By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
The Saturn cycling team unveiled its new look, and it hopes a new attitude, earlier this week as its pre-season training camp began in California. The camp opened with a one-day photo shoot at Universal Studios on Monday, and the following day the team moved to its camp base of Buellton, California, north of Santa Barbara.
The men’s team underwent a lot of turnover over the off-season, losing Bart Bowen, Brian Walton, Antonio Cruz, Seth Pelusi, Chris Wherry and Robbie Ventura, while adding Matt DeCanio, Eric Wohlberg, Tim Johnson, Chris Fisher, Søren Petersen and last year’s late-season addition Ivan Dominguez. The holdovers are Frank and Mark McCormack, Mike Barry, Trent Klasna, Erin Hartwell and Harm Jansen. However, team director Jim Copeland hopes that the biggest change is in the team attitude.
“Expectations were very low for what they had to work with,” said Copeland, who took over the team in August last year. “The attitude had slowly been going downhill, they weren’t organized at the end of races, which was surprising for what the image of Saturn is. I just went in with the expectation that “you – now we – are Saturn, and there’s no reason not to expect a full battle all the way to the end. We just went back to bike racing 101.”
Copeland said to expect a more aggressive, more organized Saturn squad this year. “That’s the big difference between last year and this year. I’m going to be putting constant pressure on other teams right to the end.
The women’s team also had to go through the departure of director René Wenzel last year, but that didn’t prevent them from maintaining the top ranking in the U.S. and winning events such as the HP Women’s Challenge and the First Union Liberty Classic.
“This team doesn’t even need a director,” commented Gianna Roberge, Saturn’s new assistant general manager, who will serve as the women’s team director.
“They’re smart racers, they’re savvy,” Roberge said of Saturn’s core of veterans, Anna Millward and Petra Rossner in particular. “I think they did an amazing job of organizing the team and putting them in the ranks of one of the best in the world.”
The returning women are Millward, Rossner, Lyne Bessette, Suzanne Sonye and Clara Hughes. They will be joined by Kim Bruckner, Kim Davidge, Ina Teutenberg and Anke Erlank.
Look for more camp coverage in February 26 issue of VeloNews.