UCI Continental V Australia team's Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels is confident that his team will is capable of putting together a strong performance at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships held in Sunday, June 5. Jonathan Cantwell and Aaron Kemps will be the team's designated sprinters for the 250kms one-day classic.
"Aaron and Jonathan are in good shape and they both live for this race," Vogels told Cyclingnews. "We have a good bunch of guys to help Jonathan and Kemps at the finale. I wouldn't say that we have a very good lead-out but we do have a good group of strong guys to help out in the final."
"Having two sprinters here is essential because you need that last person," he added. "It is all about getting that good position coming out of the last bend, if it comes down to a sprint."
Cantwell targeted this event since the beginning of the season. He started racing at the Australian National Championships and went on to compete at the Tour Down Under. Stateside, he competed at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Sunny King Criterium, which he won, and Joe Martin Stage Race, where he became ill and was forced to skip Tour of the Gila.
"I think Jonathan is just coming on to good form now," Vogels said. "I think he has learned a lot about this race and what to do in the final. He has been the kind of sprinter that comes from the back because he has that acceleration, but here you can't do that here. He has to be top five coming into the sprint."
Confirmed riders for the race include Cantwell and Kemps along with Bernard Sulzberger and Michael Frieberg. Also on the preliminary start list are Hayden Brooks, Taylor Sheldon, Sean Sullivan, Chris Winn, and Johnnie and Nick Walker.
Philadelphia is known for its warm summer conditions and high humidity. However, this weekend's predicted forecast is a reasonable 78 Fahrenheit.
"The guys rode up the wall today and even though it was cooler today, it was still hot on the climb," Vogels said. "Believe me, I know because I rode one lap with them and went straight back. We are hoping for a cooler day tomorrow because it will make it easier for our guys. Everyone finishes this race completely caked in salt, even when it's cool."
V Australia recently completed a two-week training camp in Boulder, Colorado to prepare for the daunting distance of the race. It is one of the longest races on US soil and history has shown that it can take its toll on the peloton, which typically arrives to the finish line with less than half of the starters.