Jamis-Sutter Home's Argentine sprinters, Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo, have returned Stateside to compete in a full National Racing Calendar (NRC) season. Anibal proved his strong early-season form when he won a bunch sprint at stage two of the San Dimas Stage Race on Saturday, a win he dedicated to his late brother, Armando.
"I want to dedicate my victory to Armando and all the people who have supported my family," Borrajo told Cyclingnews. "We have many friends here in the US and in Argentina and this win was for them."
The pair recently lost their oldest brother and former Argentine National Champion to a tragic death following a suspicious kidnapping in December. The 34-year-old was kidnapped for two days and released just prior to his death and reportedly suffered from injury and shock. Police are currently investigating his death and are not ruling out a possible homicide.
"I'm very happy for this win because this is a really hard time for me," Borrajo said. "My brother Armando was a very special guy and we really have to keep going on. I was thinking of my brother in the last moments of the sprint in San Dimas. Armando is always with me and he was with me in that final sprint. But, we really miss him and this is difficult."
Alejandro and Anibal will next compete at the NRC opener at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, held from March 30 - April 3 in California. Their role on the team is to support one another during sprint finishes. According to Jamis-Sutter Home directeur sportif Sebastian Alexandre, Anibal's recent victory was important on many levels.
"Most importantly, cycling is the sport that Alejandro and Anibal love," he said. "When Armando passed away they just wanted to keep riding and keep racing. This is a very emotional time for them because they raced with Armando for many years. Anibal's win is a good way to start the season for both of them.
"Next, the win is good for Anibal because last year he was riding good at this time but he got injured," he added. "This year, he is not injured and he is feeling good and it was a sign of his form that he won today. His win is also good for the team because it is nice to start the season in the US with a win. We are all very happy for Anibal."
Jamis-Sutter Home is using the early season events such as the San Dimas Stage Race, Redlands Bicycle Classic and the Tour of the Gila to prepare for its main target at the Amgen Tour of California, held from May 15-22. Following the marquee stage race the team is aiming to deliver strong performances at top level stage races and criteriums, where the Borrajos will continue to support each other in the sprints.
"We want to have a steady season and the goal for us is for Alejandro and Luis [Amaran] to be going strong at the Tour of California," Alexandre said. "Anibal is a fast guy and between him and Alejandro they will share the sprinting job on the team.
"With Anibal sprinting well now, he is the sprinter and Alejandro will lead him out. Further into the season, when Alejandro is sprinting well, Anibal will lead him out. The target for both of them is the sprinting job for our team."