Bontrager DS Axel Merckx loses another good one.
That’s just the reality of a top development squad like Bontrager-Trek. The more successful you are at taking young riders to the next level, the quicker they leave and punch a hole in your roster. It’s hard to keep a guy like Taylor Phinney hanging around too long.
Last year Mercky lost the top U23 climber Joe Dombrowski to Sky; this year he’s already lost Jasper Stuyven (moving up to the new Trek WorldTour squad) and Lawson Craddock (linked to Argos-Shimano) and now Nate Brown who is headed to Garmin-Sharp,
“It was a easy decision for me to join Team Garmin-Sharp,” said Brown. “The moment I talked to Jonathan Vaughters I knew this was the team I wanted to be on. Ever since I was a junior I watched his team in the Tour de France, and I knew one day that I wanted to ride for them. It’s a dream come true and I’m so excited to race for Team Garmin-Sharp next season.”
I interviewed Nate Brown at the Tour of Calfornia for an upcoming Cycle Sport magazine story on the Bontrager squad and was impressed but his enthusiam and energy. He loves racing his bike and that kind of boyant optimism and a willingness to learn will serve him well at Garmin.
Brown wasn’t the big story in Califronia where teammate Craddock took Best Young rider. But a few weeks later in the US National championships, he took third in the time trial. He also took the U23 National TT Championship title and first overall in the Tour de Beauce.
Garmin is in reload mode with vets like Christian Vande Velde retiring and David Millar close to hanging up the wheels. In with the younger guns like Aussie Lachlan Morton, recently signed Tom-Jelte Slagter from Belkin, Phil Gaimon from domestic squad Bissell and Nate Brown.
It remains to be seen whether Nate Brown has the comedic talent to keep up with team boss Jonathan Vaughters and funny men like Dave Zabriskie. Gaimon has already proven his laugh-generating ability with his recent cyclingnews blog about riding the Tour of Utah however Brown’s improv skills are unknown.