Two young Americans punch Euro-tickets with La Pomme

Bush, Berry land full-time European jobs with storied French development squad

LEON, Spain (VN) — Two promising American talents have landed rides at one of Europe’s most storied development teams for 2013.

Officials from La Pomme Marseille-Bonitas, spawning ground for scores of contemporary pros, confirmed that Robert Bush and Joshua Berry will join the France-based Continental squad for next year.

Both riders come across from the Chipotle-First Solar development team, which is likely shuttering, and bring some impressive results to the table.

Bush, 22, is the reigning U23 national champion and won the U23 national criterium title in 2011 while Berry, also 22, was third in the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season, when compatriot Ian Boswell, now at Sky, finished second.

The team’s website confirmed their respective arrivals, posting a message: “The two new recruits, perhaps not well-known to the public, are certainly not novices in the field … the competition better watch out!”

The two Americans complete a 14-rider lineup for the French Continental team that includes eight other new arrivals, including Julien Antomarchi (Team Type 1), Justin Jules (Veranda Rideaux), Christopher Jennings (Rapha Condor), Jose Gonvalves (Onda Boavista) and Jason Bakke (Team Bonitas) and amateurs Antoine Lavieu (AVC Aix), Yoann Paillot (Top16) and Thomas Rostollan.

The team dates back to the mid-1970s when it created an amateur program from its base in Marseille. In 2011, the club created the Continental team and competes on the European Tour calendar, with a heavy emphasis on French races and one-day races across Benelux.

Dozens of contemporary pro riders have come through the team, including the likes of Nicholas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff), Fumiuki Beppu and Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Ramunas Navardauskas and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Fabio Duarte (Colombia-Coldeportes), who won his U23 world title in 2008 while riding with the team, and Ignatas Konovalovas (Movistar).

Notable French alumni include Julien El Fares and Remi Pauriol (Saur-Sojasun), Maxime Bouet and Hubert Dupont (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Alexandre Geniez (FDJ).