Mesa promotes Rostel to head cycling coach

Colorado Mesa University promoted interim cycling coach Patric Rostel to head coach, the institution announced Wednesday.

Rostel has been the interim coach since Rick Crawford was fired in mid-December. Crawford admitted to helping a couple of professional cyclists dope when he coached them, for which the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reprimanded him, and CMU reduced his coaching role and placed him under supervision. Then, another allegation against Crawford was brought to CMU’s attention, leading to his firing.

“I’ll be around as long as Mesa wants to keep me,” Rostel said. “I like the school and the area.

“In the end, if I want to go back to school, I can do that.”

Rostel, 26, was one of 23 candidates for the job.

“Out of 23 candidates, he rose to the top,” CMU Cycling Director Scott Mercier said in a news release. “I think he is a great example both athletically and academically, and now he will lead by example.

“He had to compete for the job and earn it, and he did it. I’m really looking forward to working with Patric to build this program into the prototype for collegiate cycling. We are uniquely positioned to assume that mantle.”

Rostel, who also races for the team, has been the assistant coach since 2010.

“When Rick was fired, I wanted to take over,” Rostel said. “Scott told me I should apply. I said, ‘Why not?’ It’s pretty awesome and rewarding seeing people succeed.”

Rostel will continue to compete on the team through the spring. He has been on the CMU cycling team since 2009. Rostel is the defending national road criterium champion.

“It’s a good opportunity to teach in a race,” he said. “It’s harder for me to tell what’s going on in a race from the outside.”

Rostel will learn how to recruit on the fly, but he said he already has received some verbal commitments for the next school year.

“It’s exciting to see the response,” he said.

Colorado Mesa is ranked No. 1 in the nation in Division II with the road cycling season left this spring.

“We want to win the overall (national) title,” Rostel said. “That would draw more attention to us.”

He will graduate from Colorado Mesa in May with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. He also has a degree in wholesale and foreign trade.

Rostel started his competitive cycling career in 1998 in Germany. In 1999, he was accepted at the Werner Seelenbinder School of Sports in Berlin, Germany. It is a prestigious school for promising young athletes that has produced many German cycling stars, such as Jens Voigt and Erik Zabel.

“I’m grateful for the support of the team,” Rostel said. “If they didn’t, I wouldn’t apply for it or get the job.”

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