Past champion Cantwell feeling ‘really, really good’ in advance of Thursday’s Australian criterium nationals
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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Past champion Cantwell feeling ‘really, really good’ in advance of Thursday’s Australian criterium nationals

by VeloNation Press at 6:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
 
Drapac Pro Cycling team did mountain training camp rather than riding Mitchelton Bay races

Jonathan CantwellThe 2011 Australian criterium champion Jonathan Cantwell has said that he is in top form and very psyched for this year’s edition of the race, which will take place in Ballarat on Thursday evening.

The 31 year old rider will be backed by his Drapac Pro Cycling team in the event, and is hoping that this combined strength is enough to overcome the Orica GreenEdge squad plus others.

He will be joined by team-mates Jai Crawford, Robbie Hucker, Ben Johnson, Darren Lapthorne, Travis Meyer, Adam Phelan, Mal Rudolph and Bernard Sulzberger.

The team has kept under the radar by choosing not to ride the recent Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic, a four-race series which saw Brenton Jones (Procon Telematics’) take the overall and Zak Dempster (Sasi), Matt Goss, Luke Durbridge (both Orica GreenEdge) and Caleb Ewan (Subaru NSWIS) win individual stages.

Instead, the Drapac riders did a training camp in Bright in Victoria.

Cantwell feels that plus his previous work has put him in perfect condition. “It’s always good to start the season trying to get a run on the board with the national championships,” he stated. “My win in 2011 was a really big highlight for me and to take the jersey away and to have that medal makes me want to do it again.

“I’m really motivated. We’ve had a great training camp in Bright over the past week and I’m feeling really, really good at the moment. I can’t wait to put a number on this Thursday.”

Directeur sportif Henk Vogels believes missing the Mitchelton races will pay off. “The best preparation for us was to do a hard training camp with intensity, long rides in the mountains,” he explained. “We see that as a better preparation for Nationals and Tour Down Under and for every race after that as well.

“Johnny Cantwell can win it,” he continued. “He’s won it before I think he can win it again. I think we’ll start with nine guys so it will be handy to have that many in. Obviously there’s going to be 120-odd guys who want the same thing but we’ve trained well this week.

Meanwhile the team has had a setback with the enforced withdrawal of its young sprinter Tom Palmer due to a back injury. He will stay in Ballarat with the team but, rather than competing in the championships, he will be concentrating on his recovery.

“I was pretty excited to be getting underway at the Road Nationals and racing with the team, given it’s going to be such a big year,” he said.

“Unfortunately I’ve got a problem with a bulging disc. It’s not something that I want to take lightly and I need to take the proper precautions, get the treatment that I need. That means I can’t race.”

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