Canadian Pro Continental squad Spidertech Powered by C10 returns to the Amgen Tour of California this year with a bolstered squad from previous editions, but 2011 KOM jersey winner Jonathan "Pat" McCarty will have a tough row to hoe if he wants to repeat his 2011 result.
McCarty is recovering from a long bout with mononucleosis that held back his training and racing prep coming into the California race.
"We're hoping Pat can be the same old Pat he was last year," team director Steve Bauer told Cyclingnews Friday. "But our expectations are a little bit softer, obviously, because he's on an upward track. He's getting fitter and feeling better every ride he does, but again, we know the game here and you have to be on top really to pull that off. So we have to play it by ear with Pat to see how his form is and play it day by day. Maybe we can pick off a breakaway, and who knows, maybe go for a stage."
The addition of a former Saxo Bank Tour de France veteran, Denmark's Brian Vandborg, will lend some experience to Spidertech, which also features two Canadian U23 riders who will race in California for the first time.
"Hugo Houle is going to get some valuable experience from this race," Bauer said. "He and David Boily are both talented young guys under 23 who are hoping to show some of their stuff."
The squad in California also includes Ryan Anderson, Guillaume Boivin, Lucas Euser and Caleb Fairly. Bauer said the team will likely join the fray of squads hoping to make it into the breakaways and onto the live TV coverage.
"Everybody wants to play that role, but we have to be a part of it," he said. "We want to be aggressive at the right moment and be in some breakaways that count.
"On the big climbing stages we have to hold our own and see if one or two of our riders can really follow the top guns on general classification, which is never an easy ask at this level, but our guys have made great progress and we're looking for a great race. They're ready and we'll play our best cards everyday."
Spidertech powered by C10 Amgen Tour of California roster:
Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA), Ryan Anderson (Can), David Boily (Can), Guillaume Boivin (Can), Lucas Euser (USA), Caleb Fairly (USA), Hugo Houle (Can), Brian Vandborg (Den)