By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Tasmanian Karl Menzies, one of Health Net-Maxxis' top sprinters, will not be with his team this weekend to contest the $152,500 prize purse of the Tour of Elk Grove. Menzies received word on Monday that his father, who was terminally ill with cancer, had passed away. Speaking with Cyclingnews on his way to the airport, Menzies said the team was immensely understanding, telling him to return when he is ready.
Menzies recently won the overall and three stages of the Tour de 'Toona, dedicating his wins to his father who he had visited just a few weeks before. "That's the motivation, the one main reason I'm here," he said after winning the decisive sixth stage, struggling to get the words out. "His exact words when I left was... he just wanted me to come back over and win some races... so that's what I'm here to do. I talked to him last night and... we did it."
Team communications director Jeff Sobul said Menzies will be back in the States in time to compete at the USPRO Criterium Championships in two weeks time. "Jeff Corbett said he will be back for Downers Grove. He should be in Tasmania for a week."
Cyclingnews extends its condolences to Menzies and his family.