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Kelly Benefit Strategies recons Tour of California finale

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Kelly Benefit Strategies riders bomb a descent at 50mph.

Kelly Benefit Strategies riders bomb a descent at 50mph.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Scott Zwizanski has the map and signals a left turn on the Tour of California circuit.

Scott Zwizanski has the map and signals a left turn on the Tour of California circuit.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Kelly Benefit Strategies team members pass the famed Rock Store on Mulholland Highway. Plenty of motorcycles were out as well on this scenic day.

Kelly Benefit Strategies team members pass the famed Rock Store on Mulholland Highway. Plenty of motorcycles were out as well on this scenic day.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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It's a beautiful day to ascend Mulholland Highway.

It's a beautiful day to ascend Mulholland Highway.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Kelly Benefit Strategies team members continue their ascent of Mulholland Highway.

Kelly Benefit Strategies team members continue their ascent of Mulholland Highway.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Plenty of tight switchbacks on Mulholland Highway.

Plenty of tight switchbacks on Mulholland Highway.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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The lead group of Kelly Benefit Strategies team members get closer to the top of the Mulholland Highway climb.

The lead group of Kelly Benefit Strategies team members get closer to the top of the Mulholland Highway climb.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Jesse Anthony (right) and Dan Bowman duel near the top of the Mulholland Highway ascent.

Jesse Anthony (right) and Dan Bowman duel near the top of the Mulholland Highway ascent.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Jesse Anthony still has his pain face a few hundred metres after arriving first at the high point of the circuit on Mulholland Highway.

Jesse Anthony still has his pain face a few hundred metres after arriving first at the high point of the circuit on Mulholland Highway.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Jesse Anthony didn't take long to recover from his Mulholland Highway ascent.

Jesse Anthony didn't take long to recover from his Mulholland Highway ascent.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Reid Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies)

Reid Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies)
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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After out-climbing his teammates, Jesse Anthony (right) Twitters about owning bragging rights to Mulholland Highway much to the amusement of Ian MacGregor

After out-climbing his teammates, Jesse Anthony (right) Twitters about owning bragging rights to Mulholland Highway much to the amusement of Ian MacGregor
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Alex Candelario grabs a bite to eat.

Alex Candelario grabs a bite to eat.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Zach Bell (left) and teammates stop to shed some excess clothing approaching Westlake Village.

Zach Bell (left) and teammates stop to shed some excess clothing approaching Westlake Village.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Zach Bell stretches his leg while some teammates answer the call of nature

Zach Bell stretches his leg while some teammates answer the call of nature
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Neil Shirley leads his teammates down a sinuous descent.

Neil Shirley leads his teammates down a sinuous descent.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Kelly Benefit Strategies riders prepare to depart the team's beachfront training camp house for their Tour of California course recon.

Kelly Benefit Strategies riders prepare to depart the team's beachfront training camp house for their Tour of California course recon.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is ready to ride.

Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is ready to ride.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Ian MacGregor awaits the start of the Tour of California stage eight circuit recon ride.

Ian MacGregor awaits the start of the Tour of California stage eight circuit recon ride.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Guy East is new to Kelly Benefit Strategies for 2010.

Guy East is new to Kelly Benefit Strategies for 2010.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Kelly Benefit Strategies team members roll along through farm country on an ample shoulder.

Kelly Benefit Strategies team members roll along through farm country on an ample shoulder.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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There's plenty of farmland to cross between Oxnard and the Tour of California's stage eight circuit.

There's plenty of farmland to cross between Oxnard and the Tour of California's stage eight circuit.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Reid Mumford (right) and Dan Bowman head the paceline as the team ventures into the hills after miles of flat farmland.

Reid Mumford (right) and Dan Bowman head the paceline as the team ventures into the hills after miles of flat farmland.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Kelly Benefit Strategies team members tackle an ascent as they near the stage 8 Tour of California circuit.

Kelly Benefit Strategies team members tackle an ascent as they near the stage 8 Tour of California circuit.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Scott Zwizanski (left) and Cheyne Hoag focus on climbing while Zach Bell (right) checks the progress of their teammates further back.

Scott Zwizanski (left) and Cheyne Hoag focus on climbing while Zach Bell (right) checks the progress of their teammates further back.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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While Zach Bell has left his teammates behind on a twisting ascent.

While Zach Bell has left his teammates behind on a twisting ascent.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is all smiles under gorgeous California sunshine.

Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefit Strategies) is all smiles under gorgeous California sunshine.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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David Veilleux (left) and Cheyne Hoag set tempo.

David Veilleux (left) and Cheyne Hoag set tempo.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)
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Post KOM refueling break is over, time to descend into Westlake Village and then ride back to Oxnard.

Post KOM refueling break is over, time to descend into Westlake Village and then ride back to Oxnard.
(Image credit: Peter Hymas)

The Kelly Benefit Strategies team spent the final training day of its Oxnard, California pre-season camp reconnoitring the 33 kilometre circuit to be utilized in the Amgen Tour of California's eighth and concluding stage.

Thirteen members of the US Continental team spent four hours on Saturday riding to the circuit, completing one lap, and then returning to their home base for the training camp, a beachfront house in Oxnard.

While much of the country is still facing frigid and snowy weather, the Kelly Benefit Strategies team enjoyed another day of ample sunshine and warm weather which characterized most of its eight-day sojourn in Southern California.

Some of the riders tested their early season form on the climb of Mulholland Highway, the circuit's stiff ascent which Tour of California riders will negotiate four times. Jesse Anthony, new to the team in 2010, earned bragging rights by being the first Kelly Benefit Strategies rider to crest the top.

"The course today was beautiful," Anthony told Cyclingnews. "Based on some of the other courses I've raced on I think it's one of the hardest I've seen in the US.
It's going to super-selective.

"From watching the race in the past it seems like the last stage is pretty controlled by the leader's team, but if a guy like Andy Schleck or another super-good climber is close to the overall it's going to be hard for a team to control."

"It isn't an easy circuit race the GC guys can sit in on," Scott Zwizanski told Cyclingnews. "I think there were five or six kilometres of rollers after the [Mulholland Highway] climb before you descend, so any time you climb and then go over rollers before you have a rest that's definitely an opportunity for riders to put distance into others. There's potential for a shake-up, that's for sure."

While entries for Continental teams in the Tour of California have yet to be confirmed, Kelly Benefit Strategies is structuring its early months of racing to best prepare its riders for the American stage race.

Kelly Benefit Strategies was denied a Tour of California entry in 2009, but the team believes that its palmares in 2009, particularly three stage race victories at international UCI events, coupled with an even more ambitious international presence in the early months of 2010 will be enough to gain an invite.

"We're doing everything we can on our end to earn an invitation," Jonas Carney, the team's performance director, told Cyclingnews. "I feel confident that we're going to get in this year and will be really disappointed if we didn't.

"We're full-steam ahead to get ready for that race. We'll be skipping some US races to specifically go race in Europe and prepare properly for the Tour of California. The only way to be prepared properly is to race internationally. We can't just wait around and hope for an invitation."