This first-year team brings enthusiasm and sheer love of the sport to the pro circuit in 2005. With a strong group of riders and experienced management which is producing a great vibe around the squad, that same pro circuit may be in for a shake up. Ella Lawrence visits their training camp in scenic Fresno, CA.
Okay, If you've ever been to Fresno, you know it's not that scenic. But it was the place for three NRC race weekends in March, which is why the Advantage Benefits/Endeavour pro cycling team chose it as the landing spot for their 2005 spring training camp.
This year marks former Saturn director Tom Schuler's return to professional road team management. Schuler talked a little about how this first-year pro team got its start. "The team began last year as two amateur teams, one in Michigan (Advantage Benefits), and one in Wisconsin (Endeavour)" he says. Schuler managed the Endeavour team in 2004, and when the two teams joined forces, the sponsorship came together with the financing and the support to allow the Advantage Benefits-Endeavour team to go pro.
Co-manager and directeur sportif Robbie Ventura brings 11 years of professional race experience to the team: he spent four years on the Saturn roster, three years with Navigators and raced for US Postal for the last four years of his career. Ventura says of the team's lineup for 2005 - "We have a lot of spectacular racers that are going to get great results. We also have a lot of young guys whose talents haven't yet been defined. They're strong and fast; but finding out where they fit into the equation - criterium racer, road racer, time-trial guy, breakaway guy - that's going to be the fun part."
Click here to read the rest of the story