Australian squad Savings & Loans has announced the roster it will send to contest the first Tour of Korea-Japan this Saturday. The outfit will be led by team strongman David Pell, whose general classification efforts will be supported by Chris Luxton and Will Dickeson.
"The team are riding really well, having won almost every tour in Australia so far this year," said team manager Stephen Cunningham. "This is our first race in Asia which will become our main greater focus for the team over the next few years."
The team has drawn on the experience of other riders in the squad, including Brett Aitken, who claimed third place in the Tour of Korea in 2003, and Joel Pearson who raced the event in the same year. Cunningham hopes to bring home a strong result for Pearson, who wasn't able to be included on the team's roster as he continues to recover from a car accident in April.
Organisers of the event, based off the Tour of Korea, are expanding to include Japan in this year's event as a symbolic move of the two nations moving on after centuries of conflict. The addition of an opening prologue and first stage on Japan's shores is also indicative of the organiser's intentions to develop the event into a Tour de Asia, with the aim of adding stages in more nations over the coming years.
"Not knowing the competition all that well, we're going to have to assess our goals after the first road stage in Yamaga, Japan," said Cunningham. "This is without doubt going to be one of the biggest challenges for us."
Savings & Loans for Tour of Korea-Japan: David Pell, Chris Luxton, Will Dickeson, Craig McCartney, Tim Roe and Russell Gill.