Bissell Pro Cycling looks for Tour of California success
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bissell Pro Cycling looks for Tour of California success

by Xylon van Eyck at 10:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
American squad up for challenge of riding alongside the ProTeams

Jay ThompsonWhen the Amgen Tour of California kicks off tomorrow, US Continental team Bissell Pro Cycling will have some stiff competition, with some of the world’s best teams lining up. Amongst them are Team RadioShack, the team of favourites Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner. Leopard Trek are also sending a strong roster with Andy Schleck, Linus Gerdemann and the ever popular Jens Voigt, who will all ride in memory of teammate Wouter Weylandt who lost his life to a fatal crash on Monday's stage of the Giro d'Italia.

However, Bissell captain Ben Jacques-Maynes won’t be intimidated by a field that represents a mini Tour de France. With 2 victories and 5 second places so far this season, the climber won’t be short of confidence when stage 1 departs from Lake Tahoe.

“I feel fresh and motivated, and the form has come at just the right time. I am hoping to have some opportunity to get on the podium at Tour of California, a stage win would be great too,” he told Velonation ahead of the race.

“I am climbing well right now but think I have to be realistic when you look at the field and the course, so GC might not be in the cards. Having said that, team Bissell has many cards to play in sprints, breakaways and climbing days so if I have a chance to help another teammate get a result, I will gladly sacrifice my own chances for the team goal.”

Another rider who will be part of that team goal is South African Jay Thomson. The all rounder was caught up in the Pegasus debacle at the end of last year but at the 11th hour found a home at Bissell. The team dominated last week’s Joe Martin stage race where Thomson won stage 3 and the sprinters jersey, while teammate Frank Pipp snatched the overall victory on the final day.

“I have been training that my peak would be around this time of the year,” said Thomson. “It’s my second time doing this race and it's awesome. Last year unfortunately I crashed out on stage 5, but up to there it was a really good tour, just super hard. There’s a lot of climbing this year so it's going to be an interesting one.”

The full composition of the team will be made up of Chris Baldwin, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Andy Jacques-Maynes, Rob Britton, Paul Mach, Jeremy Vennell, Pipp and Thomson.

“We don't have a super climber so I think my role will be a free agent if I can say that,” Thomson continued. “Animating the race is a big plan for us as a team, so breakaways and things like that will be what we go for.”

The race has grown in strength and participants since its start in 2006. This will be the second year the 8 day event takes place in May since organisers moved it last year.

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