The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team clocked up its first big win of the 2008 season when the squad took the front for the final eight laps of race three of the USA Crits Speed Week, setting up Alex Candelario for a sprint to the line. The win in the Uptown Greenwood Pro Cycling Challenge came after several top five finishes and a podium placement at the Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic, spelling a return to form for the second-year squad led by Jonas Carney.
"This is how we like to race," said Ken Mills, assistant performance director, Kelly Benefit Strategies. "Our athletes have been coming out and riding super aggressively all week. Last night we had all of our guys riding with strong legs and using their heads to race as a team to shut out competition and take control of the race."
After some early breaks, covered by Ben King, David Veilleux, Martin Gilbert and Brian Bucholz, the full squad took the front from eight laps out and rode the train to set up Candelario, pinching the corners and denying attempts by other racers to come over the train.
"This was smart, aggressive racing," adds Mills, who added that there is more to come.
From Speed Week, the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team is moving on to the US Air Force Classic in Arlington, Virginia, where they will be racing on "home turf" in front of Maryland-based sponsors Kelly Benefit Strategies and Medifast. After that, the team will be fine-tuning performance and race strategy ahead of Philly Week.
"We've been working hard at making this happen," said Jonas Carney, performance director. "This year we added new riders to the line up and have been trying out some new things in the past few races. It's great to see it all coming together and we'll be going into our next few races and Philly Week with a lot of momentum and confidence."
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for live and post-race coverage of the US Air Force Classic on Sunday.