Kyle, Cody, I might be one of the guys getting whipped on my backside.” laughed Frank Pipp about his position in the train. “Being one of the team captains or leaders, I can play whatever role they need me to but realistically looking at the speed we have, I’ll probably be more of a leadout guy but if there’s an opportunity for me, I’ll take it.”
The 2007 Elite Crit Champion Holloway is ready for the train. “I think I’m at the back of it or in the middle of it and I’m happy to do it all, I think we maybe a little bit under-rated in that department and I think we’ll surprise people.”
Northern California resident Holloway was enjoying a somewhat slower start to his season and could relax at training camp as he knew most of the riders, having trained or raced with them in the past. “Now it’s getting to know everybody on a more personal level rather than just knowing their names and how they are as a bike rider. It’s pretty easy, it’s comfortable, a lot less stress, it’s good.”
The 22-year old Holloway has been building for Track World Championships and then his first major goal of the road season, the Tour of California. “To make that roster and ride really well there. That’s what I’ve talked to my coach about and talked to the team and that’s my preparatory focus right now in May. From them we’ll go.”
Another engine powering the train will be returning rider Cody O’Reilly, who like Holloway and Peter Latham has been having success on the track. Both O’Reilly and Holloway were waiting to hear if they were racing at the Track Worlds in March.
For 22-year old O’Reilly, the track “definitely helps my power that’s for sure, being able to spin, I can do that 5-minute super high effort kind of stuff. Most of the time I have to make sure that I do enough miles so I can get over the hills whenever I need to.” O’Reilly is the reigning Omnium and Madison National Champion.
Already leaner, O’Reilly wants to improve his stage racing this year and improve his climbing abilities. “I’m already lighter than I was last season. I definitely want to try and stay lighter this year.” On his final year as a U23 rider, he is targeting the U23 National Championships and Philly and Nature Valley races.
Radio ban and captains. “I think the speeds are going to be faster, the plan for most teams is don’t miss the breakaway which is going to make it faster at the front because every team is going to try and make sure to send someone across to the break, I have a feeling speeds will go up a little bit which will make it more decisive when the break does go or the hill comes or something like that.” said Mitchell about the radio ban.
For co-captain Pipp, the responsibility has to be shared across teammates. “I think it’s probably more responsibility on everybody on BISSELL, unless we’re all together all the time, I can’t be yelling across the peloton to the other guys so everybody has to take it on their shoulders to understand. I’ll do the best job when we’re together to make the call but we won’t be getting much from the car unless we drop back for bottles to have a little chat, it will be interesting.” said Pipp who is a co-captain along with Ben Jacques-Maynes. “It could go a couple of different ways I think, there could be a lot more team sprints because teams are too nervous to let things go without really knowing time gaps because some races are good with time gaps and some races are horrendous. Or you could have races that are wide open where overall situations change every day.”
Pipp named two races that he particularly likes, Philadelphia International Championships and USPro National Championships in Greenville.
“I could do well at any race, I believe that but Philadelphia is a race that I like, it has to be pretty selective. The last few years it’s been a pretty large group at the end and I’ve been in a leadout role, so if it’s a larger group I might be doing that part for Kyle.” said Pipp. “I love Greenville, obviously it’s USPro, it’s a very hard race. Last year I did make the selection, I was in the break and I dropped like a rock the last time up and watched everybody go by me but every year is a new year with that race.”
U23 riders. This year BISSELL has added three U23 riders to the roster, David Williams, Ian Boswell and Shane Kline.
“It’s a dream come true to be honest, it’s hard to put into words sometimes, especially on a team like this, first year, really exciting for me. I really can’t wait to see that I can do this year to help the team out, get some race wins.” said 21-year old Williams about joining the BISSELL team.
Based out of Grand Rapids Michigan, the headquarters of title sponsor BISSELL, Williams is attending Marion University and will be racing collegiately this spring. His strengths are time-trialing and he hopes “to soak up as much info as I can, technique” from from his teammates Jacques-Maynes and Jeremy Vennell, “it’s definitely a year from learning.”
Another neo-pro is Boswell who raced as a junior last year with Hot Tubes Development team. The 19-year old turned heads at last year’s Nevada City Classic when he rode away from a strong field to win the junior race in the morning and then raced with Elites in the afternoon and jumped on the Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Ben Jacques-Maynes break. “Ben lapped me and hooked on with them as long as I could. It was fast, it was a huge adrenaline rush being with those guys, it was so loud, surreal at that time, I digged deeper than I normally have been able to do stick with those guys as long as I could.”
Boswell is also going to school, part-time at Butte College and will also be racing with the National Team. His goal for this year is to make the transition to Elite racing and to learn. “All of a sudden stage races are twice as long so just being able to make the transition to the upper level and learning from the guys on the team to learn the ropes of the professional circuit.” said Boswell who lists time-trialing and climbing as his strengths.
“I’m on the team for some speed and crit racing.” said 20-year old Kline who also comes from a track background and has come to the road in the past two years. Kline was recovering from knee surgery at training camp and was just getting back on the bike. “Things are shifting around a little bit but the recovery is going good so far so I’m looking forwards to having a good strong finish to the season.”
Mitchell is looking forwards to the year. “I think the racing is looking like it’s going to be good. There’s a couple new teams obviously, it’s going to be interesting to see how they shape together. I’m very happy with our core group of guys they’ve been working together for the last couple of years and we’ve been fine tuning stuff and now to bring that added speed on top of what we already had, that’s the exciting part for us.”
Returning riders are Andy Jacques-Maynes, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Peter Latham, Paul Mach, Cody O’Reilly, Frank Pipp and Jeremy Vennell. New riders to the team are Ian Boswell, Rob Britton, Daniel Holloway, Shane Kline, Kyle Wamsley and David Williams.
See all photos from training camp here