Tim Johnson set to lead Jittery Joe's/Kalahari to new heights
By Mark Zalewski in Athens, Georgia
While the rest of the U.S. domestic peloton has their training camps/team presentations somewhere in California or the like, the always different and ever laid-back Jittery Joe's/Kalahari Pro Cycling Team from Athens, Georgia, came together this past weekend for a down home party with friends and fans. At the place where the coffee that pays the bills is made, the Jittery Joe's Roasting Company warehouse, the squad for 2005 was unveiled, and what a team it is! A large crowd gathered for food, beer and (of course) coffee to toast the team as they set off to make sure last year's success will not be forgotten.
With the departure of Cesar Grajales to Navigators, Director Sportif Micah Rice knew he needed a pretty big name to fill the void left by the winner on Brasstown Bald. Luckily, former Saturn and Saunier Duval pro Tim Johnson, unhappy with the way things turned out in Spain, was looking for a radical change. After a few conversations with Rice, and countless emails asking what it would take to get him to sign, Johnson agreed to headline this year's Bean Team.
With this comes the opportunity for the team to really compete for general classification in the big U.S. stage races. The 27-year-old from Boston returns to the U.S. after a rough go across the pond: "I was having a rough time with the racing at Suanier-Duval - I was kind of racing over my head," said Johnson. "Last year on Suanier-Duval I never had the chance to be a bike racer because it was so hard for me. This year I want to help somebody win and be the guy to win; this team fits perfectly because I can be a leader and help out everyone else also."