By Shane Winn | Jan 26, 2008

image Chicago’s largest competitive cycling team, XXX Racing-AthletiCo, today announced a dramatic new look for its 2008 team uniform that celebrates the lives of two teammates killed while racing in 2007, and will help shine a spotlight on the team’s objective to honor their deaths by building national awareness of, and improvements to, race safety. An all-black kit with minimal use of white will replace the team’s traditional white/red/black color scheme, adding a dramatic statement to the 2008 peloton. “The new XXX-AthletiCo team kit is one important way we will honor Beth Kobeszka and Pieter Ombregt in 2008,” said team president Bob Willems. "We miss them dearly, their deaths were tragic, and we intend this year to lead the charge in improving race safety.” The two teammates’ names will also be permanently added to the team’s jersey. Both Beth Kobeszka and Pieter Ombregt died in 2007 in bicycle races. Beth was tragically struck by a vehicle during a road race in Peoria, Ill., in July 2007, while Pieter died in September 2007 during a weekly practice race series in Matteson, Ill. Both cyclists raced for XXX Racing-AthletiCo. In the wake of their deaths, the team formed the XXX Racing-AthletiCo Race Safety Task Force. The task force will focus on ways cyclists, race promoters, local governments and USA Cycling can work cooperatively to improve cyclists’ safety at races. The team also is planning a campaign leveraging the dramatic new look that will allow cyclists from the Chicago area and across the U.S. to show their support for race safety. An announcement on the details of this campaign is expected as the task force recommendations are solidified.