Teams will line up for the United States' professional national championship races this weekend in Greenville, South Carolina in search of the covered stars and stripes jerseys in the time trial and road race. Team Type 1 and the Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast squads will face off against the powerhouse teams Garmin-Chipotle, Bissell, BMC and Health Net, but have vowed not to curtail their aggressive style in this strong field.
Team Type 1 Assistant Sport Director Vasili Davidenko thinks four of his riders will have a good chance at the win. Last year Shawn Milne and Chris Jones placed sixth and ninth, respectively and will be protected riders. "Dan (Holt) and Ian (MacGregor) have also shown excellent form lately (so) they have to be protected up to a point too," Davidenko said. "But to win, we have to race aggressively. We can't wait until the end."
In addition to those four, Team Type 1 co-founders Phil Southerland and Joe Eldridge will also be among the 113 professionals who line up for Sunday's 1 p.m. start. They are believed to be the first competitors with Type 1 diabetes to ever compete in the national championship road race.
For Southerland, it will be his first major race since undergoing surgery in May to repair a constriction in the iliac artery in his left leg.
"Obviously this is a new, great experience for Joe and Phil to be part of the pro team at nationals," Davidenko said. "Joe needs to be active in the early part of the race and if any break goes, he will need to be there. For Phil, this is his first race with the team after his surgery, so he will be helping the guys from the beginning until the end."
Eldridge will also compete in Saturday's 20.7-mile (33 km) individual time trial at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.
The Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast will be looking to get revenge for its near miss and second place at the USPRO Criterium Championship. Director Jonas Carney said his team is ready to challenge for the title of US Pro champion. "Our preparation for these events has been perfect and we are eager to see what our team can do on such a difficult course," said Carney. "The USPRO races are important and significant races on our calendar. We will be racing to win."
"Our guys have had a busy, intense race season," says Jonas Carney, performance manager. "They're racing the best they have all year and we're coming into Greenville with some tremendous momentum and accomplishments under our belt. We're here to take podium placements and give the stars and stripes jersey our best shot."
Among the squad are Alex Candelario, who took second in the Downer's Grove USPRO Criterium just a few weeks ago, Andrew Bajadali who was second overall in the Tour des Pyrenees, France, and Ben King, who placed in the top ten in both the USA Cycling U23 Road Race and Time Trial.
Dan Bowman, who won the KOM jersey at the Tour de Nez this season is also in the squad. In the Time Trial, KBS/M will be represented by Reid Mumford and Justin Spinelli who who rode alone to success this season taking second overall on the GC at the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.