News for November 16, 2002
Edited by Gerard Knapp
Bigger iron for Schroeder as US champ McRae joins
Reigning US Pro Road Race Champion Chann McRae will join the Schroeder Iron team in 2003 after spending two years with the US Postal Service team. The signing of McRae is a huge boost for the UCI Division 3 trade team, which has also secured Canadian Road Race Champion Andrew Randall for 2003.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our team," said owner and manager Frank Schroeder, "but also for the sport in general, to have so many strong riders spread out to balance the power between the competing teams. We're excited to have Chann and Andrew, and hope they will help bring us, along with our current and future sponsors, the attention we deserve."
Another big change for the team in 2003 will be its bicycles, as Schroeder Iron will also have Litespeed as its principal equipment sponsor next year.
From his home in Austin, McRae said "It's a great opportunity for me to join the Schroeder Iron Team, and race on Litespeed. Coming in as the team leader for Schroeder Iron for 2003 will give me the opportunity to defend my title as USPro champion, and at the same time give me an arsenal of very strong riders; so that we can work together in bringing Schroeder Iron to the top of domestic cycling."
After racing for Mapei in Europe, McRae joined USPS in time for the 2001 Vuelta and won his current title at the US Pro Championships in Philadelphia in June this year as a member of that team. McRae was the first American across the line, as he was just pipped for the line honours by Canadian Mark Walters in a select group sprint finish.
Andrew Randall, Canada's current National Road Race Champion, has had some impressive results in 2002, including stage victories in Norway's GP Ringerike and Ireland's Milk Ras, in addition to his National Title. He is described as a strong all-rounder; good in the sprint, strong in a time trial, and with the ability to hang in for a tough day on the climbs.
While the rest of the Schroeder roster remains to be finalized, last year's team captain, Jamie Paolinetti, is retiring from racing due to injuries sustained in the USPro Criterium Championship in Downer's Grove this year. He will continue work on his film that documents the NetZero team's first and only season, and follow his passion for filmmaking.
In its second season as a UCI Div 3 Pro team, Schroeder Iron will be competing mostly on the Litespeed Sirius model in road races and on the Litespeed Saber in time trials. "We at Litespeed had seen how well the team performed as a first year pro outfit," says Herbert Krabel, director of marketing for the American Bicycle Group (ABG), the maker of Litespeed bikes. "We are proud to be working with Frank Schroeder and really trust his leadership."
Litespeed will be taking over from outgoing sponsor Cannondale and the Schroeder Iron team should generate good exposure in the US market.
McRae will also pursue his interest in triathlon and will participate in selected triathlon events, with the goal to do well at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. This year McRae competed and finished about one hour down on the winner, but only one rider was faster on the 180km bike leg of the gruelling event. "Litespeed will give me the perfect bike to allow me to get on the run first in Kona," said McRae. It will also give ABG, owners of Litespeed, a great promotional opportunity by having a high-profile champion competing in two disciplines - road racing and triathlon. Meanwhile, the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based company is still to announce any plans to sponsor a European-based team after it was caught by the merger of the Belgian squads, Domo-Farm Frites and Lotto-Adecco.
Boost for Tomac
On the MTB scene, ABG's Tomac brand of mountain bikes will be ridden in 2003 by the RLX Polo Sport team, following on from their relationship in 2002 where the team rode Litespeeds.
Returning to the team's roster for 2003 are Jimena Florit, the Argentinean who resides in San Diego, CA, and winner of four nationals and overall winner of the women's NORBA Championship Series in 2002. The men's roster will feature Colorado riders Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, the 2002 US NORBA National Champion, and Dave Wiens, a former US National Champion and Hall of Famer. The remaining roster will be announced soon while manager Franklin Henry, who has been with the team since the mid 1990's, will continue to manage the team.
Next year the RLX Polo Sport Mountain Biking Team will ride the Tomac Buckshot and the Tomac Revolver in national and World Cup events throughout North America and Europe. Also slated for the team are mountain biking festivals and 24-hour races in the US to keep the team near their mountain biking roots.
Former world MTB champion John Tomac was upbeat about the new partnership and profile for his eponymously-named machines which are part of ABG. "I am very excited to see Tomac Bicycles back on the professional racing circuit and I look forward to working with the team at the race events in 03. This will not only be an excellent proving ground for our cross-country product, but it will also enables Tomac to stay on the cutting edge of product development using the RLX Polo Sport riders as additional R&D test pilots. "
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)