It’s a sad day for domestic cycling as Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Maxxis is losing their title sponsor. Jelly Belly has been the namesake of Danny Van Haute’s program for 19 years. The addition of the Tour of California to the UCI World Tour meant that Jelly Belly no longer received an invitation. This was a major blow to both the team and the sponsor. Unfortunately, the candy company has decided to move in a different promotional than that afforded by one of the most loved teams in the domestic peloton.
Current professionals in the World Tour include Kiel Reijnen and Lachlan Morton. Kiel Reijnen currently rides for Trek Segafredo where he is scheduled to ride his second Vuelta España this year. Lachlan Morton found a home a Jelly Belly after having stepped away from professional cycling, and currently rides for Team Dimension Data. Four-time Mexican National Champion, Luis Lemus currently rides for the Pro-Continental team Israel Cycling Academy.
Former top level pros who have come up through the Jelly Belly program are riders such as four-time US National Champion Fast Fredy Rodriguez, who won a stage at the Giro and participated in all three Grand Tours. Tyler Farrar won stages in all three Grand Tours, as well as a number of one day races in Europe. Jason McCartney rode for Discovery Channel, Team CSC, and Team Radio Shack and won a stage at the Vuelta. Danny Pate rode for HTC-Highroad and Team Sky, and counts stages in the Giro and Tour of Romandie on his palmarès.
More than a team
I had the pleasure to spend some time with the Jelly Belly Team back in 2010, and it was an incredibly fun time. I had the privilege of joining the team for a training camp in the spring of 2010, and I learned fast the difference between an amateur rider such as myself, and a professional. On one memorable day, we were riding up to Palomar Mountain from the team base in San Marcos.
When we arrived at the foot of the first climb, Danny had me join the sprinters. Our group was given a generous head start of five minutes. Fortunately, my group liked to climb as much as I did, and we spent most of the climb in conversation. I remember Brad Huff looking at his computer, and mentioning the rest of the team will be joining us shortly. Not ten-seconds later, the climbers flew by us like we were standing still.
Tour of California
I got to join the Team at the Tour of California that year. The thing that really sticks with me about that squad was how familiar everyone was with one another. It’s a cliche, but that team really was more a family than a team. The team meals at the hotel were always a blast, and I the guys really got along with one another. I would help Danny run errands. Every time we stopped at a gas station or grocery store he always asked me if I wanted ice cream. Of course I did! So Danny and I would drive back to the hotel eating ice cream. It was a great time.
We at EB Cycling Law wish Danny the best of luck on the hunt for a sponsor, as his program has launched an incredible number of cyclist to the top level of professional cycling. I obviously have a history with the team beyond that of a casual observer. I still believe Danny’s program is invaluable to the development of domestic cyclisting. Considering the number of professionals who have gone through his program and ended up winning in the biggest races in the world, it would be a shame for him to close up shop. Thanks for reading, and as always, keep the rubber side down!