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An all-star squad: A letter from the Editor in Chief

Velo editor in chief Neal RogersSpencer Powlison

Photo: John M. Flora | JM Flora Photography
Photo: John M. Flora | JM Flora Photography

Logan VonBokel

Photo: Ian Hylands
Photo: Ian Hylands

Dear Velo magazine and VeloNews.com readers,

It’s been a while since I reached out to you all with a personal note — just over two years, to be exact.

At that time, Velo magazine and VeloNews.com had gone through significant transition, and I felt it important to address some of the personnel changes that had taken place.

As I wrote in May 2012, those challenges forced us, as a team, to look within, and to focus on how to produce the best editorial product for you, our readers.

A lot has happened within the sport since then — most profoundly, the USADA report, the disgrace of an American cycling icon, the election of a new UCI president, and a deeper understanding of what pro cycling has been through over the past 20 years.

There have also been several inspiring moments over the past two years when American cycling has taken center stage.

For the first time, the U.S. hosted a world cyclocross championship. Taylor Phinney wore the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia, while Mara Abbott and Joe Dombrowski both won the overall at their respective Giri d’Italia. Tejay van Garderen finished as the best young rider at the Tour de France, and Chris Horner wasn’t just the “best old rider” at the Vuelta a España, he was the best rider, period. Katie Compton won the cyclocross World Cup overall, twice, while Lauren Hall became a classic winner at the women’s Ghent-Wevelgem. Most recently, Andrew Talansky won the Critérium du Dauphiné, ahead of a pair of active Tour de France champions, confirming that he is a future grand tour star.

I suppose you could call the past two years a period of significant transition for American cycling. VeloNews has covered it, every step of the way, and like the sport, our brand has continued to evolve.

Over two years since my last note — and one week before the most important race on the calendar — I’m happy to report that we’re headed into the Tour de France with an all-star squad, an editorial team that includes some recent acquisitions.

But it hasn’t come without more personnel change. Our former VeloNews.com Editor, Brian Holcombe, stepped down in May to take a PR and marketing position with Backbone Media, in the mountain town of Carbondale, Colorado.

I was sorry to see Brian go; he was my right-hand man, and the person most responsible for the day-to-day content you’ve enjoyed at VeloNews.com over the past two years. But he’s also a friend for life, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. We wish him all the best.

After a few months spent interviewing several qualified candidates for the VeloNews.com editor position, it became clear that, in Spencer Powlison, a longtime contributor based in our hometown of Boulder, Colorado, we already had the best person for the job.

When it comes to bike racing, Spencer is a jack-of-all-trades. He loves pinning on a number, whether it’s in a local criterium, a mountain bike enduro, a cyclocross national championship, or a gran fondo. Name any cycling discipline, and more likely than not, Spencer has ridden or raced it. (I even saw him ride down the staircase descent at Horsethief Bench, in Fruita, Colorado, which I captured on video.

Spencer has been lucky enough to work in the bike industry for the majority of his adult life, from his time turning wrenches in a Vermont bike shop to his five-year tenure at the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

Most recently, Spencer worked as marketing coordinator for the Brewers Association while moonlighting as a part-time tech reporter. His wife, Kate, works at PeopleForBikes, and rode the entirety of the Tour de France in 2012 as part of the Reve Tour. (If you’re not sure if you’ve read anything by Spencer, read this piece about their first date.)

I look forward to working closely with Spencer to maintain the editorial quality and standards you’ve come to expect from VeloNews.com.

I’m also very happy to announce that we’ve brought on Tech Reporter Logan VonBokel, as a full-time employee.

Coming from a background in elite road and cyclocross racing, Logan joined the VeloNews team in 2012, first as an intern, while he finished out his degree at Colorado State University, and then as a part-time contributor.

Like Spencer, Logan has a keen interest in all things cycling, from road to cyclocross to mountain bike. Back in January, Logan won the industry race at the national cyclocross championship; in March, he went on a ride with Eddy Merckx during the spring classics; more recently, he totaled a carbon frame in a pileup at Tulsa Tough, in the Cat. 1-2 race — a moment that was captured, and went viral across social media.

At the Amgen Tour of California, Logan had two big scoops in two days, first about the Bissell development team racing on SRAM’s new electronic group, and then about Giant-Shimano using on-board cameras during the race.

Whether he’s on the bike or holed up in the VeloNews tech room, Logan can talk for hours about the latest in technical innovations, usually while checking his Twitter feed for race updates, or posting something silly on Instagram about bikes, beer, or dogs.

As a former intern myself, seeing Logan rise through the ranks, from intern to full-time employee, is one of my proudest achievements in my time as the leader of the VeloNews editorial team.

I’m also very proud to announce that, in March, Matthew Beaudin was promoted to the title of Senior Writer.

Matthew, who started with us as a Staff Reporter in May 2012, recently covered the Giro d’Italia, and is about to head to his third consecutive Tour de France.

At the Grand Départ in Leeds, Matthew will join Tech Editor Caley Fretz and European Correspondent Andrew Hood, who continues to crank out the copy from all the major European races.

What else? Velo Managing Editor Chris Case recently returned from a honeymoon spent riding many of the iconic climbs of Switzerland and Italy. Our part-time web editor, Jason Devaney, is set to get married, in Virginia in early July, and Caley is also getting married, in Colorado, in August. Our team is growing, and we have a lot to celebrate.

And of course we are still proud to work with a talented pool of freelance contributors, such as Lennard Zinn, Ryan Newill, Gregor Brown, Dan Wuori, and most recently, Steve Maxwell, who runs the site The Outer Line, which provides a roadmap to repair pro cycling.

Along with longtime photographer Casey B. Gibson, and Jim Fryer and Iri Greco from Brakethrough Media, this year we’ve added Belgian ace Tim de Waele to our stable of contributors; I hope you’ve enjoyed all the great photos they’ve delivered this year.

As for me, by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be deep into singletrack bliss at the seven-day BC Bike Race, and then headed over to France for a week at Le Tour.

I think the fact that I felt comfortable stepping away from the desk in the days heading into the Tour, and again in the middle of the race, demonstrates how much faith I have in our editorial team. It really is an all-star squad.

On top of our daily web coverage, and our monthly magazines, already in 2014 we’ve put together official guides to the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France; in July, in addition to our full web and print coverage of the Tour, we’ll be putting together the official USA Pro Challenge Guide, for a fourth consecutive year.

Later this year we’ll be putting together the official guide for the 2015 UCI world road championships, to be held in Richmond, Virginia.

Once again, American cycling will take center stage, and once again VeloNews will be in the middle of it all, bringing the best stories the sport has to offer back to you, our audience.

As I wrote two years ago, this editorial team has always been, and will continue to be, authentic, authoritative, and accessible.

Velo and VeloNews.com continue to be produced by cyclists, for cyclists. Our editorial and sales teams are proud to understand and embrace the sport of bicycle racing.

And we are, as we always have been and always will be, focused on quality over quantity.

Thanks for joining the ride. I hope you enjoy the Tour, and I hope you continue to enjoy our coverage of the sport we love.

If you have feedback or constructive criticism, I welcome your input. Please shoot me an email, or reach out to me on Twitter. I can’t always reply, but I read every message.

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