With just over a week left to the start of the Rás Tailteann, a second American team has been confirmed for the event. The USA Jelly Belly – Maxxis team joins the previously-announced USA CCB Foundation – Sicler squad, and looks set to be one of the strongest international teams in the event.
The five-man line-up will include the Americans Jacob Rathe, Taylor Shelden, Curtis White and Ben Wolfe, as well as the Mexican Ulises Castillo Soto.
Rathe is a highly experienced rider, recently winning the green jersey at the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Last year, he took the King of the Mountains jersey in the prestigious Tour of Utah and also won the Tour of Xingtai in China.
Shelden finished fifth in the mountains classification in the latter event, and White won the prologue in the 2016 Tour Alsace. Wolfe was third on stage four of last year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay, while Castillo Soto took third overall in the same race.
“Jelly Belly candy company is the longest title sponsor of a professional cycling team,” says team CEO Danny Van Haute. “It is the 19th season now in 2018. The team that we are sending to the Rás is well balanced for this race.”
“Our leaders will be Jacob Rathe and Curtis White, but that could change after each stage. The team goals are to win a stage, podium in a few more stages, and have a rider in the top 15 in GC.”
Race director Eimear Dignam feels the USA Jelly Belly – Maxxis lineup will make its presence felt. “The lineup from the team looks impressive, and riders like Jacob Rathe have built up both results and experience in very big events,” she says. “When added to the international teams already announced it looks like we will have a really competitive edition of the race.”
In addition to the two American teams, there will also be squads from Belgium, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Wales in the event.