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We hear the questions, at the race and on-line, about medical care.

The Amgen Tour of California is such a large-scale rolling production, with more than 20 separate groups going from one town to another everyday – how could medical care be structured?


The second car behind the race is a convertible with a doctor in the back. There are several other cars in the caravan and behind it with doctors or nurses in them. They stop at any crash, and the doctor right behind the field can hold consultations with riders either as they rejoin the race after a crash, or when they drop back to talk. Think of it as having an on-call doctor at your work, a few feet away at all times, and available without appointment.

In each city that we visit, this same team sets up a medical suite. Its location is communicated via the Technical Guide that all teams receive before the start of the race. These are, to a normal doctor’s office, what the Jelly Belly Cycling Team’s trailer is to a normal bike shop. Everything is there and it is staffed by the best. This is where allergies are treated, follow-up visits happen, and less urgent matters are dealt with.

After Johnathan Freter’s tumble on Stage 1, his elbow was examined while he rode alongside the medical car and immediately after the stage. At the start of Stage 2, it was Freter’s wrist that was more painful. During the transfer after the stage, team staff were in contact with the medical team making the same journey. On arrival, the doctors let us know where they were set up.

The exam is a little different than at your family doctor, only in that it is very matter-of-fact. There isn’t a lot of time, and the doctors understand that the athletes know the general vocabulary of sports injury. In Freter’s case, the doctor said, “You are most tender here, and I’m not concerned about that at all. You are a little tender here, but that’s a more likely location for a chipped bone or fracture…”

Calls were made to local hospitals and urgent care facilities and one was located that could get the correct x-ray done and return the results fastest. Team staff took Freter over and came back an hour later with a disc of x-ray images. All the while, the medical team are tending to other riders and their own logistics, including dinner. Three doctors came back out to the suite to read the film, and it confirmed their suspicion.

Freter’s injury is not one that mandates stopping – the doctors will only force a rider to stop in the case of concussion or more severe head trauma. He started stage 3 and rode through a great deal of pain, unable to brake with his left hand on some of the most technical and fastest descents of the entire race.

Johnathan has had a restful night and will have a follow-up visit with medical this morning. At this point, the rest of the season is as important as the rest of the race. His pressing onwards yesterday should earn him The Team’s MVP award this morning – we will see.


Fred “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez lived up to his name, outsprinting the field in Chattanooga, Tenn., to win the U.S. Professional Road Race Championship.

fred-rIt was Rodriguez’s fourth national championship and the second for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda. In 2004, Jonas Carney won the criterium championship while riding for the Bean Team.

“This was a huge win for our team,” said Jelly Belly p/b Kenda director Danny Van Haute. “We made a plan and it worked. Everybody had a job to do and they did it.”

In the time trial championship, Ian Burnett placed 11th and Ben Wolfe — at just 19 years old — finished 15th.

“Both riders rode their best. This was the first time in team history that we placed two riders in the top 15,” Van Haute said.

In the road race, Rodriguez battled over Lookout Mountain and fended off a late challenge from Phil Gaimon of Bissell to win the championship in a thrilling field sprint.

Said Van Haute: “I am so proud of Freddie, the team and the organization.”

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda rider Alex Hagman recently visited a school in Fort Collins, Colo. He sent this note:


This was a really fun school visit. We had about 50 to 60 students at the IB Lesher Middle School, here in Fort Collins.

Georgia Gould (Bronze Mountain Bike Olympian, and multi-time national champion) was there as well. It was awesome. The kids were super engaging and this went really far for our community. I gave the teachers some Beans to give out during the rest of the week however the saw fit. They’re going to have a bunch of hyper kids on bikes running around! 🙂

Thanks y’all,

The Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by Kenda has signed three-time U.S. National Champion and seven-time Tour de France rider Fred Rodriguez, it was announced today.

“We’re more than excited to obtain Fred Rodriguez and have him part of the team for the remainder of the season,” said team General Manager and Director Danny Van Haute. “Fred’s experience and leadership will be a huge asset for Team Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, not to mention he’s a great bike rider who will no doubt garner great results.”

Rodriguez raced for the now defunct Exergy team last season and showed well at major U.S. races like the Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, notching several top 10-stage placings.

“After dialogue with several teams, I decided Jelly Belly was a good fit,” said Rodriguez. “There are a lot of things this team does both on and off the bike that makes sense for me at this stage of my career.  The team has been a staple of American racing for more than a decade and I admire that stability. Plus, Jelly Belly Candy Company is a great company with great values to support.”

Van Haute added that Rodriguez had impressed him in recent races, and, coupled with his character and business approach, were an intriguing mix for both Jelly Belly and his team. He noted that along with current sprinter Brad Huff, the squad has a strong one-two punch in fast finishes.

The 39-year-old Rodriguez, who resides in Berkeley, said he’s been rejuvenated in recent years after racing his early career primarily in Europe.  He said he hopes to show well in major North American races Jelly Belly competes, beginning with the U.S.A. Cycling National Championships for road race later this month in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Nicknamed “Fast Freddie”, Rodriguez’s professional career spans more than 15 years. His career highlights include three U.S. professional road race wins in 2000, 2001, and 2004; stage wins in big European stageraces: Tour of Luxembourg, Tour of Switzerland and Tour of Italy.  He has won sprint points jerseys in the Tour of Switzerland and twice in the Tour de Georgia, at one time the largest American stage race. He was the long-time lead-out man for Aussie sprinter Robbie McEwen who amassed 12 Tour de France stage wins, many thanks to Rodriguez’s work.

Rodriguez also has many business interests, including his inaugural Fast Freddie Gran Fondo, scheduled for August 17, 2013, in Berkley.  Go to

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda rider Nic Hamilton sent this report after the Tour of the Gila.

More often than not our race programs involve stacked races in a variety of locations which all coincide in one single trip from home. This can make packing a challenge as the weather in North America can fluctuate dramatically from one region to another. Having packed an entire line of Ironclad gloves and Pactimo clothing, suitable for anything from the coldest wintery weather to full-blown summer desert heat, I was pleased that the Tour of the Gila arrived with a great forecast.

It turned out that we had little need for our cold weather gear and didn’t need to make any trips back to the car during the race to get the “rain bag.”

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

While the weather cooperated marvelously, there was no changing the altitude factor. The most challenging aspect of racing the Tour of the Gila is coping with the lower pressure up in the high desert. Nutrition, hydration, race strategy, sleeping and recovery are all dramatically affected and whoever can deal with it the best comes out on top. The five-day race featured a dynamic range of events including three road stages, a downtown crit, and a challenging time trial course. With such variety in the stages our mechanics were pumped to have 3T wheels onboard; the Mercurio 40 carbon race wheelset was light enough for the first day’s Cat 1 mountain finish and extremely aerodynamic and strong for the big power sprints in the crit and rolling breakaway. One wheel, any conditions — the fewer decisions athletes need to make the better.

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

We stayed safe throughout the race, always keeping close to each other and near the front, and it paid off well as the first few days saw some carnage on the road. The non-altitude guys were the helpers for the tour and kept those on the squad who were acclimated and ready to climb sheltered and fueled. The most notable ride of the tour was Serghei Tvetcov finishing in the top ten on the queen stage, the Gila Monster, among some of the best climbers in North America.

Our lives were made much easier throughout the tour as we were staying in a massive 1800s home only two blocks from the heart of Silver City. The house itself showed the character of the region with adobe style walls, several courtyards, and great gardens throughout the property. It was large enough to sleep 10 people and the kitchen was up to the test of pumping out some gourmet and extremely healthy meals. What a difference home-cooked food makes on the road! We were so thankful to have the option to choose our own menu and have a few “tastes of home” which are often lost when traveling.

Photo by Brian Hodes

Photo by Brian Hodes

The proximity to all the races allowed us to ride to and from most stages, which again, made an enormous difference. Thank you to the great hosts we had in Silver City and Mel at the Three Dogs Café who took great care of our caffeine and dessert needs. Silver City was a town full of smiles, warmth, and unique culture – something that was not lost on us. Many of us are already talking about coming back to train and all of us are certainly keen to return next year and have another crack at the top step in New Mexico.

Thanks for reading and look for the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team in St. Louis, Missouri next weekend for the Tour de Grove.


Jelly Belly p/b Kenda put riders in the breakaway each day of the Joe Martin Stage Race, an event that includes one of the hardest criteriums in the U.S.

Ricardo Van der Velde, Christiaan Kriek, Brad Huff, Morgan Schmitt, Luis Lemus, Nic Hamilton and Sean Mazich represented the team in Fayetteville, Ark.

In the 110-mile road race, the break moved early. Lemus joined three other riders and stayed away for 80 miles. Lemus dropped his three partners for the last 15 miles. He put in a terrific effort, getting caught with just 5k to go. Van der Velde placed fifth, and Kriek finished 13th.

The next day, at about mile 20 of the 112-mile road race, Schmitt jumped into an eight-man breakaway. Later on, Hamilton and 13 other riders bridged up to the break, giving Jelly Belly p/b Kenda two riders in the front group. Hamilton went on to finish ninth, and Schmitt 11th.

The 85-minute crit on the final day covered a 1-1/2 mile course with a .4-mile climb on every lap. Huff got into a four-man breakaway that kept the field at bay for an hour. They rode hard and were caught with only 100 meters to the finish.

Hamilton ended up seventh in the GC, and Schmitt was 19th.

“The boys showed a lot of heart in a very hard race. Great riding,” said team director Danny Van Haute.

Next up for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda is the Tour de Gila, May 1-5 in Silver City, N.M.

Rider Emerson Oronte wrote this recap of the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda training camp:

The 2013 season marks the 14th for Team Jelly Belly presented by Kenda—a feat which makes Jelly Belly the longest running title sponsor in all of U.S. cycling. As has been the tradition over that time, the guys met up for our first team camp in sunny San Marcos, Calif., for a few weeks of sponsor presentations, media training, photo shoots and training. Below is a collection of photos compiled by the guys over the course of our first week and a half of camp.


Upon arriving at camp, riders are assigned a time slot in which headshots are taken. In addition to smiling for the camera though, riders are also given free reign to pick and choose from a LARGE collection of Jelly Belly merchandise which Stephanie Scott, Jelly Belly’s Event Marketing Manager, brings for us each year. Fortunately, I was given an early time slot and, as a result, was able to snap a photo of everything before it was hoarded away. Each year, I tend to find one or two new items that I just can’t seem to stop snacking on. This year, I would have to say it was the Jelly Belly Sours. Out of fear of embarrassing myself, I will refrain from saying specifically how many of those things I ate. Needless to say though, it was a lot.

Following a day of outdoor photos (by Brian Hodes of Velo Images), the team assembled on day three for sponsor presentations and media training. In celebration of Jelly Belly’s 14th year as a sponsor, our team director, Danny Van Haute, decided to pull out some of the more prestigious jerseys won by Team Jelly Belly riders over the years. As the longest-running title sponsor in the United States, it goes without saying that there is a great deal of history behind this team and these jerseys are proof of that.


As luck would have it, despite being sunny and warm the previous three days, when the time came for us to finally get on our bikes and ride, rain decided to tag along with us. Regardless of the weather though, we managed to pull off a good ride—after all, misery loves company and who better to share it with than teammates.

Battling the elements would be something of a theme this week as, in addition to rain, we also endured a fair bit of snow at the top of Palomar Mountain a few days later while previewing this year’s Amgen Tour of California route. Based on the photos below, it’s clear some of us thoroughly enjoyed the climb while others…not so much.



As if riding for 4-6 hours wasn’t tiring enough, we then had to participate in our annual “team bonding event.” Over the last few years, Danny has thought of some pretty bizarre activities to bring us together as a team–a few years back, we participated in a three hour Navy SEALs boot camp, last season it was Go Karts and paintballing; and this year it was three separate, one-hour kickboxing classes spread out over three days.


Below, you can see our instructor—Marshall Hamil—teaching Alex Hagman the technique of defending against jabs to the upper body. Following the three days of training, we then got in the ring and applied what we had learned in various sparring matches against our teammates. When all was said and done, I had the distinct honor of being kicked in the neck by Brad Huff and punched in the face by Alex Hagman. At the same time, I’m pretty sure the punching bag that I used for practice inflicted more damage on me than I did on it. Hooray for team bonding!


With that, team camp has drawn to a close and the race season is upon us. Personally, I expect big things from the guys this season and I know we all share this sentiment. One of the goals of the team this year is to keep our fans and sponsors updated with stories from racing and being on the road. We hope you’ll check back to the team website frequently to see what we’ve been up to. At the same time, if you have any questions you would like to ask the team, feel free to post it in a comment below or shoot it to either our Twitter (@JellyBellyTeam) or Facebook accounts.

Until next time,