SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy is well-prepared for its debut appearance at the Amgen Tour of California set to begin on Sunday, May 16, in Nevada City. The squad's sprinter Martin Gilbert is gunning for the chance to test his legs against some of the best sprinters in the world.
"I am really happy about that," Martin Gilbert told Cyclingnews. "I think it's a step in the right direction for the team. When this team started up two years ago, the plan was to grow to the top level in a five-year time frame. The invitation to the Amgen Tour of California falls in accordance to this plan. We now have more credibility and we can race against the big guys in the big races."
Gilbert will lead a team of eight men that include David Boily, Eric Boily, Guillaume Boivin, Lucas Euser, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisien and Andrew Randell. "The team will focus on stage wins," Gilbert said. "Our objective is to win a stage and although difficult, we will try hard for it."
Last year, the Canadian outfit made an impression on the professional peloton when Gilbert won the seventh and final stage of the Tour of Missouri from a bunch sprint. Gilbert believes that his result may have turned heads but it
was their consistently solid performances that sealed the deal for an invitation to the Amgen Tour of California.
"I think the stage win put some weight but it's a lot more than that," Gilbert said. "In the big American races like Missouri and Philly, the team raced well and proved that we have our place in those races. We have good sponsors that support us and as a team we have a good image and we are well respected."
SpiderTech achieved success in early season UCI 2.2 races like the Vuelta Ciclista a Cuba, Vuelta Ciclista al Uruguay and the Vuelta Mexico Telmex, winning stages in each event.
"We are well prepared," Gilbert said. "We have already raced three tours this year, Cuba, Uruguay and Vuelta Telmex. Also, with the Tour of California being placed later on the calendar this year, this gave us an opportunity to be better prepared. We had more time to train up here in Canada at the end of the winter. I believe that we are all ready to race up there."
Two of the team's riders Kevin Lacombe and Ryan Roth will not be participating in the event due to injuries and illness suffered in the early season. Lacombe was diagnosed with mononucleosis and Roth had a serious knee injury.
"They both feel better but they will not be ready for the tour," Gilbert said. "We will miss them but the team has more depth this year and we have some good guys to take their place."
SpiderTech was one of seven Continental teams invited to compete in the Amgen Tour of California along with Bissell, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Team Type 1, Fly V Australia, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Kelly Benefit Strategies.