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Rathe’s time is now with Portugal win, Garmin contract

  • By Brian Holcombe
  • Published Aug. 15, 2011
  • Updated Aug. 18, 2011 at 11:49 AM EDT

Jacob Rathe has gone in one year from Jelly Belly amateur to stage winner in one of the toughest mid-level stage races in Europe. The 20-year-old Chipotle Development rider is set to move again in five months when he joins the top level of the sport with the Garmin-Cervélo ProTeam.

Rathe took a tactical, nine-man sprint Sunday in the final stage of the Volta a Portugal in Sertã after a long breakaway. It was Rathe’s second professional win of the year, after an early season victory at the Rutas de America in Uruguay. With UCI 2.1-level sanctioning, the Tour of Portugal is on par in the federation’s eyes with races like next week’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Tour of Utah.

After his final-stage win Sunday, Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters announced via Twitter that Rathe would make the move to the elite team at the end of the year:

“Here’s some great news! Jacob Rathe wins stage 9 Tour of Portugal! JR was 3rd in u23 Roubaix earlier this yr & comes to the pro team in 2012.”

Rathe is the first neo-pro signing announced for Garmin heading into 2012. American Danny Summerhill is currently riding as a stagiaire trainee with the elite squad in the U.S. and, at 22, could be in line for a promotion. Longtime team member Alex Howes, who was set to join Garmin in 2011 before restructuring his contract last fall, is also likely to make the move to the top-shelf squad at the end of the year.

After his success in Uruguay and subsequent narrow miss in the third stage of the Giro do Interior São Paulo, Rathe won a bronze medal in the U23 road race at the Pan-American Games in May and later that month was third again, at the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs.

In June Rathe finished second in the U23 national championship road race after tagging onto a late acceleration by teammate Rob Squire. The two Chipotle riders rode together to the finish, with Squire taking the win. Three years ago a similar situation developed in the nationals road race when Kirk Carlsen led the squad to a sweep of the podium ahead of Peter Stetina and Tom Peterson, who both went on to join the top-level Garmin squad.

Rathe was not immediately available for comment.

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Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe

Brian Holcombe is the editor of VeloNews.com. Holcombe joined VeloNews in 2009 following years spent introducing students to whitewater kayaking and working in avalanche control, among other more risky ventures. A Master of PR and Marketing Communications, his graduate work at the University of Denver focused on innovation, digital media management and custom publishing. Holcombe is a CSU Ram fan and proud parent, and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride. Follow him on Twitter @FCBrian.

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