By Mark Zalewski
The state of the economy and many other factors are making it difficult for Jittery Joe's to keep a professional status with just one title sponsor. And the search for an addition co-title sponsor have come up short, according to manager Micah Rice.
Cyclingnews reported last week that the squad is among the US professional teams enjoying a multi-year sponsorship contract. The coffee distributor has been a long-time supporter of cycling, and is not changing its mind.
"We had some cash sponsors pull out and the cost of travel has gone through the roof," Rice told Cyclingnews. "We have been searching hard for a co-title sponsor and have been unsuccessful. The deadline for me was September 1. I have a few Hail Mary's out there that could happen and we will wait and see."
Rice said he has released his riders to seek out alternative options for 2009. "I talked to the riders after the race on Sunday and told them to go after what they can get," he said.
However the team itself will not disappear, regardless of finding a co-sponsor. "Jittery Joe's is still in it until 2013 but the probable thing is that it will be an amateur team," said Rice. "We have always been a developmental team and it will continue.
"We had a Jittery Joe's alumni in the Tour de France this year and we were very proud of that," he added. "And I expect we will be back as a professional team, but we are taking a step back to stay healthy. We do not want to try to force something just to have the 'pro' in our name. That ends up not being good for our sponsors."