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Bissell gets priority title

Bissell will increase its National Racing Calendar involvement in 2008 following the announcement it will take over the title sponsorship of the American Continental squad formerly known as Priority Health presented by Bissell. The announcement secures the future of the squad, following a recent shakeup in sponsorship within the American scene which has seen Navigators Insurance left without a title sponsor and its future in doubt.

"Our brand is innovative and performance-based," says Bissell’s President and CEO Mark Bissell, who is also a director on the USA Cycling Development Foundation's board. "This sponsorship exemplifies how Bissell is extending its commitment to promoting healthy living through athletic competition. We are proud to increase our sponsorship and commitment to this winning team."

The squad's 2008 line up will be led by Ben Jacques-Maynes, a seven-time NRC race winner in 2007 and second overall in NRC individual points. In addition to Jacques-Maynes and eight strong returning riders, four new riders have been signed by the Bissell Pro Cycling Team.

Among those new riders is T-Mobile's Aaron Olson, who joins the team after two seasons racing in the UCI ProTour. In addition to American Olson, the team will add climber Burke Swindlehurst, climber and Time Trial specialist Jeremy Vennell and Steven Howard, the brother of Graham, as one of the team's sprinters.

"All four new riders have already demonstrated their abilities over the previous years, but I believe the environment we have on the Bissell Pro Cycling Team will enable us all to have our best season so far," said team director Glen Mitchell. "It's going to be an exciting year as we strive to make an impact on the American racing scene."

Bissel Pro Cycling's 2008 roster: Ben Jacques-Maynes, Richard England, Graham Howard, Omer Kem, Edward King, Garrett Peltonen, Morgan Schmitt, Tom Zirbel, Scott Zwizanski, Aaron Olson, Burke Swindlehurst, Jeremy Vennell and Steven Howard.