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The face of domestic bike racing continues to evolve in North America, and on Saturday, Jukebox Cycling became another team committed to bucking tradition.
The new six-rider squad includes former WorldTour pro Phil Gaimon, off-road-focused riders Adam Roberge, Alexey Vermeulen, and Dylan Johnson, cyclocross and track racer Ruby West, and 12-year-old up-and-comer Xander Graham.
Loredo Rucchin, the CEO of Jukebox, a global printing company based in Vancouver, Canada, said that the multi-discipline mashup is intentional.
“We want our athletes to all be different,” he said. “We want to empower our riders to push the envelope with what’s possible in cycling. Our athletes aren’t constrained to a single discipline, and that’s what makes them unique.”
The six riders on Jukebox hail from three countries, and bring a wide range of cycling backgrounds, experiences, and goals in the sport. Roberge, Vermeulen, and Johnson have ambitious goals in gravel and cross-country mountain biking. All three were selected for the upcoming Life Time Grand Prix series, and Roberge is also in contention for the Belgian Waffle Ride Quadrupel Crown.
Gaimon, who retired from professional cycling in 2016, has spent the last five years creating a following of nearly 110,000 on his YouTube channel and using cookies and antics on the bike to raise money for No Kid Hungry. He does not plan to return to racing.
“Jukebox is the title sponsor for me to continue riding bikes and eating cookies on the Internet for a living,” Gaimon told VeloNews.
West will be the first Jukebox rider to toe a start line in 2022.
The 22-year-old Canadian who holds three national ‘cross championship titles will be heading to Fayetteville, Arkansas later in January for the UCI Cyclocross World Championships. She also has ambitions on the track.
“It’s been a dream come true to work with such a supportive, excited staff of people at Jukebox who love cycling as much as I do, with other riders who are doing amazing things in the sport,” West said. “It’s exciting to be part of a group of people who really genuinely love cycling.”
Xander Graham is the youngest member of the squad. The 12-year-old made headlines at the Tour of Britain last year when he sprinted up a hill alongside a break during the final kilometers of stage 7 of the Tour of Britain. He then went on to take the under-14 Scottish national cyclocross championship title and hopes to become a pro someday soon.
All of the riders on the squad will be sharing their stories throughout the season, and on January 13, Roberge, Vermeulen, and Johnson and will host a gravel-specific Facebook Live webinar to discuss their schedules and training.
Vermeulen, who spent two years on LottoNL-Jumbo and has shifted his focus to cross-country mountain bike and gravel racing, said that Jukebox is a perfect fit for his current goals on the bike.
“When I left the road, part of my goal was to establish more community, and I’ve been able to do that, and now I can in a bigger way,” he said. “This isn’t like it is a team in the traditional sense of a team. It doesn’t exist like that. We all have different sponsors. We all have different events we’ll go to. But we will be at some events together, and we all get to experience cycling in the way that best fits us, which for me means blending racing with creating communities.”