Mike Friedman will captain a nine-man roster with the American-based Continental team Jelly Belly in 2010. Known by the nickname ‘meatball', Friedman brings a wealth of experience to the squad after five years of development with the now ProTour team Garmin-Slipstream.
"Mike brings a lot to the team," said Danny van Haute, Jelly Belly's directeur sportif. "He will be a leader. He is a leader, on and off the bike. He will tell it how it is and that's what we were lacking. We didn't have anyone who wanted to be the captain of the team before."
Friedman started with the TIAA-CREF team in 2005 and progressed with the squad as it transformed from Slipstream-Chipotle into the ProTour team Garmin-Slipstream. "He called me in August and he wasn't sure what he was going to do," he continued. "We finalized everything at Missouri. He is a great addition to the team and it will be fun seeing him back in the USA again."
The nine-man roster also includes four new signings with former Irish National Time Trial Champion, David McCann, Jonathan Chodroff from OUCH p/b Maxxis and Sean Marvich from the Under 23 Waste Management team. Returning riders include Brad Huff, Jeremy Powers, Will Routley, Kiel Reijnen and Bernard Van Ulden.
McCann is no stranger to competing on the National Racing Calendar, having competed for the Colavita-Sutter Home team in 2008 before moving on to Ride Sport Racing/Prime Estate in 2009. "Jelly Belly was lacking a time trialist and a climber, GC guy and I know we will rely on David McCann for that."
The candy company Jelly Belly returns as the team's title sponsor along with new presenting sponsor Kenda Tire. Both sponsors have locked in a three-year term with the team, which is in it's seventh season as a UCI-registered squad. Supporting sponsors include Focus bikes, a German-based company, Gatorade and Rudy Project, all on board for two years.
"I think they just like our organizations and they know it's a solid program," Van Haute said. "It's not the biggest money program but it's consistent and Jelly Belly is now in it's tenth year running. It's a great venue to promote their product and we run a good show. I need to pat myself on the back for that one because we run a tight ship. But, it's fun to be here, I'm fair to riders and sponsors and it shows in all the resumes who want to be a part of our team."
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda hopes to be involved with the Tour of California next May and aims to impress at the US National Road and Criterium Championships.
"We don't chase the NRC but we will do the best we can with our budget," Van Haute said. "We will do some Asian races too because it's the best way to prepare for the US season. We aren't targeting any particular race but we want to be consistent next year, more consistent than 2009."
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda will hold a pre-season training camp scheduled for the second week in February in San Diego, California.
Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the cycling world - twitter.com/cyclingnewsfeed