By Kirsten Robbins
Toyota-United finished their third annual training camp held at the Wine Valley Inn in historical downtown Solvang, California. Not even rainy days could dampen the spirit of the revamped squad, outfitted in their rendition of the star spangled banner, symbolic of one of the strongest teams to currently compete on American soil. However, with their traditional kit comes a fresh and inspiring mentality initiated by the team's two latest signings, Director Sportif Len Pettyjohn and his first-hand assistant Scott Moninger.
The dynamic duo spoke about collectively commanding a large-scale team. With over two decades of bike racing experience, they are offering a new approach to the professional team's previous direction, aiming towards the better health and physical well being of each rider to encourage further success.
The high profile team underwent several management changes from its start in 2006 to the end of the 2007 season. Harm Jansen retired and Frankie Andreu was let go by the team. The team's owner, Sean Tucker, is motivated for a fresh start by hiring Len Pettyjohn, who brought with him one of America's most decorated cyclists, Scott Moninger. "Scott and Len have been a duo for about twenty years and they have a great working relationship," said Tucker, touching on the lengthy history between the two directors.
"I've been working with them for the last four months and we are off to a good start. They are both very professional and Scott is doing an excellent job in terms of his transition from being a rider to a director. You'd think he'd worked at IBM before because he's so professional and knows what to say, what not to say and I think the guys have a lot of respect for both of them. I'm watching it all happen closely and it's going smoothly."
Years of working in the cycling industry, from directing some of the top US-based teams, including the former Coors Light squad in the early 1990's, to managing the CyberBike indoor race program, give Pettyjohn a good background for management. Furthermore, having promoted well known cycling events like the former Saturn Classics equip him with the leadership and marketing skills needed to direct Toyota-United.
The 66 year-old accepted the role under the condition that he would have the right to pick the riders and staff and his first selection included Moninger, a former athlete and long time friend. "Scott, who just finished racing, knows every metre of every course we are going to race on and knows every rider and their characteristics," continued Tucker. "So, we now have Len with his deep knowledge and experience combined with Scott, who is up to date on the racing side – they're like ying and yang."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.