Former U.S. pro criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati, who had a difficult 2010 season when his eponymous team fell apart mid-season, is joining an ambitious Southern California amateur team.
The renamed SKLZ p/b Pista Palace team is built on the former Pista Palace bike shop squad. The team will focus on National Racing Calendar wins and the USA Crit Series title.
Team director Justin Beope calls the squad a “rag-tag fugitive fleet of America’s best criterium racers.”
2011 SKLZ p/b Pista Palace roster
2010 Texas Tough champion Eric Marcotte returns to the team. He’ll join Bahati, masters national criterium champions Chris DeMarchi and Jamie Paolinetti and a handful of younger riders.
“Our goal is simple, we want NRC wins,” said Beope. “We have the two fastest sprinters in the country and the NRC race schedule is dominated by criteriums and so I think (winning the NRC team title) is very possible. Has an amateur team ever won an NRC title? How cool would that be?”
“I truly believe that the American public is disgusted and disenfranchised with what is happening in pro cycling. All these tour champions and pros being busted for doping and just the general lack of investment and interest in amateur elite cycling is such a downer. This team is about a group of guys from every different walk of life, age, and profession coming together to prove to the “normal dude” they represent that cycling is about passion and commitment and not contracts and drugs. And I think it will be interesting to see who will be considered the David and the Goliath when we show up at NRC criteriums.”