In the past years, Jamis/Sutter Home had some weakness in stage races with only one contender, Luis Amaran. This year, Tyler Wren has stepped up and is showing that he can also be a threat and now that team has added Tom Zirbel to their line-up. Stage racing in the US got more interesting.
Here’s the press release:
The Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team has signed time trial specialist Tom Zirbel for the 2011 season. Directeur Sportif Sebastian Alexandre made the announcement today at the 25th annual SRAM Tour of the Gila in Silver City, NM.
“Tom is recognized as one of the best time trialists in the world,” said Alexandre. “We are very excited that he will be riding in Jamis/Sutter Home colors this season.”
Zirbel, who finished second at the USPRO Time Trial Championships and fourth in the World Time Trial Championships in 2009, had been suspended for two years by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after testing positive for the steroid DHEA. Zirbel accepted the ban but continues to maintain his innocence. In March, USADA reduced his sentence by six months after Zirbel provided assistance in two separate anti-doping cases.
“We’re pleased that Tom Zirbel has joined Jamis/Sutter Home,” said Carine Joannou, President of title sponsor Jamis Bicycles. “His return to the US peloton marks an important juncture for Tom and opens up great opportunities for our team.”
“I am very excited to join the Jamis/Sutter Home squad,” said Zirbel. “I have tremendous respect for DS Sebastian Alexandre and appreciate the support that Jamis and Sutter Home have been providing to the sport for so many years.”
While Zirbel announced plans to retire following his suspension, last November, he broke the record time set by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong at the Tour de Gruene Bicycle Classic, a non-USA Cycling sanctioned event in Austin, TX. Once the ban was lifted, Zirbel teamed up with Hotel San Jose/ACME for the SRAM Tour of the Gila. “I love to race,” said Zirbel. “Over the last year, I’ve learned to separate the case from my love of the sport.”
“With Tom, our team is complete,” said Alexandre. “Tyler Wren, who’s known for his climbing skills, is racing very strong this season. NRC Champion Luis Amaran, of course, is formidable and the Borrajo brothers are our proven sprinters.”
“Now we have the talent to win any type of race,” Alexandre continued. “Which means our prospects for top GC finishes in stage races improve significantly.”
Zirbel will officially join the Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team in May. Rosters for upcoming races, including the Amgen Tour of California, will be announced shortly.