Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

20 year old local racer Jacob Rathe, signs major pro team contract

Posted by on August 16th, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Jacob Rathe
(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.

Jacob Rathe -- headed to Worlds-2.jpg

Rathe in 2008.
(Photo © J. Maus)

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!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Kevin Hedahl August 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Wow, congrats Jacob!

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  • Charley August 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Congrats! Add Rathe to the list of great pros who moved here (Horner and Craig, for example), and we’re starting to get a nice contingency going. We’ll probably never rival Colorado or California (not enough elevation, I’d guess), but we’re looking good.

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  • Peter August 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, and a classy racer too.

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  • dan August 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    @Charley, I think you meant “contingent”, not“contingency”.

    I’m curious about how the resident racers handle the winter — do they all go elsewhere for winter training?

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    • jeff August 16, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      depends on the racer and their bank account. but yes, many go south for awhile. or shared apts. in Europe (eg. Spain). Horner lives between Bend and So. Cal. Some go to Hawaii, etc.

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    • Jeff August 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      There’s always cyclocross. Which I always enjoyed watching Jacob race.
      Congratulations, and best of luck Jacob.

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  • Brad August 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Chapeau, Mr. Rathe!

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  • naomi August 16, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    How has this story not received more comments?! I remember reading the story you posted about this guy years ago – just goes to show hard work pays off. Very proud of him.

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  • Kristen August 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Congrats, Jacob!!!

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  • Evan August 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

    My wife and I took Jake down to Sea Otter about six years ago. He won the circuit race at Laguna Seca on a solo breakaway. He was so far ahead the announcers thought he was (almost a) lapped rider. After the circuit race he said “I want to go pre-ride the (25 mile) XC course.” So we did. On Sunday he raced the XC and won by ten minutes.
    Back when I raced CX and mtn in the Portland area a lot I always knew how well I was doing by how long it took Jake (starting later in the Jr class) to pass me. Usually it wasn’t long.
    Ride well and ride fast, Jake. And keep the rubber side down.

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  • A.K. August 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Late to the party, but this is super awesome. Best of luck to Jacob! What a cool team to ride for.

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  • robb rathe August 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Jacob and I share the same last name, but we’ve never met. For the last 6 or 7 years everytime I buy something in a bike shop the cashier would say “are you related to Jacob Rathe” I looked him up and have been following him ever since. It’s been cool to follow a rising star. Hopefully we’ll be following him in the peloton in France soon.. Congrats Jacob!

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    • lyle August 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

      You’re supposed to say you are related to him. That’s when items mysteriously start vanishing from your receipt, accompanied with a ‘See you soon!’

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  • Bjorn August 18, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    watch your back Jacob, Jonathan Vaughters seems to be trying to become the king of mistreating riders…

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