New Jersey-based Jamis Bicycles has added a mountain bike factory racing squad to its current Jamis Gravity program for 2009, including Canadian veterans Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard.
The new Team Jamis Factory Racing squad will focus on cross country races, all-mountain, endurance and mountain bike festivals in North America, Central, and South America.
McGrath, a two-time Canadian Olympian, Commonwealth Games medalist, and former NORBA short-track cross-country champion, is returning to North American racing with Team Jamis following his successful 2008 season. He twice placed in the World Cup top 10, in addition to representing Canada in Bejing at the Olympics last summer. McGrath is joined by former Canadian National team member Chris Sheppard. Sheppard had a successful 2008 season, winning stages at both the BC Bike Race and the Trans Rockies.
Seamus McGrath racing in Melbourne, Austrailia in 2006
For 2009, Sheppard will be targeting the US national series and epic single day events, such as the Downieville Classic and the Fruita Fat Tire Festival, in addition to partnering with McGrath for the BC Bike Race and Intermontaine Race in British Columbia.
Joining McGrath and Sheppard are Blake Harlan and team manager/athlete Jason Sager. Sager brings several wins to the team including a stage from 2008's BC Bike race, endurance and International Cycling Union (UCI) wins in Puerto Rico, including Rincon's Ultimate Dirt Challenge. Harlan, new to the professional ranks, will target Colorado's Mountain State Cup events in addition to the team's national series.
"I'm excited to be returning from the last couple of years' worth of European racing with great support, familiar teammates, and it's shaping up to be a great year," McGrath said. "I think the new (race) series will bring the return of excitement and high level competition to the US."
The factory team will be racing on the Jamis Dakar XCR, a carbon fibre full-suspension bike specced out with Shimano, FSA, WTB, Hayes, crankbrothers, Edge Composites XC UL tubular wheels and Geax tubular Saguro tires, Chris King hubs, and Fox suspension systems.
For more information, visit www.jamisbikes.com.