Jelly Belly p/b Kenda will bring mix of climbers and all-around performers to the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. Announcing the squad's roster on Monday, Team director Danny Van Haute had a positive outlook for the race.
“We’re just going to ride very aggressively and show the world we can race our bikes,” Van Haute said. “But I'm confident that our riders will be in the mix in every stage."
Van Haute expects the 2011 edition to be the most difficult – and most vertical in the history of the race. With that in mind, the Jelly Belly roster is full of climbing talent. Riders like Hagman, Hernandez and Hamilton can lead in the climbs and those who do a little of everything – Will Dickeson, Jeremy Powers, Alastair Loutit and Bernard van Ulden to feature in the breaks.
Ken Hanson is Jelly Belly’s only true sprinter coming to California. He has finished in the top 10 in previous Tours of California and is coming off a final stage victory at the Tour of Korea last month.
“Ken will be the point man in stages 2 and 3, the only flat stages of the race,” Van Haute said.
Powers, who is racing his third Tour of California, said he and his teammates are ready to “really stick our noses out there".
“We play the underdog role well,” Powers said. “Everybody gets excited. Who doesn’t love to be the young up-and-comer?” That would include Nic Hamilton, who got his first taste of major stage racing in Korea and is eager to take the line at the Amgen Tour of California.
“I’m thrilled as a first year pro to be given the opportunity to compete at this level,” he said. “I’m really motivated to contribute to the team’s success in California.”
The race starts Sunday in Lake Tahoe and winds up in Thousand Oaks on May 22.
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California
Will Dickeson (Aus), Alastair Loutit (Aus), Alex Hagman (USA), Ken Hanson (USA), Sergio Hernandez (USA), Jeremy Powers (USA), Bernard van Ulden (USA), Nic Hamilton (Can)