The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast pro cycling team, in training for this weekend's USPRO Criterium Championship in Downers Grove should have plenty to talk about and just as much momentum. Led by two-time winner and performance director Jonas Carney, the lineup also includes former champion Dave McCook who took second place in stage two of the Elk Grove Village stage race just last weekend and Martin Gilbert, who placed third in stage three.
"Of course we're rarely satisfied with anything other than a win," said performance director Jonas Carney of having Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast athletes on two of the three podiums in Elk Grove. "But for a first-year team, we've never ridden better and we're going into the USPRO Criterium with a lot of momentum and showing that we mean business."
McCook won in 1994. He will be joined by team-mates like Martin Gilbert who won the Pan Am Championships in May, former Canadian National Champion Dominique Perras and new sprinter Keven Lacombe. Reid Mumford is a local resident of the Chicago area who will be riding on home turf for one of his first major races after recovering from a tibial plateau (ankle) fracture earlier this year.
"There's probably no more competitive Criterium in the world," said Carney, putting his A-team lineup of sprinters through intensive legwork for the race he says is not just about sprinting.
"Typically it comes down to a field sprint, but it's not just a sprinter's race. I've competed many times and know you need to have incredible fitness to last in the Midwest heat and humidity in August and against the kind of field this criterium attracts," said Carney. "It's going to be a tough race but we have guys who know how to battle for position and deliver a sprinter. And this criterium will come down to position. Five laps out you need great fitness especially as the battle becomes chaotic in the closing laps." Carney should know; he won the race in 1997 and 2004.
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast for Downers Grove: Martin Gilbert, Reid Mumford, Ryan Roth, Jonny Sundt, Keven Lacombe, Dave McCook, Dominique Perras, and Dan Bowman.