Andy Jacques-Maynes has had the kind of week that sometimes only cycling can deliver. On Sunday, the 34-year-old from Watsonville, California, was injured in a hit-and-run collision while training near his home, breaking his shoulder blade and possibly a collarbone. Then on Wednesday the internet delivered another devastating blow.
"They did their announcement on Cyclingnews and I saw that I'm not on the roster," said Jacques-Maynes, who rode last year for Kenda/5-hour Energy and said team management had assured him he'd be back next season.
But the team, owned by Inferno Racing, merged after the 2012 season with the Competitive Cyclist squad owned by On The Rivet Management, which has taken over both programs. The newly branded 5-hour Energy/Kenda team announced its official 10-rider 2013 roster Wednesday, much to the surprise of one of Inferno's previous team leaders.
"I guess that means they've finalized their roster and they're not going to offer me a contract," Jacques-Maynes said Wednesday night. "Since August I had been promised a spot. They told me not to look anyplace else because they would take care of me."
Reached by telephone Wednesday evening, On The Rivet Management co-owner Jason Kriel declined to comment and instead referred questions to current partner Chad Thompson, Inferno Racing's former owner. Thompson could not be reached by telephone, but Kriel later sent an email to Cyclingnews after speaking with Thompson and offered the following statement on behalf of On The Rivet: "It is unfortunate that we were not able to hire everybody, but beyond that we can not respond to rider contract negotiations."
Former Kenda riders Shawn Milne, Bobby Sweeting, Jim Stemper, Nate English and Greg Brandt will join four riders from the 2012 Competitive Cyclist team and one newcomer to create the 2013 roster. The merged teams provided a deep pool of talent, with the two squads employing more than 30 riders on their combined 2012 rosters, but the 2013 line-up has been whittled down to just 10.
Unfortunately, that formula has also created a bitter pill that Jacques-Maynes must now swallow, especially difficult as he'll be laid up in a sling for the next six-to-eight weeks.
"It's a bad coincidence. It's been a bad week, for sure," Jacques-Maynes said. "I don't think in the normal business world this kind of thing is put up with. If you promise somebody something, you follow through on it. And if you're going to drop somebody, you let them know before they find out in the press."
Jacques-Maynes said team management had told him the 2013 budget took a big hit after the Lance Armstrong/USADA doping revelations were made public, but the new team wanted to build a squad around him and would "scrape" together the necessary money.
"They had a lot of sponsors back way off," Jacques-Maynes said he was told, "and all of the sudden they had a reduced budget and they had to try and make ends meet."
Jacques-Maynes Started his pro career with the Sierra Nevada Cycling Team in 2002. He moved to Webcor Builders in 2005 before dropping to amateur status with Cal Giant-Specialized for the next three seasons. He returned to the Continental level with Bissell Pro Cycing in 2009 and rode with the California-based team until moving to Kenda/5-hour Energy last year.
Jacques-Maynes got off to a quick start to the 2012 season, winning the overall at the San Dimas Stage Race and helping teammate Phil Gaimon win the overall at the NRC-opening Redlands Bicycle Classic. He won the overall at the Sea Otter Stage Race with a stage win and three more podium finishes. He capped off his season with 12 more top-10 finishes, including fourth at the Cascade Cycling Classic criterium, the Tour of Elk Grove time trial and the San Rafael Twilight Criterium.
Now he faces 2013 without a pro contract in a very late, and very tough market. When USA Cycling announced the list of UCI registered teams Wednesday, the number of men's Continental teams had slid from 12 last season to just eight for next year. Team Exergy, Chipotle-First Solar Development Team and Wonderful Pistachios are all gone; Competitive Cyclist disappeared in the merger. More than 60 US professional cyclists could find themselves without contracts for 2013.
"I think the USPRO national championships is going to have like 50 guys in it," Jacques-Maynes said. "And the crit national championships might have not even 20 guys in it. So professional cycling in the US is really taking a giant hit."
As that notion slowly sunk in, Jacques-Maynes' understandable frustration started to rise.
"I'm pretty bitter right now that guys who were doping screwed over clean riders in the beginning by taking their jobs, and now it comes out that they've been cheating the whole time, and clean riders again are getting screwed because all of these sponsors are vacating the cycling scene," Jacques-Maynes said. "What makes me most bitter is that the guys who were cheating the whole time still have their jobs."
The poor timing of the hit-and-run collision and subsequent bad news mean, like it or not, Jacques-Maynes will have a long winter recuperation to plan his next move. "I'm in a sling for at least six weeks," he said. "Probably more like eight, and then the rehab. So it will be a while."
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