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Bissell Inc. will continue as the title sponsor of the Bissell Pro Cycling Team in 2009, the squad announced on Tuesday.
Mark Bissell, chairman and CEO of Bissell Inc., will assume ownership of the team, which will be managed and directed by Glen Mitchell. Eric Wohlberg will be sport director.
“The team has had a fantastic year and has surpassed the goals that we had in the beginning of the year,” said Mitchell. “I am very excited about becoming more involved with the team, and I look forward to the challenges ahead in building this team to the next level.
“We have a solid platform of riders from this year and have recruited some talented athletes to strengthen the squad at our targeted races for ’09.”
Returning for 2009 are time-trial powerhouses Ben Jacques-Maynes and Tom Zirbel. Jacques-Maynes was ranked third in this year’s NRC standings, while Zirbel completed his season with an impressive second-place finish at the U.S. professional time-trial championships. Other veterans include climber Burke Swindlehurst, Jeremy Vennell, Omer Kem, Joao Correia and Graham Howard.
Key additions to the 2009 roster include two-time U.S. criterium champion Kirk O’Bee (Health Net-Maxxis); New Zealand Olympian Peter Latham (Albi Velo Sport); and Andy Jacques-Maynes (California Giant), who joins brother Ben following a strong season that netted him second in the elite national road championships and third in the elite time-trial championships.
A crop of young, up-and-coming riders rounds out the 2009 lineup. Returning rider Morgan Schmitt was named best young rider at Mt. Hood. He will be joined by Sheldon Deeny (Empire Cycling), who has impressed at key domestic races in 2008; 20-year-old Cody O’Reilly (Successful Living), a promising sprinter who recently took second place in the scratch race at the U.S. track champs; champion-runner-turned-cyclist Paul Mach (DBC Race Team), who has been getting attention as a serious climber in Northern California; and an elite and versatile sprinter, Tim Farnham (NorCal Bike Sport).