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The Wonderful Pistachios team
Carlsen, Higuma join American team
The US-registered UCI Continental squad Wonderful Pistachios will enjoy an increased budget and expanded race calendar for the 2012 season, team manager Josh Horowitz told Cyclingnews.
It will be the third season the team has worked with the Paramount Farms brand, which was launched mid-2008 and quickly entered the cycling world first as a minor sponsor of the Adageo Energy team, then as title sponsor of the squad in 2011.
Horowitz said that increased sponsorship, including backing from Paramount Farms' other brands will allow the team to double its number of racing days in 2012.
"We will focus on USA Cycling's National Criterium Calendar and other one-day races in the USA, since the main goal of our sponsor is to introduce the public to its product. There are larger audiences at the bigger criteriums and one-day races like [the] Philadelphia [International Classic] and [Tour of the] Battenkill, which allows us to give out more samples," Horowitz said.
The team will look to experienced crit specialists Yosvany Falcon, who joins the team from Realcyclist.com, Sterling Magnell and Iggy Silva in these races.
In addition, the team has signed Kirk Carlsen, formerly of Garmin-Transitions and the Chipotle development team, and Japanese rider Yusuke Higuma since USA Cycling announced its UCI-registration list.
After a racing calendar restricted by its small budget in 2011, the team will compete in an expanded schedule, with approximately 100 days of racing across the USA. They will also take in a few UCI Americas Tour events in Central and South America, likely starting with the Vuelta Mexico in March.
In the future, the team hopes to move up to Professional Continental status with an eye on competing at the Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Utah and USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
Wonderful Pistachios for 2012:
Eric Bennett (USA)
Taylor Bertrand Barrett (USA)
Kirk Carlsen (USA)
Yosvany Falcon (USA)
Yusuke Higuma (JPN)
Sterline Magnell (USA)
Victor Riquelme (USA)
Collin Samaan (USA)
Iggy Silva (USA)
Erik Slack (USA)
Brett Tack (USA)