Sprinters Ivan Dominguez and Hilton Clarke left the American racing scene at the end of last year and joined the ProTour ranks with Fuji-Servetto for the 2009 season. However the speedsters are back to race in America for the first time this year and are ready to lead their squad at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships on Sunday, June 7.
"This is an important event for the Fuji-Servetto team," said Karen Bliss, Advanced Sports Inc. director of marketing. "Ivan hopes to race well but he is recovering from an injury and some illness. We also have Hilton who has been performing very well overseas and a talented young sprinter from Italy, Davide Vigano. I believe we have a strong team."
Dominguez, second place in the 2006 event, has jumped from a successful eight years of domestic racing into the most esteemed races abroad this year. He and Clarke took on the best of the best at the Tour Down Under, Driedaagse van de Panne, Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Turkey. Dominguez also competed in the Vuelta Castilla y Leon while Clarke went on to race in the Vuelta a Asturias and the Volta a Catalunya.
Teammates competing alongside Dominguez and Clarke at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships include young sprinter Vigano, Fabrice Piemontesi, Ermanno Capelli, Pailo Bailetti, Alberto Benitez, Jesus Del Nero and Txema Gonzalez. The pressure is on as the squad will be competing in front of a sponsor-filled audience.
On Saturday, before the racing begins, they are scheduled to meet-and-greet with the children of Cadence Cycling Foundation held downtown Philadelphia, along with an autograph signing at the event's Lifestyle Expo. Dominguez will debut the new Fuji 2010 model road bike at the race on Sunday.
"Fuji-Servetto has been incredible for us," said Bliss. "We are thrilled they are sending a team over to compete in our Philadelphia event. It is super important being in our back yard. Fuji's growth is up 40 percent so we are pleased."
Advanced Sports, Inc, the parent company for both Fuji and Kestrel brands, is located in the heart of Philadelphia. They not only provide co-sponsorship for Fuji-Servetto but also provide equipment for four other competing teams that include Professional Continental team Elk Haus and American-based team Rock Racing. On the women's side they sponsor Nürnberger-Versicherung and Jazz Apple.