CORRECTION: Omer Kem has not signed a contract for the 2010 season and is still talking with teams.
PHOTO: Jacob Rathe, shown here winning the Banana Belt finale, will ride for the Jelly Belly U23 team next year.
The road racing wheels have barely stopped turning and plans for the 2010 season have already started swinging into action.
OBRA rider Jacob Rathe, a member of the 2009 USA Cycling Junior National Team who found himself atop several European podiums, signed with the Jelly Belly U23 squad. Jelly Belly is the longest running active pro cycling team in the United States. The 19-year-old rider from southwest Portland will likely race a full program of European U23 races with the national team and a handful of NRC races in the States as a cat 1 with Jelly belly.
"There will be three U23s on the team," Rathe said. "There are a lot of U23 races in Europe we can do. I wouldn't be able to do those with a professional license. The jump to U23 racing is huge. And it only makes it bigger if you're not able to do the lower-level races in Europe, which are plenty challenging."
The team is set up to give young riders the best possible environment to learn and develop.
"The idea behind this team is that it gives you free reign to do as much national team stuff as you want," Rathe said. "So it's aimed toward development. And we'll be able to do NRC stuff with the team when I'm home."
Rathe's 2009 CMG Racing/Hammer teammates Wes Stein and Austin Arguello will be riding for Bobs-bicycles.com, a northwest regional powerhouse squad based out of Boise. Marcel de Lisser will be riding with Team Oregon, which plans a boosted national 2010 program for its elite riders.
Kennett Peterson, who rode for team Oregon in 2009, will move over to the powerful regional squad Hagens-Berman out of Seattle. Meanwhile, Adrian Hegyvary, who won the 2009 PDX Twilight criterium while riding in the Hagens-Berman kit, has signed with the OUCH/Maxxis pro team for 2010 after a 2009 season peppered with national and regional wins. He'll be joined by fellow Washington rider Morgan Schmitt, who is moving from Bissell to OUCH, which will be sponsored by United Healthcare for the 2010 season.
On the women's side of things, Therapeutic Associates rider Lisa Turnbull will move to the Riverstone Women's Racing Team for the 2010 season.
The Veloforma women's professional cycling team will add a trio of OBRA riders to its elite squad. Bend's Teri Sheasby, a speedy climber who ascended with some of the best riders in the country at both the Mt. Hood and Cascade Classic stage races, will wear the Veloforma kit for 2010. Veloforma will also have Lindsay Fox, a triathlete who quickly learned the road racing ropes and moved to the front of the women's peleton for team Oregon in 2009. Lisa Reeve, who rode in (and won) her first-ever bicycle race at the beginning of this summer and ended the season as a Cat 2 after stacking up a pile of wins, will also race for Veloforma in 2010.
That's all I've got so far. If you've got any information about rider changes, big team news or other hot off-season tips, please e-mail them to email@example.com.