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North American briefs: Webcor readies for ’05; Health Net and Ofoto-Sierra rosters; Navigators and Discovery to Langkawi

The Bay-area based Webcor Builders Cycling Team has announced that September’s T-Mobile International winner Charles Dionne will remain with the team in 2005. The team also announced Monday that it will switch from LeMond to Specialized bicycles and equipment, and it has added the strength of American David Clinger to its roster. Webcor will race S Works Tarmac road and Transition TT bicycles as well as a wide array of accessories from Specialized. “The Webcor Builders cycling team is extremely excited and proud to work with Specialized,” said Andy Ball, CEO of Webcor Builders. “Our

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By Neal Rogers

The Bay-area based Webcor Builders Cycling Team has announced that September’s T-Mobile International winner Charles Dionne will remain with the team in 2005. The team also announced Monday that it will switch from LeMond to Specialized bicycles and equipment, and it has added the strength of American David Clinger to its roster.

Webcor will race S Works Tarmac road and Transition TT bicycles as well as a wide array of accessories from Specialized. “The Webcor Builders cycling team is extremely excited and proud to work with Specialized,” said Andy Ball, CEO of Webcor Builders. “Our companies share a commitment to quality, and a passion for cycling. This promises to be a strong and successful partnership in this sport, and we look forward to the 2005 season with great anticipation.”

Mike Sinyard, founder and president of Specialized, was equally enthused.

“Specialized strives to work with the best teams, riders, and partners,” he said. “When we looked at racing in the States, Webcor topped the list. The fact that we’re both based in the Bay Area will allow us to closely collaborate on a number of R&D projects, which is an added plus.”

After a successful 2004 season, Webcor will return in 2005 led by returning star Dionne, twice winner of the T-Mobile International (also known as the San Francisco Grand Prix) and the new addition of Clinger, who is anxious to race domestically after racing with the Domina Vacanze squad of Italian star Mario Cipollini in 2004.

“I raced on Specialized [with Domina Vacanze] in 2004,” Clinger said. “I’m really happy to have the opportunity to stay ‘in the family.’ Being healthy again and racing at home as a leader has me super-motivated.”

Health Net-Maxxis 2005 roster
Meanwhile Webcor’s rival domestic squad in 2004, Health Net-Maxxis, announced its full 2005 roster Monday, and while the majority of the team will return, there were a few surprises. Joining the team is 23-year-old cross-country and cyclo-cross sensation Adam Craig, who in 2004 rode for Giant, Health Net’s bicycle sponsor, as part of the Giant-Pearl Izumi mountain-bike team. Craig will ride primarily for the Giant mountain-bike team in 2005, doubling in a limited capacity with Health Net on the road.

Also new to the team is Webcor’s revelation rider of 2004, Justin England, winner of the Mount Washington Hillclimb. England, a former cross-country runner with limited cycling experience, was often Webcor’s last man to stick with team leader Chris Horner in the mountains.

Joining the team in 2005 is Oregonian Doug Ollerenshaw, from Jelly Belly; track and road racer James Hibbard; and Cuban sprinter Ivan Dominguez. The addition of Dominguez — along with returning fast finishers Gord Fraser, Tyler Farrar and Greg Henderson — should make Health Net the most-feared team on the domestic criterium circuit.

Returning to the team are veterans John Lieswyn, Mike Sayers, Scott Moninger and Chris Wherry, as well as rising talents Mike Jones and Jason Lokkesmoe.

Health Net-Maxxis 2005 Roster
Adam Craig (USA; road and mountain)
Ivan Dominguez (Cuba)
Justin England (USA)
Tyler Farrar (USA; road and track)
Gord Fraser (CAN)
Walker Ferguson (USA; road and mountain)
Greg Henderson (NZL; road and track)
James Hibbard (USA; road and track)
Mike Jones (USA)
John Lieswyn (USA)
Jason Lokkesmoe (USA)
Scott Moninger (USA)
Doug Ollerenshaw (USA)
Mike Sayers (USA)
Chris Wherry (USA)2005 Race Support Staff
Team Director: Jeff Corbett
Team Mechanic: Chad Grochowina
Team Mechanic: Nick Legan
Team Soigneur: John Sessa
Team Trainer: Dr. Michael San Jose

Navigators, Discovery to Langkawi
While Health Net will not be returning to Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi in February — where Fraser won the sprinter’s jersey in 2004 — two American teams, Navigators Insurance and the Discovery Channel squad of Tour de France champion lance Armstrong, will attend the 10-stage event.

Navigators team director Ed Beamon confirmed his team’s invitation, with a tentative roster of Nathan O’Neill, Hilton Clarke, Vassili Davidenko, Cesar Grajales, Jeff Louder, Marc Walters and Oleg Grishkine.

The Discovery Channel team will debut in January at the Tour de Langkawi and the Tour of Qatar. According to the team’s Web site thepaceline.com, the sole American ProTour team will arrive in Malaysia with 2003 overall Tour de Langkawi winner Tom Danielson, as well as Jose Azevedo, Mike Creed, Antonio Cruz, Patrick McCarty, Kiwi Hayden Ralston and the team’s Japanese signing, Fumy Beppu.

As for the Tour of Qatar, team sports manager Johan Bruyneel confirmed the start list for the Discovery Channel team at the event as Stijn Devolder, Roger Hammond, Ryder Hesjedal, Leif Hoste, Benoit Joachim, Jason McCartney, Gennady Mikhaylov and Max van Heeswijk.

Ofoto and Sierra Nevada ride together in 2005
Principal Sports Management Group announced Tuesday the formation of the Ofoto-Sierra Nevada Professional Cycling Team, combining the resources of existing programs from 2004

The eleven-rider Ofoto-Sierra Nevada squad includes four riders and one manager from the Sierra Nevada and Ofoto 2004 teams, along with three newcomers. The returning Ofoto team members are Jackson Stewart, 2003 Canadian national champion Dominique Perras, Tim Larkin, Scott Zwizanski, and Ofoto-Sierra Nevada racing manager Robin Zellner.

Returning from the Sierra Nevada team are 2004 Nature Valley GP overall winner Ben Jacques-Maynes, 1996 and 2000 New Zealander Olympian Glen Mitchell, Russell Hamby, John Hygelund, and Ofoto-Sierra Nevada operations manager Kurt Stockton.

The three new riders are 2004 New Zealander Olympian Hayden Godfrey (ex-Health Net-Maxxis), neo-pro Ian Dille (ex-Snow Valley), and the controversial Matt DeCanio (ex-Prime Alliance), who returns to pro cycling after a one-year hiatus that involved his naming suspected domestic-peloton dopers on his personal Web site.

Regarding the new team members, Stockton said, “Hayden, Ian, and Matt are talented riders who will add a good deal of experience to the team and we are absolutely confident that their personalities will be a good fit for our program.”

The young Ofoto-Sierra Nevada team – with only Mitchell, Perras, and Larkin over the age of 30 – will bring a balanced attack in support of stage race leaders Perras and Jacques-Maynes, sprinters Godfrey and Stewart, and all-arounders Hamby and DeCanio. Mitchell and Larkin will serve as the team’s co-captains.

Describing the rider selection process, Zellner said, “Kurt and I weighed all our personnel decisions carefully and based them on what we know about the guys we’ve worked with in the past and the good things we heard about the new guys from people we trust.”

The Ofoto-Sierra Nevada Professional Cycling Team is licensed as a UCI Continental Team and will be operated by Zellner and Stockton, co-owners of the newly formed Principal Sports Management Group LLC.

2005 Ofoto-Sierra Nevada Roster
Matt Decanio
Ian Dille
Hayden Godfrey
Russell Hamby
John Hygelund
Ben Jacques-Maynes
Tim Larkin
Glen Mitchell
Dominique Perras
Jackson Stewart
Scott Zwizanski

Staff
Kurt Stockton, Operations Manager
Robin Zellner, Racing Manager
Josh Kadis, Marketing and Media Relations
Keri Nelson, Head Soigneur

RAAM hits the airwaves
The Insight Race Across America has announced a two-hour NBC Sports airing of the 2004 edition on Saturday, January 22, 2005, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. EST.

The NBC broadcast adds to a host of feature-length shows focusing on the event internationally. As it approaches its quarter-century milestone, RAAM is gradually becoming an international tradition. A key observer of RAAM’s development is Jim Lampley, who hosted ABC’s Wide World of Sports telecasts of the first five RAAM editions and who is one of the executive producers of the upcoming telecast. Lampley’s company, Crystal Spring Productions, was hard at work on RAAM even as he worked his twelfth Olympics as a broadcaster for NBC in Athens.

“Anyone who knows me well knows about my love affair with RAAM,” Lampley said. “When we first arrived in Santa Monica in 1981 to meet John Marino and the three other men who would start out with him, we had no idea what we were about to see and I’m not sure they did either. But from the wee hours of that first night, chasing Lon Haldeman into Death Valley, I’ve always felt this is the ultimate American trip. Now we have a great opportunity to share it with millions of Americans who have never really seen it, Pacific to Atlantic across the broad backs of three thousand miles of roads, from the inside out, the way we see it on RAAM.”

The 2005 Insight Race Across America starts in San Diego on June 19th and ends in Atlantic City on June 28th. The planned 3,000 mile route passes through California, Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illiniois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, and includes about 150,000 feet of climbing. Up to 150 cyclists from 15 nations are expected to participate in the 2005 edition.

For more information, visit For more information, visit www.raceacrossamerica.org