German Ben Sonntag is one of four new signings by the Jamis mountain bike team for 2011.
In November, the 30-year-old Sonntag, who resides in Durango, Colorado, became one of only three non-Costa Ricans to have won the La Ruta de los Conquistadores. As a former two-time Winter Triathlon World Champion, Sonntag has groomed himself into one of the best endurance stage racers in North America.
"Ever since moving to Durango to go to college, I've been enthralled with mountain bike racing in the US," said Sonntag. "Continuing to develop my career and to have found a home with Team Jamis is certainly a highlight to this journey."
Sonntag will make his Team Jamis debut at the Trans Andes mountain bike stage race starting January 24 in Patagonia, Chile. Sonntag will join teammate Jason Sager to compete as a duo squad in the six-day stage race while Team Jamis' Blake Harlan will compete in the solo category.
"Going down to Chile to race a six-day race straight from a very snowy January will be interesting," said Sonntag, "however I love my new bikes and think we're going to have an exciting and rewarding season!"
Team Jamis also welcomes three additional new members: Puerto Rican National Champion Eudaldo "Bebe" Asencio, new Utah based professional Kelsy Bingham and southeastern racer Thomas Turner.
Several others are returning to Team Jamis for their third year, including Israeli National Champion Rotem Ishay, Super D stalwart Adam Snyder, endurance racer Blake Harlan and manager Jason Sager.
"We worked closely with Jamis to select riders that not only represent the spirit of the Jamis brand, but also target specific areas of the racing market. They're fast and they fit the team's family dynamic - everyone brings something special when it comes time to cook dinner at the team house," said Sager.
The team will race a mix of cross country and endurance events including the US Pro XCT series; the Trans Andes in Patagonia Chile; the Andalucia Bike Race in Malaga, Spain; the Ultimate Dirt Challenge in Rincon, Puerto Rico; the BC Bike Race in British Columbia, Canada; and La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica.
Unique to the mountain bike race scene, Team Jamis will be producing film projects at select events beginning with Trans Andes this week. Notable film maker Brian Vernor will accompany the team from door-to-door as they open their season in Patagonia.
"These video projects will be travel pieces, getting inside the head of the athlete and showing the public how these guys see the world from their bike," said Vernor of the concept, "It's about people and the stories that the bike creates. What you find in Patagonia, you'll also find in Wisconsin. Adventure."
Other team sponsors include Geox, FSA, Stans No Tubes, Chris King, WTB, Hayes, SRAM and Rock Shox. The team will race Jamis' newly designed Dakar XCR, XCT and Sixfifty B suspension platforms as well as the Dakota dXC and d29 hardtails.
2011 Team Jamis
Bebe Asencio, 34, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Kelsy Bingham, 29, Ogden, Utah
Blake Harlan, 24, Boulder, Colorado
Rotem Ishay, 24, Durango, Colorado
Jason Sager, 36, Ogden, Utah
Adam Snyder, 27, Durango, Colorado
Ben Sonntag, 30, Durango, Colorado
Thomas Turner, 29, Canton, Georgia