Fly V Australia’s David Kemp hopes to make the most of Leigh Howard’s absence from next week’s Tour of Geelong, with the Queenslander aiming to win the Victorian race. Kemp traded blows with Howard throughout last week’s Tour of Gippsland, eventually finishing second to the youngster.
“He has a tremendous amount of class, that boy,” Kemp said. “To come second to him is pretty good and he has really helped sharpen me up for Geelong.
“I was testing myself in Gippsland for Geelong,” added Kemp. “I don’t expect to win, but if I play it smart and have a little bit of luck I’ll have a red-hot crack.”
The close racing with Howard last week has helped Kemp measure his own form, according to the rider. Howard will miss the second Scody Cup round as he contests the Tour of Ireland with the Jayco AIS team.
“I am using Leigh Howard as a guide,” said Kemp. “Last year, he was beating me by bike lengths in the sprints but at Gippsland I got pretty close to him.
“We’ve studied the Geelong course and I believe the format seems to suit me,” added Kemp.
The Tour of Geelong is a new race on the Australian cycling scene, with the region having previously held the UCI Women’s World Cup and slated to host next year’s UCI World Road Championships.
On 72 points Kemp trails Howard in the Scody Cup standings by 31 points. The series includes Gippsland, Geelong, the Tour of Murray River and the Tour of Tasmania.
The 500km, five-day Geelong tour starts with a 48km criterium over 30 laps of a 1.6km circuit at North Shore Sports Club on Wednesday, August 12. Stages will also take in Lara, the You Yangs, Anakie, Gnarwarre, Ceres and Geelong’s Eastern Gardens before finishing with a 152km road race at Portarlington on Sunday, August 16.