It's a given that the basic goal for any year is to improve, but given the precedent set in the past few seasons, the GrandStay Hotels cycling team couldn't be faulted for seeking the status quo.
Indeed, with all their go-to riders from last season intact and an exciting new face on board, the GrandStay Hotels cycling team looks poised to continue their winning ways in 2010. A relatively small but tight-knit group of ten Minnesota-based riders, GrandStay Hotels should have the firepower necessary to once again chase a 50+ win season, a mark attained both in ’08 and ’09. In terms of success, the team has managed to one-up itself each of its previous five seasons, but no doubt they set the bar high in ’09.
The ’09 season saw GrandStay Hotels not only tally 51 wins and 101 trips to the podium, but also complete a Minnesota State Championships sweep—with team leader Doug Swanson taking the road, criterium, and cyclocross crowns, and Ian Stanford taking his specialty, the time trial, for the 4th straight year. Add to this the team’s successful defense of the Duluth Classic and Tour of Granite Country stage race titles and no less than ten time trial course records and it’s easy to see that the GrandStay Hotels riders have a reputation to uphold.
The team’s season kicks off in early April with a Wisconsin-based training camp, followed closely by a busy race schedule that begins in April and continues unabated until December. The team’s focus will again be events on the Minnesota racing calendar, with quite a few trips for out of state and national level competitions as well.
Here’s a look at the GrandStay Hotels ten-rider roster, nine of whom were on the team last year. The team is excited to welcome a sole-newcomer, Gregg Brandt, a young and talented rider who promises to make the team all the better.
The GrandStay Hotels Cycling Team
Doug Swanson—Cat 1 road/cx; Pro mtn—4th year racing with GrandStay Hotels
Undisputed team leader…22 wins in ’09 (including road, crit and cyclocross state championships; Durand, Ken Woods and Marty road races; Tour of Granite Country overall)…set two TT course records including the Black Dog TT (a course that’s been run for over 25 years)…can manufacture win in any manner, sprint or all day break…showed emphatically that one can be simultaneously a new dad and a cycling force
Dan Swanson—Cat 1 road/cx; Pro mtn—4th year
Nice win at the Northfield Crit—his favorite race of the year…crafty, quick and wise beyond his years…always a threat for the win…one of the team’s field generals and coming into ’10 with a nice head of steam
Andy Minier—Cat 1 road—4th year
Universally respected in the peleton…super domestique…threat in any break…tireless workhorse who doesn’t seem to feel pain, must even like it…sacrifices individual results for the good of the team…if any one deserves a win, it’s him…2nd best arm-wrestler on the team
Ian Stanford—Cat 1 road; Pro mtn—3rd year
Untouchable over 40k time trial at the local level and very competitive on the national level…made the podium in the time trial at both the elite and masters nationals as well as defending state time trial title for 4th straight year…defended title at Duluth Stage Race in dominant style…set 5 time trial course records in ’09…7 wins and 16 podiums in ’09…one of the team’s “old-guard” with a wealth of experience to share
Micah Moran—Cat 1 road/cx—4th year
Always makes the break…especially strong as the summer wears on…performs best in the “big” events…one of team’s field generals who’s effective at directing team tactics on the fly…making big strides in the time trial as well…slated to be first-time father this summer, a fate teammate Doug Swanson has shown bodes well for his palmares
Jens Brabbit—Cat 1 road—2nd year
Made significant gains in ‘09 despite still being very young…impressive win at the Sibley County Road Race against the strongest assembled field of the year…also won the Campus Crit…very strong time-trialer and potent all-arounder…finishing up a successful season of competitive cross country skiing for Gustavus College so look for him to have some good early season form…mature for his age…demonstrates real character…team is glad to have him on board
Gregg Brandt—Cat 1 road—1st year
Very welcome addition to the team…one of team’s youngest guns…a proven power on the road who can do it all—sprint, win out of a break, time trial…along with teammate Jens Brabbit part of a promising new generation of Minnesota-born racers
Lance Beuning—Cat 2 road—6th year
Consummate, selfless teammate…rode some brilliant races in ’09 but his efforts were invisible because he gave everything to help craft a teammate’s win…easy-going personality who’s liked by all and a calming force at big competitions…look for him to get the individual results he deserves in ‘10
Daniel Casper—Cat 1 road/cx—5th year
Partial to the break and the chase…TT specialist with 3 course records in ’09…total of 17 wins and 33 podiums in ’09…got on the podium three times at the ‘09 masters national championships, including winning a national championship in the team pursuit…won ’09 Minnesota Time Trialist of the Year…oldest guy on the team
Matt Williams—Cat 1 road/cx—6th year, team president
President and architect of the GrandStay Hotels cycling team…ever-improving rider in his own right…tireless in all arenas (for instance, he has four kids…and a very understanding wife)…is freakishly strong…team’s best arm-wrestler, by a long shot