By Greg Johnson
Australian Continental team V Australia/Virgin Blue presented by Successful Living Foundation will target next month's Australian Open Road Championship crowns, having wrapped up the criterium title last weekend. The team's Bernard Sulzberger claimed the national criterium title at Cronulla in Sydney on Sunday, after out-sprinting Peter McDonald (Drapac Porsche).
Team manager Chris White said Sulzberger's victory is the first success to come from its "operation green and gold" and hopes that more fruit will come at next month's road titles. "We've been running operation green and gold internally for six months," said White of the team's focus on the national jerseys.
V Australia/Virgin Blue presented by Successful Living Foundation will send a number of riders to the national titles, with last year's Under 23 Time Trial Championship runner-up Ben King likely to be one of its contenders. "We are going to put a team of riders in that race which are capable of taking that jersey away," said White.
Sulzberger is also hoping to get in on the action in Ballarat next month. "It would be awesome to be able to have both the national criterium and road jerseys in the closet at the same time – I think the green and gold stripes look pretty good on me," he laughed.
After putting its toe in the American cycling waters this year, contesting Superweek, V Australia/Virgin Blue will further push into the market in 2009. Having teamed up with the Successful Living squad, V Australia/Virgin Blue presented by Successful Living Foundation is hoping to get an invite to the Tour of California.
"2009 will be big year for our team," said Sulzberger. "We are on the way up – we have a great program, a great bunch of guys and we will be doing a lot of criteriums. It will be fantastic to be able to race in the national champion's jersey."
V Australia/Virgin Blue presented by Successful Living Foundation's 2009 roster will include Bernard Sulzberger, David Kemp, Alessandro Bazzana, Hayden Brooks, Ben Day, Ben King and Jonathan Cantwell. The team is expected to release another four signings later this week.