David Kemp will join Fly V Australia team-mate Jonathan Cantwell in the UniSA-Australian National Team for next week’s Tour Down Under following his strong ride to second at Sunday’s Scody Australian Open Road Championships. Kemp was assured the position regardless of whether race winner Travis Meyer contested Tour Down Under, as Meyer already has a professional contract with ProTour outfit Garmin-Transitions.
Both Kemp and Cantwell are looking forward to the chance to join the national team, which comes with the blessing of team owner Chris White. The duo will join riders like ISD’s Simon Clarke, Australian Under 23 Time Trial Champion Rohan Dennis and Trek-Livestrong rider Timothy Roe.
“For me, it’s such a massive opportunity,” said Kemp. “It’s ProTour you just don’t get an opportunity to ride that kind of race unless you’re on a ProTour team, or a national team in this situation.”
“It’s a bit of a dream come true, really,” added Cantwell. “It’s fantastic for both of us both individually and then also Fly V Australia. This opportunity doesn’t come around every day of the week, so you really take it with both hands and focus. We’ve both been training really hard since the start of December in preparation for the nationals to do really well there, so we know we’re in really good form and we’re both focused. It’s really a great way to start 2010.”
Neither of the riders, who are attending a Fly V Australia team camp on the Gold Coast this week, know what will come of their one-off ProTour appearance. Kemp expects to just be aggressive as possible throughout the event, as Ritchie Porte did in 2007 with a near stage-long solo attack.
“I’m just going to race it really aggressively, take the opportunity with two hands and just see what comes out of it,” said Kemp. “I don’t know what’s going to come out of it, if it’s a ProTour contract or if it helps Fly V Australia turn ProTour, who knows, so you’ve just got to race it, really race it the best we can.
“I was unsure of how far I’d go in the road race last weekend, but the result shows the depth of my form, it’s there,” he added. “Once I recover from the weekend I’ll bounce back ready for a solid six days of racing.”
While being realisitic about the team’s overall chances, Cantwell expects both he and Kemp will do their bit to animate the race. Cantwell spoke highly of composite team manager Dave Sander’s abilities, adding that he’s looking forward to lining up in Adelaide, South Australia, for Sunday’s pre-race criterium.
“David’s known and renowned as a break-away guy, so if he gets into a small group he knows he can definitely win a stage there,” said Cantwell. “We might not have the strongest team. Given we’re not a ProTour team we might not be able to go for the overall classification, because we might not have the depth of a ProTour team, but we’ll try to pull off a lot of coverage – like Jack Bobridge did.”
Bobridge made headlines while riding for the UniSA-Australian National Team squad in 2009 when he broke away through his home town in the company of Lance Armstrong. Bobridge has since claimed the International Cycling Union World U23 Time Trail Championship and will contest the event again this year with Garmin-Transitions.