Health Net presented by Maxxis riders believe they have a number of favourites to challenge for the two USPRO Championship titles up for grabs this Labor Day weekend in Greenville, South Carolina.
Beginning on Friday (today) with the individual time trial, Jeff Louder, Scott Moninger, Roman Kilun, Tim Johnson and Doug Ollerenshaw will challenge the hilly, 20.15 mile course through the rolling hills around Greenville. The team expects Louder and Moninger to have a chance at the podium, but they'll be up against 2004 national time trial champion David Zabriskie (CSC), 2005 national champion Chris Baldwin (Toyota-United) and local favourite George Hincapie (Discovery).
Sunday will be the first ever American-only USPRO road championship, where more than 100 top American cyclists will roll out at 12:30pm ET for the 121 mile race, which will include five trips over 2,000-foot Paris Mountain, and finish with three 3.76-mile circuits in Greenville.
"It's definitely a course that favours a rider like me," said Health Net's Doug Ollerenshaw, who will be motivated to make a good showing after losing much of the early part of the year to a fractured femur. The course also favours Louder and Moninger, as well as Kirk O'Bee, who also possesses a fast finish at the end of a hard race.
Other favourites will include local lad Hincapie, 2005 champion Chris Wherry (Toyota-United), who won last year's championship while riding for Health Net. Levi Leipheimer will be the only Gerolsteiner rider represented, while TIAA-CREF are playing the numbers game, entering 15 of its riders in the race.
"Both the time trial and road courses are definitely challenging," said Health Net pb Maxxis directeur sportif Jeff Corbett.
Riders: Kyle Gritters, Tim Johnson (TT), Mike Jones, Roman Kilun (TT), Jeff Louder (TT), Scott Moninger (TT), Kirk O'Bee, Doug Ollerenshaw (TT), Garrett Peltonen, Mike Sayers
(TT): time trial only