By Greg Johnson
Having just finished its debut in North America at the Tour de Beauce, Oceania continental team Savings & Loans is already planning an expanded program on the continent for 2008. The Adelaide, Australia based squad finished the Canadian event with one rider, Craig Mccarney, in 14th place, while Peter Mueller took 35th overall.
"We have plans to expand our race program in the US next year," declared team manager Stephen Cunningham. "The racing is fantastic, the teams are strong and the sport is growing in stature.
"Our first race in North America was a tough one!" he added, referring to the early loss of Olympian Brett Aitken to sickness and Will Dickeson due to injury. "I thought the guys rode a great race. We were left with three riders for the remainder of the Tour. Craig McCartney, David Pell and Peter Mueller rode really well for the remainder of the race, being aggressive and finishing strongly each stage. Pelly and Craig were in several breaks during the Tour, unfortunately none of them resulted in a stage result, but that's racing."
The credit union-backed squad's five riders will now head to the United States where they will contest this weekend's Rochester Twilight Criterium. Cunningham, a former Herald Sun Tour stage winner, also thanked the North American teams for welcoming the squad with open arms.
"When you come over from the other side of the globe, it's hard to bring everything you need," he explained. "Other teams and the event were fantastic making sure we had what we needed. Particular thanks to the guys from Navigators and they're to be congratulated for the result - Ben Day road a perfect race and was well supported by his team mates, especially Glen Chadwick.
"It just shows that wherever you go to race, there are Aussies doing really well in this sport," concluded Cunningham.