The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro team is gearing up for its first entry into European racing, as a five man squad, led by Jonas Carney, left Wednesday for the FBD Insurance Ras starting May 20 in Naas, Ireland. Dan Bowman and Dominique Perras, who replaces the injured Jonny Sundt, along with Justin Spinelli, Ryan Roth, and Nick Waite will comprise the squad.
The 54-year old FBD RÁS is a UCI-ranked, eight-day, 1,200-kilometre stage race from Naas to Templemore in the Republic of Ireland. With an anticipated field of 150 riders from around the world, the race includes 20 King of the Mountain climbs and a 174-kilometre final stage road race. Stage one, May 20 includes a 20 kilometre category two climb.
"The European style of racing and the terrain throughout the Ras will be good for our guys," said performance director Jonas Carney. "We're looking to race aggressively, attack on the steep climbs, and hopefully get some results in what is a very tough field. It will also be perfect preparation and timing for the Commerce Bank Triple Crown and the first of many more UCI races we hope to compete in.
"We have our sights on competing at the international level," said John Kelly, co-title sponsor and president of Kelly Benefit Strategies. "The FBD Insurance Ras will be a perfect opportunity for us to test ourselves against a European field and plan for the future."