For the past several months, the NUVO Cultural Trail cycling team has been gaining new riders. It has seemed as though they were amassing a whole new army. And, well, they were. The announcement comes today that the Bissell Masters/Elite cycling team and the NUVO Cultural Trail cycling team will be merging into one single USA Cycling NRC Amateur team for 2012 and beyond.
This means several things. Bissell Pro Cycling has agreed to take at least two riders from the amateur team to race as professionals during the final months of the 2012 season.
Bissell and Advantage Benefits have now committed to an amateur development team that will bridge the gap between grassroots racing and the pro ranks.
Advantage Benefits CEO and key sponsor of the BISSELL Pro Cycling team, Robert Hughes, commented: "One of the reasons we started the Pro team years ago was to give young and upcoming Michigan riders a chance to take the next step, this new affiliation allows even more opportunity for those riders and we are excited by the new young talent on the team. Hopefully we identify and develop another Brent Bookwalter." Hughes and Advantage Benefits sponsored Bookwalter early in his career and now races at the sport's highest professional level.
NUVO Cycling Team Director Declan Doyle had the following to say about the merger: “We’ve already proven we can develop young talent from Indiana and beyond. We’re the ones who plucked Eric Young from the Little 500 in Bloomington and helped him join the Bissell pro team. Now he’s pro national champ. By officially working with Bissell’s pro team, we can do for other young riders what we’ve done for Eric. I am very excited.”
The team has also committed to donating all of its prize money from two team events to World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief changes lives by purchasing bicycles for individuals in developing nations who cannot afford them, thus giving them life-changing mobility and freedom.
BISSELL-ABG-NUVO will use a group of experienced racers to provide leadership and mentoring to the team’s young superstars. This exciting merger results from the collaboration between NUVO Team Director, Declan Doyle and Bissell Masters racer, Derek Witte, both of whom will assist with team management during 2012. Aaron Hubbell, himself a former National champion and elite track rider, will round out the management team.
New riders for 2012 include:
• Mac Brennan, 21, East Jordan MI
• Josh Johnson, 19, Ft. Wayne, IN
• Weston Luzadder, 21, Indianapolis, IN
• Alex Vanias, 21, Leroy, MI
• Alexey Vermeulen, 18, Ann Arbor, MI
• Alex Wieseler, 22, Indianapolis, IN
• Jason Fowler, 29, Indianapolis, IN
• Scott Catanzaro, 23, Indianapolis, IN
• Kevin Depasse, 21, Bloomington, IN
Returning riders include:
• Neal Forbes, 19, Indianapolis, IN
• Derek Graham, 31, Grand Rapids MI
• Jon Jacob, 32, Evansville IN
• Joe Kukolla, 23, Indianapolis IN
• Daniel Lam, 37, Kalamazoo, Michigan
• Andrew Otte, 28, West Lafayette IN
• Brad Schaeffer, 30, Indianapolis, IN
• Nate Williams, 30, Grand Rapids MI