After nearly two decades in road racing, Bissell ABG Giant announced a new sponsorship strategy that will see its men’s amateur team expand into gravel and mountain bike races. The 2019 Bissell ABG Giant team will blur the lines of what it means to be a cycling team and won’t be limited by surface or bike.
Long-term cycling industry investors Mark Bissell and Bob Hughes decided it is time to redefine cycling and how companies sponsor teams. Hughes’s Advantage Benefits Group (ABG) has been a dedicated sponsor of American cycling since 2004 and helped support standout pros including Brent Bookwalter and Ted King throughout their development. Together with Bissell, they’ve decided to merge their love all things that require two wheels and expand into gravel and mountain biking racing.
“Racing a bike isn’t just about skinny tires. Mud, gravel, pavement, two-tracks and fire roads all ignite our passion and Bissell ABG Giant believes that creating a team which combines these various courses will help reinvigorate a sport in a time of need,” Advantage Benefits Group President Robert Hughes said. ”With the recent growth in gravel racing, we recognized an opportunity and no longer wanted to feel constrained by only road events.”
After years of focusing exclusively on road cycling and developing young professional road cyclists, Bissell ABG Giant is ready to bring back the excitement of racing on two wheels and will carry this passion and energy to a variety of mass start road, gravel and mountain bike events throughout the US.
The team is mindful of its strong history of developing riders and will continue this mission. A few standout riders who have come through the program – part of the Bissell/ABG pro and amateur teams – include Paddy Bevin, Ian Boswell, Nicolai Broechner, Thomas Revard, and Eric Young.
“We are eager to see how this new model reinvigorates our athletes and their passion for racing their bikes. I’m particularly excited to announce that we’ve signed Australian Karl Menzies. He was with our program back in 2005 and we are excited to welcome him back to the family. We believe his experience in the professional peloton will translate to results while helping to mentor our younger riders,” Hughes explained.
Menzies’s lengthy career as a road cyclist saw him race for Advantage Benefits/Endeavour, Health Net P/B Maxxis, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Cylance Pro Cycling. Standout accolades include second overall at the Tour Down Under (2007) and wins at the Sun Tour (2004, 2005, 2006), Tour of Elk Grove Prologue (2011), Dana Point Grand Prix (2015) and runner-up at the Wilmington Grand Prix (2015).
With depth in its 2019 roster, Bissell ABG Giant plans to work together with long-term sponsors Bicycle Garage Indy, Giant Bicycles, NUVO News weekly, Autocam Medical, SRAM and Zipp to integrate different components on various surfaces.
The 2019 season will see Bissell ABG Giant implement a three-phase approach to the racing season with national grave races in the spring, road racing in the early summer and mountain biking races in the late summer and fall.
Bissell ABG Giant’s complete 2019 roster includes:
Ruben Bacon (USA)
Josh Johnson (USA)
Karl Menzies (AUS)
Nolan VanderZwaag (USA)
David Williams (CAN)
Nate Williams (USA)
Seth Worthington (USA)
Jake Rytlewski (rider/director) (USA)
Aaron Beebe (rider/director) (USA)
Derek Witte (director)
Declan Doyle (director)
Visit SoCalCycling.com’s Event Calendars for upcoming Road Racing Events, Mountain Bike, Cyclo-Cross & Gravel Events, Fun Rides, Gran Fondos & Tours and Pro Road Tour (PRT) Events throughout the year to find great cycling events to participate in or spectate.