By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
For the first time in three years, the Navigators program will contest a European spring campaign, consisting of races in Belgium, France and Italy. Six members of the team left for Europe on Monday, and they will begin racing Thursday at the Circuit des Mines, April 26-May 1, in France. Following the Shelby and Athens criteriums, five more members of the team will fly over for the remainder of the European schedule: Cras Avernas in Belgium, May 6; Giro d’Abbruzzo in Italy, May 8-13; and GP Stad Vilvoorde in Belgium, May 13, as well as a couple of smaller races in Belgium.
Among that second wave of riders will be New Zealand’s Glen Mitchell, who signed on with Navigators last week. Mitchell, who was supposed to ride for the ill-fated Noble House team, has been bouncing between composite teams and the New Zealand national team throughout the spring. “He’s just an awesome team rider,” said Navigators’ director Ed Beamon. “He was one of the important components of Shaklee’s success last season. For me, that’s the most important quality.”