Team TIAA-CREF 2005 team camp and launch, February 18, 2005
After a successful first year in the under-23 ranks, Jon Vaughters' TIAA-CREF development team is expanding its scope for 2005. Erik Hultgren was in Denver for the team's launch and training camp.
Tuesday night in Denver’s upscale Adega restaurant, Team TIAA-CREF presented its 2005 teams, capping off a solid week-long training camp for the riders. The team has built on their successes of last year, and in addition to many returning team members they have added a stellar crew of young riders to the roster. The presentation was attended by many of the team’s sponsors, including executives from TIAA-CREF, and many paying attendees, anxious to show their support of the team. The evening was hosted by everyone’s favorite cycling commentator, the inestimable Phil Liggett, who charmed the audience and the team throughout the evening.
Team TIAA-CREF is acting as an under-26 development team this year, with the 5280 Magazine Junior team acting as a feeder system into the Espoir ranks. Both teams were brought out before the attendees as honored guest Liggett and team founder & director, Jonathan Vaughters, regaled the crowd with stories and quick interviews with the riders. A multimedia presentation told the stories of three of the team’s leaders and held the attention of everyone in the room. After the presentation, the attendees made their way to the tables for an evening of fine wine and dining courtesy of Adega’s award-winning staff. As dinner wound down, the winners of silent auctions for a team issue Javelin bike and a trip to France from Velo Sport Vacations were announced.
Two years ago, Vaughters started a junior program in Colorado with the assistance of 5280 Magazine. After a year, Vaughters decided to expand the program into an espoir and junior program. Several riders graduated to the espoir team and 2004 saw multiple successes for the squad: an Under-23 National Championship; multiple other medals at the championships; riders on the world road and cyclocross championship teams; Best Young Rider at the Tour de Georgia, Cascade Classic & the Estes Park Cycling Classic. For a team in its first year, 2004 was a huge success for TIAA-CREF. The team garnered media attention in many different sectors, rewarding their sponsors.
This year, the team has expanded up to an under-26 team and has increased its size considerably. The core of the team has been kept with many strong riders coming on board. With such a deep team, the squad is looking at efforts on multiple fronts: the domestic U.S. scene and taking on the European peloton in their own backyard. The team’s program hopes to include domestic marquee events like Redlands, Wachovia Pro Championships, and the San Francisco Grand Prix. In Europe, the team is aiming at the Under-26 Giro d’Italia, the Tour de l’Avenir, and many other events.
The differences from last year are clear to see. In 2004, the team was unknown, unproven, and didn’t know where they would fit into the peloton. During their stellar year, they proved they deserved their place and carried that experience into 2005. The team is filled with confidence, and seems to have formed a very strong unit. Riders, new and old, have integrated well. Watching them joke around and harass each other shows a team that is determined to stand together and take on all comers this year.
Speaking to some of the sponsors, there was a common theme as to why they were involved with the team. Rich Hincapie (of team clothing sponsor Hincapie Sports) emphasized how important it is to him to support juniors on many different levels. Whether he is helping local riders or equipping Vaughters’ squad with top-quality clothing, Hincapie believes in giving back to the sport and helping to grow the next generations. Steve Blick (of Oakley) talked about how important it is for Oakley to develop relationships with their riders and how they look at their sponsored athletes as part of their family. “Oakley is keeping an eye out for the next generation, not just the established riders” said Blick, and clearly believes “we may be looking at some of the next great talents in international cycling”. Many of the other sponsors all seem to be taking the same grass-roots long-term view of the team and program, ensuring a solid level of support for the riders through their development.
The team spent the last 10 days in Boulder, getting to know each other and getting quality miles in. Many riders came from out of town and had to contend with the altitude adjustment out on their rides. Rides were varied and the groups split based on season objectives and fitness levels. Several rides involved Vaughters’ motor pacing the team until they couldn’t handle the pace, seeing who would be the last to crack including a nearly 7 hour day riding in the mountains around Boulder.
On Friday, the team had their group photo shoot, followed by many riders being tested for their VO2 max and lactate threshold levels at Dr. Allan Lim’s performance lab in Boulder. Vaughters coaches many of the team’s riders and uses this data to tweak their training plans.
Sunday was a team ride with team sponsors and supporters. Several TIAA-CREF employees and local supporters came out to ride with the team, braving the 50+ mph wind gusts. The team rode along chatting and thanking guests for their support.
The camp wasn’t without drama though. 2004 Olympic squad member Colby Pearce had an altercation with an aggressive motorist which ended with Pearce stranded on the road with a shattered bike (but without injury to himself). The last day brought a surprise snowfall which amused young Stefano Barberi, who had never seen snow (being from Brazil).
Several riders showed themselves well during camp. Nathan Mitchell surprised many climbing strongly, showing he had put in the winter miles. Hans Arnesen (who won the 2004 Little 500 race at Indiana University earning him a spot at camp) stormed up the biggest hills he’d ever seen. Will Frischkorn showed up at camp leaner and stronger than when he won the season ending Colorado Cyclist Classic NRC event last year.
There’s a palpable excitement around this team. Vaughters is not alone in his enthusiasm for the coming season. He has set lofty goals for the team. “Being truly competitive at the Tour de Georgia, winning the Best Young Rider at Georgia and Under-23 Nationals again, and finishing 4 or 5 riders at the Under-26 Giro d’Italia” would make the season a real success says Vaughters.
With such a deep roster and the ability to have many leaders in any situation, they are poised to shake things up. Expect to see Team TIAA-CREF rack up some big results, whether here in the U.S. or across the pond in Europe. Best of luck boys!
Team TIAA-CREF Roster
Official Team Site: www.tiaacrefcycling.com
Timothy Duggan & Ian MacGregor: www.justgoharder.com
Will Frischkorn: www.willfrischkorn.com
Stu Gillespie: stugillespie.org
Jonathan Vaughter's Web Site: www.jonathanvaughters.net
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Beth Seliga/www.3catsphoto.com
- Liggett was the consummate host , entertaining the crowd and spinning stories.
- Host Phil Liggett interviews team rider Craig Lewis. Lewis has recovered from his near-fatal crash in the Tour de Georgia and is looking to make his comeback.
- Hincapie Clothing founder Rich Hincapie and his wife Jennifer were glad to attend the function. Rich is very excited to be sponsoring the team this year.
- Vaughters interviews rider Michael Lange. Will Frischkorn and Stu Gillespie look on.
- Vaughters poses with “Mac” McEneaney from Javelin Bikes. Javelin is supplying the team with cutting edge road and time trial bikes.
- Liggett and race announcer Dave Towle pose during their chat. Towle was the voice of the Tour de Georgia in 2004 and saw the team’s efforts first-hand.
- Liggett and Andy Hampsten have known each other for a long time. Liggett pulled Hampsten on stage for a quick chat about his experiences in the pro peloton.
- Some of the team poses with TIAA-CREF’s Head of Sponsorships Tonya Murray. Front row (L-R): Liggett, Vaughters, Murray, Bryan Smith, Colby Pearce, and Ben Turner. Back row(L-r): Will Frischkorn, Jay Ku, Timmy Duggan, and Michael Lange.
- The team presentation had quite a few cycling celebrities in attendance. From left to right: Frankie Andreu, team founder Jonathan Vaughters, guest host Liggett, and Andy Hampsten.
- Hampsten and Murray both made sure to talk to many of the event’s guests.
- Duane and Debbie Duggan chat with Liggett. Their son Timmy was one of the team’s most consistent performers in 2004.
- Road manager Ben Turner and Dr. Allen Lim connect the next rider for his testing.
- Collegiate Road Champion Bryan Smith looks focused as he begins the test. Smith turned out some of the highest stats from the team.
- State of the art equipment provides immediate results.
- Dr. Allan Lim checks the test results.
- No training camp would be complete without long hard rides. Most of the team spent a lot of time this week riding up and down the canyons near Boulder.
- The team and staff of Team TIAA-CREF 2005.
- The riders got to “enjoy” time in the hills around Boulder for their photo shoot.
- Team photo sessions are much more pleasant in sunny warm weather. Under-23 National Champ Ian MacGregor stands at the front with the team issue Javelin.
- Chad Hartley seems to be enjoying the “inside cornering shot” photo shoot session on Flagstaff Mountain.
- Will Frischkorn pauses during the photo shoot for a shot with Javelin Bikes’ Scott Warren and Team Director Jonathan Vaughters
- The 5280 Magazine Junior team. Back row: Alex Howes and Team Mechanic Kevin Grove. Front row (L-R): Brady Kappius, Walker Savidge, Chad Beyer, Peter Stetina, Director Sportif Jonathan Vaughters, and 2nd Director Sportif Colby Pearce.
- The team’s long ride Saturday included riding up to Carter Lake north of Boulder.
- Welcome to Boulder! An unexpected snowstorm cancelled the team’s ride Tuesday morning.
- Even wintry conditions in the mountains around town couldn’t keep the squad from their long rides!
- Craig Lewis and Will Frischkorn pull on the front up one of the many canyons the team climbed.
- Ian MacGregor and David Robinson take over up yet another climb.
- Hans Arnesen hung in on the epic day. All the more impressive given he’s from Indiana and isn’t used to hour long climbs at altitude!
- Stuart Gillespie makes it look easy. For a guy going back to train in California, he doesn’t seem to mind the cold.
- The strain of over 6 hours on the road with Vaughters egging them on clearly shows on everyone’s faces. Michael Lange, Timmy Duggan, David Robinson, and Dan Bowman all look like they’re ready to get off the bikes ASAP.
- Team Mechanic Kevin Grove Hutchinson Tire’s Marc Gullickson, Colby Pearce and Brady Kappius all get ready for the Sunday Sponsor Ride.
- Road Manager Ben Turner with two of the Sponsor Ride’s guests.
- Cyclingnews is happy to be a supporting sponsor of the TIAA-CREF team. We hope lots of riders get this view of our logo in 2005!