Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast invited to South Africa and Ireland

Fresh off its first race at the Tour of the Bahamas, the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro...

Fresh off its first race at the Tour of the Bahamas, the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team announced plans to compete internationally by sending squads to race in South Africa and Ireland. At the Tour of the Bahamas, Martin Gilbert took second in Stage 2, third in Stage 3, and was the highest overall finisher for the team, in sixth overall.

"We're pleased with our result in the Bahamas," said Performance Director Jonas Carney. "It was a good way to warm up for the season and to test the way the guys work together. Judging from this first race, we're looking at a highly motivated season and we want to race against the best competition there is – so that means competing both domestically and on the international stage."

The team will head for the ten-day, 1,400km Tour of Maloti in mid-March where it will race against UCI Professional Continental squads from Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Australia, and South Africa.

Two months later, the team will race in Ireland in the 54-year-old FBD RÁS, an eight-day, 1,200km stage race that loops around Ireland from Naas to Skerries.

"We invited the team to join the race this year because we have a lot of respect for the roster of riders Jonas Carney has put together," said organizer Dermot Dignam.

"Ireland will be an excellent event to get our athletes in shape and conditioned for some of the bigger US races in June including Philadelphia," said Carney. "We're looking at a tough, eight-day stage race with big climbs and a lot of potential for stiff crosswinds and rain. But we'll be ready."

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