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Australian team keen to continue aggressive racing from Tour Down Under
Having made their debut at the Tour Down Under last week, Drapac Professional Cycling's summer of racing continues at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour on Wednesday, 5 February.
Upgrading to Pro Continental level for 2014, the Melbourne-based outfit featured in breakaways at the national championships and Tour Down Under over the past month with Will Clarke claiming three most aggressive awards at the South Australian race.
Drapac return to their home Tour with a versatile team capable of continuing their characteristic style of racing and claiming stage wins with a trio of riders who will look to feature at the pointy end of Wednesday's Prologue – a 2.5km individual time trial in the heart of Melbourne – and will start as one of the favourites to take the leaders jersey into the first road stage.
Current under-23 national time trial champion Jordan Kerby was the winner of last year's prologue and his results at the race put him on the cycling map.
"I'm in pretty good shape coming off the nationals. I kicked back a little bit afterwards and then ramped up the training again," Kerby said.
"The Sun Tour starts with a 2.5km prologue in Melbourne. I'm excited for that because it's what I like to do. It's nice and technical so it should be pretty exciting. I'd like to do a good stage there."
Joining 21-year-old Kerby is 2013 Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic winner Jack Anderson and 2012 Tour Down Under stage winner Will Clarke.
The 28-year-old also has his sights set on the race against the clock having animated the road of the Tour Down Under.
"I felt pretty strong at the national championships and at the Tour Down Under. For a few stages there I was going pretty well. With a week of rest I will freshen up and be ready to go again at the Sun Tour next Wednesday night," Clarke said.
"I'm looking forward to the Prologue and seeing what I can do; it's not often you get to do a 2.5km stage. It will only probably be a three-minute effort so it will be full gas and hopefully I can do alright."
Jonathan Cantwell will the team's sprinter while Victorian Lachlan Norris and 2007 national champion Darren Lapthorne are focused on challenging for the win on the final stage up Arthurs Seat.
Team Director Agostino Giramondo expects big things from his team after a strong start to the season. "It's a very attacking team," Giramondo said. "We've got some very good hill climbers to cater for Arthurs Seat on the final day and a few Prologue riders in Jordan Kerby, Jack Anderson and Will Clarke.
"We've always performed well at the Sun Tour but we're yet to win one. In 2011 we had Rhys Pollock yellow right up until Arthurs Seat. Last year we had Will Walker finish second in the stage to Healesville.
"Hopefully this year with a better roster and a better training block leading into the three Australian events - Nationals, Tour Down Under and the Sun Tour – we can hopefully perform at the level needed to be in contention for the overall win."