Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sheppard, Sager Join Jamis MTB Team

2008 Oregon Bicycle Racing Association members Jason Sager and Chris Sheppard will ride for the Jamis Bicycles Factory Mountain Bike Racing Team for 2009, according to a team press release.

Sager (pictured) was the 2008 OBRA BAR points champion for cyclocross. He won the 2008 Cross Crusade overall title and a handful of one-day cyclocross events. Sager won the 2008 Falls City Firecracker MTB race. He also battled on the road, finishing 7th in the 2008 Oregon Cup on the strength of one second-place finish at the Banana Belt. He has been racing in Oregon since the end of 2007.

Sager will be a manager/athlete and will bring to the team several wins, including a stage from 2008’s BC Bike Race, and endurance and UCI wins in Puerto Rico, including Rincon’s Ultimate Dirt Challenge.

Sheppard, a former Canadian National Team member, won stages at both the 2008 BC Bike Race and the Trans Rockies, according to the team press release. For 2009, he will be targeting the U.S. national series and epic single-day events, such as the Downieville Classic and the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, in addition to partnering with two-time Canadian Olympian, Commonwealth Games medalist, and former NORBA STXC champion Seamus McGrath for the 2009 BC Bike Race and Intermontaine Race in British Columbia.

Sheppard (pictured) has been an OBRA member since 2006. He finished fourth overall in the 2008 OBRA Bar points, winning Cross Crusades 4 and 5 and the Silverton Road Race.

Sheppard, who previously rode professionally for the Haro mountain bike team, returns to the professional ranks following a two-year suspension for doping, according to VeloNews.com. After testing positive for EPO in 2005, he admitted to his wrongdoing and in 2006 spoke to junior and U23 riders about the perils of doping. Sager returns to the pros after he was suspended for one year for missing a post-race test in July of 2006, even though he had dropped out of the race before the finish and even though the USADA determined Sager was not significantly at fault for the violation.

Team Jamis' primary race weapon will be the full-suspension, high-modulus carbon fiber Dakar XCR, outfitted with Edge Composites XC UL Tubular wheels with Geax tubular Saguro tires, Chris King hubs and Fox suspension systems.

"This has been a true collaborative effort," team manager Sager said via the team press release. "Working with mountain bike product manager Craig Hoyt and Jamis President Carine Joannou has proven to be a hands-on and family effort in picking the riders, equipment and our schedule."