By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The Bissell Pro Cycling team will continue to exist in 2009 in a new combination of ownership and sponsorship. The team's sponsor, Mark Bissell, Chariman and CEO of the company that bares his name, will take over ownership and management of the team from the existing management company.
"Bissell assumes ownership of the team, and the team will now come under the direction and management of Glen Mitchell," a statement said. "Continuing sponsors for 2009 include Advantage Benefits, Wynalda Litho, and Employment Group. The team will focus on the major UCI and NRC level events for 2009."
"The company that I own with my partner Cheryl Olson, Athletic Mentors, is not going to be involved with managing the team next year," said current manager Mark Olson. "Mark Bissell is going to move forward with the team – owning and sponsoring his own team – and Glen Mitchell is going to stay on and be a combination of manager and director. Most of the guys are going to stay as well, but they are still working on that."
Olson said that the decision to split was amicable. "No hard feelings and we wish the best for the team."
Mitchell is looking forward to building on the squad's success this season. "The team has had a fantastic year and has surpassed the goals that we had at the beginning of the year. I am very excited about becoming more involved with the team, and I look forward to the challenges ahead in building this team to the next level. We have a solid platform of riders to build on from this year and we will be fine tuning the roster to strengthen the squad at our targeted races for '09", said Mitchell.
Mark and Cheryl Olson, which began the team as a developmental program, said they will stay in cycling starting over in much the same manner. "We run the Priority Health development team now and are going to try to bring that up a notch. Next year we will stay focused regionally around Michigan and start over with a grassroots program like Bissell was for us. In 2010 who knows – I've got a few things in the works."