Afters spending five years overseas and racing at the sport's highest level, Argentina's Sebastian Haedo will reunite with American Continental team Jamis-Hagens Berman for the 2015 season. His primary role will be to bring the team stage results at the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge.
"We wanted a sprinter like him for next year and we were able to reach an agreement with him very quickly," said Sebastian Alexandre, the team's director. "Sebastian is not a pure sprinter, but he is a very fast sprinter, and his speciality is to sprint amongst a reduced group of 30 to 50 riders. He will be able to go over the climbs at the bigger races and stay with the first group, and be one of the fastest guys at the end."
Haedo raced for two seasons under Alexandre's leadership with Colavita-Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light in 2008 and 2009. He went on to compete on the WorldTour where he spent the next three seasons with Saxo Bank, followed by one year with Cannodale. This year, he took a step down to the Continental ranks with Skydive Dubai.
He has followed a similar path as his older brother, Juan Jose, who started his professional career with Colavita and then spent six years on the WorldTour before returning to Jamis-Hagens Berman for 2013 and 2014. He retired at the end of this season.
Haedo will bring the experience of racing in top-level stage races to the Jamis-Hagens Berman team, which has reduced their roster to 10 riders for next season. They have kept their top climbers Gregory Brenes and Daniel Jaramillo, along with all-rounders Ian Crane, Ben Jacques-Maynes, who won the mountain competition at the USA Pro Challenge, Carson Miller, Stephen Leece and Luis Amaran. Newcomers also include Nathan Wilson, who raced with the development team Bontrager in 2013, and David Williams, who raced with 5-Hour Energy and placed third at the USA Pro Time Trial Championships this year.
"We only kept riders who could compete at the level of the UCI races that we are planning on doing," Alexandre said. "I also preferred to reduce the number a little bit in order to provide more days of competition to each rider. The US schedule is not that big and I wanted to give enough racing to everyone."
Alexandre will rely heavily on his two climbers Brenes and Jaramillo to lead the team in the overall classification category. Brenes, 26, was sixth overall at the USA Pro Challenge while racing for Champion System in 2013 and had a solid start to the season this year, placing second overall at the Tour of the Gila. However, a crash at the Tour of Utah abruptly ended his season.
Jaramillo, 24, won two stages at the Tour of the Gila along with the mountains competition, and finished in the top 20 at the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge, all in his first year of racing in the US. Alexandre expects him to make big improvements next year.
"This was the first year that he raced outside of Colombia," Alexandre said. "He needed to get through this year and gain experience to be ready for the future. We have a great climbing team and Jaramillo is so talented. It's only a matter of time for him."
Over the years, the team has made a slow shift from criterium racing to stage racing. This year, they will focus solely on the Tour of California, Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Challenge, along with top stage races on the National Racing Calendar (NRC). They will not participate in any of the races on the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and the only race they will participate in outside of the US will be the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
As a Continental team, however, Alexandre will have to wait for organizers of the three biggest American stage races to send out their invitations for their 2015 events. When asked if he thinks his team has a good chance of competing in all three, Alexandre said. "Definitely, I think we have a great team. I expect to be invited to the big races because I think I have the team for it."