Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 16th, 2011 at 12:31 pm
(Photo: Pat Malach/Oregon Cycling Action)
Remember Jacob Rathe?
He’s the local bike racer we caught up with three years ago (when he was just 17) prior to racing in the Junior World Championships in South Africa for Team USA.
Rathe, now 20, has moved far beyond the Junior ranks. One day after taking a stage win at the Volta a Portugal on Saturday, news broke that Rathe had signed a one year contract with the Garmin-Cervelo — one of only three UCI World Tour teams based in the U.S. That’s not some under-23 or junior development squad; that’s Garmin’s “A-squad” (as one insider put it) that finished first in the team competition at this year’s Tour de France.
Rathe, who started his racing career with the Beaverton Bicycle Club, will spend a year racing alongside the biggest names in the sport.
According to local race reporter Pat Malach of Oregon Cycling Action, it was the way Rathe won on Saturday, not just the victory, that raised eyebrows. “The Volta is a big, mid-level European pro race and he beat an impressive European field,” Malach shared via email, “And the way Jacob won, getting into an opportunistic nine-rider breakaway after suffering for days in the mountain stages that decided the overall, proved tactically smart. He also won a very tactical sprint from that group that required a great deal of patience and perfect timing after 109 miles of racing… he proved he’s ready for the big show.”
Here’s the video from the finish of that stage which shows not only Rathe’s exciting sprint victory, but gives you a sense of how big the race was.
Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Executive Director Kenji Sugahara says Rathe’s rise is, “Like in baseball — going from bush leagues all the way to the majors.”
Sugahara, says it’s also a testament to OBRA’s supportive community and successful programs. “But it goes beyond OBRA,” he added, “It shows that we have a great biking culture in Oregon that we can all be proud of. It shows that we can produce world class athletes in a state with a smaller population than most. It shows that the more cyclists there are — the more racers there will be — and the higher likelihood that we can find and nurture these phenoms.” (Sugahara is also a Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) board member.)
Speaking of phenoms, Sugahara says we should also keep our eyes on Bend residents (and brothers) Ian and Austin Boswell and Colby Wait-Molyneux of Portland, three other rising racing stars.
Stay tuned for updates from what I hope to be Rathe’s successful season on Garmin-Cervelo. Go Jacob!