On Tuesday this week, U.S. pro cycling team Successful Living announced their roster for 2008. Last season, the squad's successes included five National Racing Calendar (NRC) victories. The team planned to continue their momentum with the addition of Canadian Criterium Champion, Charles Dionne and looked to aim for the NRC title within the next two seasons.
The team will be working on planned goal setting at the training camps starting this month. "First step is to take inventory of all the goals we want to achieve as a team and as individuals and physically write them down," said director Steve Hegg. "It's important that everyone knows each other's goals to create accountability, camaraderie, and focus throughout the season."
The management is confident this will be a key factor in the achievements of the cycling team this season and beyond. "Reflecting on the success of 2007, the goals for next season are definitely attainable," stated manager Ryan Yee.
Helping to lead the charge will be Canadian Charles Dionne, two-time San Francisco Grand Prix winner and former member of the ProTour team Saunier-Duval. Dionne already set some solid objectives for this season including earning a spot to represent Canada in the upcoming Olympics in Beijing, China, and retain his Canadian National Criterium Champion title.
Ricardo Escuela will return as the team's sprint-ace, even though ironically his most notable victory was at the top of Pilot Butte in the first stage of Cascade Cycling Classic against the best climbers in the nation. He has demonstrated to be a strong overall racer and will be a marked man at the start line in 2008.
Alessandro Bazzana returns as an overall performer in the NRC circuit. The 23 year-old from Bergamo, Italy was first recognized last season in the inaugural US Open in Virginia. Bazzana's hard work paid off when he won two NRC races later, back-to-back at the Cougar Mountain Classic in Sonoma, California.
"Last year was a learning year for our new foreign riders," said Steve Hegg. "Now that they know the style of racing here in the US and the competition, you will definitely see more of these guys on the podium."
The team has made some key up-and-coming acquisitions to round out the roster including Brad White from Discovery Channel/Marco Polo and Brian Jensen from HRCC/Trek. White, who will enter his full season as a professional was instrumental in helping Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie earn their podium spots at Pro road national last year in South Carolina. "We have some great talent on our team and each rider will be given an opportunity to shine through out the season," commented Steve Hegg. Jensen returns to pro cycling after taking a hiatus to complete his college degree. "We've had an eye on Brian all last season," said Ryan Yee. "He was a full-time student last year but earned some impressive results racing as an amateur."
The team also added two U23 young guns, Cody O'Reilly (20) and Eric Bennett (22). O'Reilly demonstrated his abilities with Kodak-Sierra Nevada last season as a first year professional. Bennett, a former multi-time National BMX champion will bring his talents and to the squad as a neo-pro, coming from the Time Development Team under the direction of pro-veteran Eric Saunders.
The team has organised three training camps between now and April to prepare for the launch of the 2008 NRC season in Redlands, California. First camp will begin this week in Ventura.
2008 Team Successful Living Pro Cycling
New for 2008:
Charles Dionne (Canada - Colavita/Sutter Home)
Eric Bennett (USA - Time Factory Development Team)
Brad White (USA - Discovery Channel/Marco Polo)
Brian Jensen (USA - HRCC/Trek)
Cody O'Reilly (USA - Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada)
Alessandro Bazzana (Italy)
Chuck Coyle (USA)
Ricardo Escuela (Argentina)
JR Grabinger (USA)
Curtis Gunn (USA)
Alexi Martinez (USA)
Christian Valenzuela (Mexico)