UCI Continental team V Australia's Jonathan Cantwell is on his way toward another successful season after capturing his first National Racing Calendar (NRC) victory at the Sunny King Criterium held last weekend in Anniston, Alabama.
The Australian National Criterium Champion aims to improve on an already impressive palmares this year and has a top goal of winning the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships held on June 5 in Pennsylvania.
"I think I can top last season," Cantwell said. "TD Bank Philadelphia is definitely in the cards for me, I've always finished that race every time I've started it and I know what I need to do to train hard for it this year. I really want to nail down Philadelphia as my priority for this season."
Cantwell and his teammates arrived in the US last month to compete at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California, the first race on the NRC. Although they did not secure a victory at the four-day event, Cantwell placed third in the stage two criterium and second in the final stage. He went on to win the Sunny King Criterium ahead of Mike Northey (Pure Black Racing) and Rahsaan Bahati (Pista Palace) the following weekend.
"This is really important for our team," said Cantwell following the criterium win. "We tried really hard in Redlands to get a couple of wins but were second and third on the podium. To come out and get the top step tonight is great. We love coming to Anniston to do the Sunny King Criterium."
Cantwell was a key player in garnering his Fly V Australia outfit the NRC team title last year. In addition, he placed second in the NRC individual classification, behind Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home) and ahead of Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare). His stellar season included victories at the Tour of Elk Grove, Dana Point, Joe Martin Stage Race and the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium, along with multiple other podium finishes.
"Two years ago, in 2009, I had an awesome year in American and last year was great," Cantwell said. "Every year I get to know the races inside and out. This year, the good thing about coming into these races is that I know all of them and I know all the mistakes I made last year, whenever I got second or when I didn't podium. I know how to rectify those mistakes. I am going to tie in all the NRC races and we have such a strong team this year that V Australia is going to do everything we can again in 2011."
Cantwell, along with eight of his Fly V Australia teammates from last year, signed a contract to compete under Pegasus Sports owner Chris White's proposed new ProTeam. The team failed to receive the UCI license that it requested and Cantwell was placed back on the newly named V Australia Continental team for this season.
"It was a little bit of a knock back not getting into the European program but I guess at the end of the day that's cycling, that's life, and every sport takes hits and has highs and lows," Cantwell said. "I'm just taking it as it comes. The good thing for me is that I'm racing with V Australia and with all the guys that I know. I'm still under the banner of Chris White so I'm not upset about coming back to the US season."
The V Australia team also includes Johnny Walker, Darren Rolfe, Bernie Sulzberger, Christopher Winn, Taylor Sheldon, Sean Sullivan, Hayden Brooks, Ben Kersten, Michael Freiberg, Cameron Peterson, Nick Walker, Zach Davies and Scott Law.