GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., - The BISSELL Pro Cycling Team has finalized its eight-member roster for the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Team leaders Ben Jacques-Maynes and Tom Zirbel will equally play critical roles in the success of this high-profile race.
Ben Jacques-Maynes returns to this tour with a history of strong results. He placed 16th overall during last year's Tour of California, and for two consecutive years has placed in the top ten for the time trial.
Zirbel will also battle in the time trial. In 2008, he placed 2nd at the USPRO and 8th at the Stage 5 Tour of California time trials, and also boasts a 1st place victory Tour of Utah 2008 Time Trial. Zirbel is also well-known for his memorable breakaway in last year's final stage of the Tour of California.
After six years of racing on separate teams, Andy Jacques-Maynes joins his brother Ben in California for his first race back in the pro ranks, following a successful 2008 season. He ranked 2nd in the road race and 3rd in the time trial at Elite U.S. Nationals last year. The BISSELL Tour of California roster will also include New Zealanders, Jeremy Vennell and Peter Latham. Vennell adds to the team's time trialing strength as the 2009 New Zealand Time Trial Champion. Latham, new to the team for 2009, was a member of the New Zealand Olympic and World's Track Championship teams.
Rounding out the BISSELL team with their sprint capabilities, two-time USPRO Criterium Champion, Kirk O'bee joins the tour, along with teammate, Frank Pipp. Omer Kem, who's off to a strong start in New Zealand's early season racing, completes the eight-man roster.
Team director, Glen Mitchell, makes this announcement following the team's training camp. "The entire team has spent the last few days working round the clock," says Mitchell. "We plan to show up to the Tour of California with a strong roster, and our athletes should be commended for their hard work and training. We also owe thanks to a few organizations that made our team camp possible. Hotel La Rose, Echelon Cycle and Multisport, the Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery - the host of our team photo shoot -- and the City of Santa Rosa have been incredibly accommodating hosts and have made Santa Rosa a second home for our team."
To follow the team throughout the Tour of California and year-round, visit www.Bissellprocycling.com.
BISSELL Homecare, Inc. is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is a 133-year-old floor care innovator and international marketer of home cleaning products, including sweepers, vacuums, deep cleaning machines and cleaning formulas sold at retail locations worldwide. The company, in its fourth generation of family leadership, is the seventh oldest privately held manufacturing company in the United States.