Fly V Australia’s early domination of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) series left its management with the difficult job of selecting its eight-man team for the upcoming Amgen Tour of California, set to begin in Nevada City on May 16.
“My job is going to be very hard to pick the final team for the Tour of California,” said Fly V Australia directeur sportif Henk Vogels. “There are so many good guys right now but, that’s a great problem to have.
“This all started back in November and we’ve had four training camps this year, including one which was for the Tour of California,” he added. “We stuck to the NRC program whereas other teams went overseas. We’ve had a split program with some guys racing the criteriums on the east coast, some at the Tour of Gila and some at the Joe Martin Stage Race.”
Fly V Australia has selected an eight-man roster, including: Jonathan Cantwell, Benjamin Day, Charles Dionne, Aaron Kemps, Darren Lill, Bernard Sulzberger, Jay Robert Thomson and Phil Zaijek. Team technical director Ed Beamon warned that the roster could still change before the race’s start.
“The roster might change a little bit before the start of the race, but it really has been agonizing for us to pick the right squad,” Beamon said. “We based it on team goals and ambitions at the race. I really think that we could have chosen any one of the 12 guys and been confident and able to deliver on our goals. It’s hard when you know you have guys that could essentially be starting the race on another team and you have to leave them behind because you can only start eight.”
In the end, Lill was chosen over Jai Crawford as the only change to the preliminary roster announced earlier. “In the end we believe that we have chosen a well balanced team to achieve our objectives," said the team's managing director Chris White.
The team is aiming to place a rider inside the top 10 overall, win a stage and hold either the mountain or sprint jersey early in the race, according to Beamon.
“What we tried to do is take a look at the stages and the overall ambitions of the team and we went with guys that would give us the ability to focus on a couple of different objectives,” Beamon said. “We created a little bit of depth with general classification-type guys and sprint-type guys.”
Fly V Australia currently leads the NRC team classification. The squad won the San Dimas Stage Race, a precursor to the NRC season, Redlands Bicycle Classic, Dana Point Grand Prix and the Sunny King Criterium. Most recently the outfit topped the podium in the final stage of the Tour of the Gila and won two stages of the Joe Martin Stage Race.