Bissell Pro Cycling bolstered its roster for the tail end of the season by signing 2012 US elite national road and time trial champion Julian Kyer from Juwi Solar. He'll join Joe Schmalz from the Elbowz Racing team as the newest riders in the red-and-black Bissell team kits.
Kyer, 24, will join the UCI Continental Team for the Tour of Utah August 7-12 and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge August 20-26 in Colorado. Schmalz, 22, will also suit up with the squad for the first time in Utah. Bissell team director Omer Kem said the team had planned to add more riders to its roster as the stage racing picked up with the Tour of Elk Grove, The Tour of Utah and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
"What I wanted to be able do - and this was started last fall when I built the roster - was be able to add guys as I needed to at the end of the year after we saw who was riding well," Kem said. "It's especially good to give the young guys an opportunity. I added three guys from the development team. We haven't added anybody from another pro team or anything like that. So these are just opportunity spots."
Kyer, of Boulder, rode for Trek-Livestrong in 2009 and 2010. He signed with Kelly-Benefit Strategies team in 2011 but had an off year for results. He ended up dropping back down to the amateur level for 2012 with the domestic elite Juwi Solar team out of Colorado. He finished second to Kenda/5-Hour Energy's Phil Gaimon at the Redlands Bicycle Classic prologue and stormed back in June with the double win at the national championships in Georgia.
"He won [nationals] on Sunday, and on Monday I called and asked if he wanted to do Utah and Colorado for us," Kem said.
Schmalz, of Lawrence, Kansas, has been racing at the domestic elite level with Texas-based Elbowz Racing for the past two seasons after coming from the Mercy Cycling Team. Schmalz captured Bissell's attention early in the season when he got a stage win at San Dimas and finished second overall there. He followed that up with a third-place stage finish and seventh overall at the Joe Martin Stage Race, an NRC event. Schmalz also posted top 20 placings at the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Cascade Cycling Classic and the U23 elite nationals time trial and road race.
Bissell previously announced development team riders Mac Brennan, Weston Luzadder and Alex Vanius would move from Bissell-ABG-Nuvo, a domestic elite squad, to the UCI Continental team in late July. Brennan recently finished sixth at the U23 criterium national championships, while Luzadder comes from the powerful collegiate cycling program at Marian University. Vanius won the amateur Joe Martin Stage Race and a handful of other Midwest regional races this year. The trio raced as pros for the first time in defense of Eric Young's jersey at the USA Cycling Pro Criterium National Championship on July 28, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Kem said the larger roster at the end of the season allows the team to stay fresh and not over extend its riders. "It lets us go to pro crit with a really strong team, go to Elk Grove with a really strong team, not have anybody who doubles up at Elk Grove and Utah, and then go to Colorado with a really strong team," he said.
"Right now is a time when the schedule gets crazy," Kem said. "I've got too many races and not enough guys. For the rest of the year, 11 riders is perfect because I don't have that many guys sitting at home not racing. There's just not enough races to justify this massive roster, but then at the end of the season, these three guys, five guys, really make a team work."
Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake before studying English and journalism at the University of Oregon. He has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon.
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