Team Jamis – Hagens Berman Adds Matt Cooke.
Veteran racer and climbing specialist Matt Cooke has signed with Team Jamis – Hagens Berman for the remainder of the 2013 season. The Boulder, Colorado resident will focus on the upcoming hilly high-altitude races, the Tour of Utah and the US Pro Cycling Challenge.
The road that led to Matt’s signing with Team Jamis – Hagens Berman was not an easy one, but his perseverance and positive attitude has paid off. When his previous professional team folded unexpectedly at the end of last season, he was forced to scramble to figure out his future.
“It was a such a blow when I first heard the team was folding,” Matt recalls. “I had just gotten married, and instead of relaxing I had to spend the next few months thinking if should continue in the sport or just stop. I knew I was a good rider and decided I wanted to go down fighting. The New York City based elite amateur team Champion System-Stan’s NoTubes gave me a home and I raced my tail off.”
Matt caught the attention of team director, Sebastian Alexandre, with his consistent top results throughout the first half of 2013. He was as major protagonist that animated nearly every major stage race he entered, with four second places in stages of big races such as the Tour de Beauce, the Tour of the Gila, the Redlands Cycling Classic, and the San Dimas Stage Race.
“I’ve known Matt for a couple of years, but I didn’t need a rider like him until this year when I decided to focus on the stage races,” says Alexandre. “Throughout the season he has fought very hard to perform at the races he has gone to, and I noticed it right away. Matt is a very strong rider, a smart rider, and a great climber. He is perfect for the hard and hilly races at the end of the year. We will provide him with the support he needs and I think he will continue to contribute with good performances.”
Matt is motivated for the second half of the 2013, especially for the races in Utah and Colorado. “I know the team is aiming big for Utah and Colorado and I want to contribute there. I look at our team and I see some real potential for these two stage races.”
He’s also looking forward to teaming up with Columbian climber Janier Acevedo. “I think Janier is the best climber racing in the US right now. Racing with him this year, I could tell that he is an amazing talent. I want to be there to help him in the high mountains.”
On a personal note, Matt is thrilled to continue his professional career with Team Jamis – Hagens Berman. “I am just so grateful that Sebastian is taking a chance on me. I have matured in the last few years of racing. I believe the next few seasons could be my best yet.