This year Team Rubicon-Orbea is aiming to bring more awareness of the Lance Armstrong Foundation to the US cycling peloton. Gone from years past is its orange and blue colour, with the team sporting yellow and black team kits with the 'Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation' logo displayed on the jersey.
"Our goal is to inspire people who have been affected in any way by cancer to take control, face it head on, take no prisoners and reach out to others for support," said team co-founder and director Norrene Godfrey, who lost both her parents to cancer. "As a cycling team, we hope to visit as many hospitals as we can handing out as many yellow wristbands as we can, to encourage those individuals to keep fighting, and let them know theyre not alone."
Team Rubicon-ORBEA is made up of 13 riders, with 7 under the age of 23. The 6 older riders will mentor the younger riders on and off the bike. Last year, two of the teams riders moved up in the pro-ranks, signing contracts with Slipstream-Chipotle U23 squad and the Jelly Belly Pro Cycling team.
Leading the team this year will be 21 year-old Logan Hunn of New Zealand and 22 year-old Brad Payne from Australia. Also returning is sprint specialist Dean Tracy. Carson Miller, Josh Bartlett, Shaun Morris and Roman van Uden are the team's new riders for 2008.
The team has a busy NRC and event calendar, with the goal of visiting at least one childrens hospital for every NRC event it contests.
(Additional reporting and research provided by Susan Westemeyer.)