2012 runner-up Anthony disappointed in loss of Battenkill, will chase other goals
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

2012 runner-up Anthony disappointed in loss of Battenkill, will chase other goals

by Shane Stokes at 7:08 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Optum/Kelly Benefit rider would like to aim for results in Redlands and Tour of California

Jesse AnthonyRunner up last year, Jesse Anthony has said that he is disappointed that the Tour of the Battenkill elite pro race will be replaced by a Gran Fondo last year. The Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider identified the event as one of his targets for 2013 in November, saying that he wanted to stand atop the podium after going close before.

“I would love to take another crack at the Tour of the Battenkill next year,” he said then. “I have been close to winning that race twice, and I would really like to pull it off.

Anthony has reacted to yesterday’s news that the Elite race was no more, saying that he was looking forward to the event and would miss it. “Tour of the Battenkill was one of only two challenging single-day races in North America, along with the national championships, and it is a shame that it will not be on the professional calendar this year,” he told VeloNation. “There are very few races of attrition in the North America calendar that suit hard men, survivor-type racers.

“Tour of the Battenkill was a very important addition to the US Pro racing calendar because it added much-needed variety to our race program.”

Race organiser Dieter Drake explained yesterday why the decision was taken. “We needed to make room for the Gran Fondo event which is in pretty high demand,” he said. “There are also fewer and fewer good reasons to be involved in professional cycling these days so it had to go, unfortunately. Many of our sponsors are much more interested interest in Gran Fondo style events.”

Drake had previously said that the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service doping controversy had made the sport a tough sell to backers, as well as what he described as a UCI reaction that was inconsistent and ‘stumbling along.’

Anthony hopes that over time the value of the sport is appreciated again by those in a position to back it. “It is sad to me that the promoter was not able to secure sponsorship to showcase the gritty, unrelenting characteristics of bike racing,” he said. “It seems that these attributes of bike racing are undervalued in America. That is a shame to me because I think it's one of the most unique qualities of this sport.

“I hope that the value of the Tour of the Battenkill and other races like it will become apparent to sponsors and fans in North America.”

There are of course many other events on the calendar, both in the US and overseas, and the 27 year old rider will focus in on doing as well as possible in those. He’s satisfied with where he is at right now.

“My training is going well so far this winter. I'm starting a little slower this year than last year with the hopes that I will be fresher later in the year,” he said. “Tour of the Battenkill was one of my targeted races this year because it is one of the few races in North America that suits my strengths. Now that it's out I will look for opportunities in other races like the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Tour of California, granted that Optum p/b KBS receives an invite.

“We're also looking to do some races in Europe early in the year, so I will of course be searching for opportunities there as well. As I mentioned earlier, I don't ever put too much weight into a single day on the race calendar, so even though it's sad that Tour of the Battenkill is cancelled this year, it does not change my approach to preparation for the Spring.”

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