By Paul Verkuylen
Team DFL-Cyclingnews will contest the Tour of Qinghai Lake, starting July 14, with a strong lineup including last year's fourth place overall Daniel Lloyd, who will be hoping to go a few places better this year. Along with the Tour of Austria and Tour de Wallonie in Belgium, the 2.HC rated Tour of Qinghai Lake is one of the highest raking bike races taking place in July outside of the Tour de France.
DFL-Cyclingnews has been riding exceptionally well in the past few weeks, with a series of strong results culminating in a win for Hamish Hayes at Belgium's Pro Kermesse of Strombeek.
On July 5 Kane Oakley was second behind current Australian champion Darren Lapthorne at the Pro Kermesse in Melle. The pair got away towards the end of the race and held off the main field to the finish. "With a lap to go I attacked over the bridge, Darren Lapthorne came with me," explained an enthusiastic Oakley, who was glad his parents were present to witness the result, in his Cyclingnews diary. "We worked well together to stay away from the chase, thanks to some good work from teammate Skruf. It came down to a sprint to the line, I fell a bit short and ended up second."
Two days later in Strombeek, motivated by the strong result earlier in the week the Team lined up for another hard race. Things were not looking good for the two DFL Cyclingnews riders coming into the final three kilometers. "Two guys got a good gap on us before the windy overpass," noted Oakley. "Everyone just looked at each other and the gap grew to 200. Thinking I might just have enough left in the tank, I dragged them back and set Hamish up for the sprint I cranked it up, caught the two guys up the rode and kept going hard until the last corner. With 400m to go, Hamish came off my wheel and started the sprint; holding on to get the first win of the season for team DFL-Cyclingnews."
Team DFL-Cyclingnews leaves for the high-altitude Chinese tour today. The squad's first victory of the season will be a strong motivator for the riders, who will face tough competition from squads like Discovery Channel, Jittery Joes'and FRF Couriers NSWIS.
DFL-Cyclingnews Tour of Qinghai Lake roster: Daniel Lloyd, Dan Fleeman, Juan Pablo Wilches Rodriguez, Gert Vanderaerden, Rhys Pollock, Kane Oakley and Cameron Jennings.