Brisbane, Australia – Fly V Australia’s roster for 2010 is loaded top to bottom with talent that stands ready to tackle an international racing schedule.
Among the 15 riders on the UCI continental squad are 10 Australians, two South Africans and one rider each from Canada, Italy and the United States. Team Owner Chris White said the team was built to accommodate a deep racing program that will see Fly V Australia competing firstly in Australia and then the United States for much of the year. White added, “On our way to the US in February we will be competing in India and Singapore and later in the year we hope to be granted starts in the Tour of Ireland and Britain.”
“Our vision is to be part of the PRO Tour and we have made significant steps towards our objective. Australia is the third ranked Nation in cycling and does not have a PRO Tour team, this needs to be addressed and over the next two years we intend to build to this level. In Europe cycling is a historical sport and 7-eleven was North America’s cycling frontier back in the 70’s, it’s time for an Australian PRO tour team.” White said.
Building on a successful 2009, 10 of the 15 riders in the 2010 roster are returning, including general classification contenders Phil Zajicek, Ben Day and Bernie Sulzberger and all rounder Jonathan Cantwell, one day hitter Charles Dionne and criterium specialist Ben Kersten.
In a performance that defined the Team’s 2009 program Zajicek scored a gutsy stage win ahead of Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer at the SRAM Tour of the Gila in the United States in April while Day is a past silver medalist at the Commonwealth Games who won the San Dimas (Calif.) Stage Race in March. Sulzberger is the defending Australian criterium champion who showed his versatility when he captured the overall at this year’s Tour of Tasmania.
Cantwell, a prolific winner in 2009 was also third overall at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour behind Bradley Wiggins thus showing that he is capable of more than just fast finishes. Kersten is a past junior world champion on the track and Commonwealth Games gold medalist who won the 2009 USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championship. Dionne earned more than 20 victories in 2009, including stage wins at the Tour de Beauce, the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and the Tour du Quebec.
Also returning are Alessandro Bazzana (super domestique), Darren Rolfe (winner of Tour of Geelong) and Hayden Brooks and David Kemp (both stage winners at the Tour of Murray River).
New additions include a pair of proven South African talents, Darren Lill (from Team Type 1) and Jay Thomson (from MTN Cycling). Lill is a past Continental road champion (2006) who won the difficult Mount Nebo climbing stage on the way to second overall at the 2009 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Thomson is the reigning South African time trial champion who represented his country at the world road race championships in Mendrisio.
Also new to the team are Australians David Jai Crawford (runner up at this year’s Tour de Langkawi), Aaron Kemps (multi-stage winner at the 2007 Sun Tour) and David Tanner (winner of multiple stages of the Tour of Murray and a top 10 finisher at this year’s Sun Tour). Crawford arrives from the Australian Savings & Loans Team while Kemps and Tanner competed for U.S.-based Rock Racing in 2009.
“Coming off a great 2009 we looked closely at where we believed that we needed to strengthen our roster. With Kersten, Cantwell and Sulzberger we felt that we had some excellent speed but as a Team we probably lacked a little punch when the road steepened. We expect Lill and Crawford to fill these gaps nicely and to offer excellent support to Phil and Ben. Both of these riders excelled in the ultra steep terrain of 2009 achieving brilliant results against top quality climbers at Utah and Malaysia respectively. We have also added top-flight rouleurs in Kemps, Tanner and Thomson. The result we believe is an exceptionally well balanced and powerful roster.” White said.
“Our primary objectives for the season is to improve on the success of 2009 by becoming the leading professional team in North America and Australia and to build a platform for elevation to Professional= Continental status in 2011,” White added.
The Fly V australia roster for 2010 is (Australian unless otherwise stated)
BAZZANA Alessandro (ITA)
DIONNE Charles (CAN)
LILL Darren (RSA)
THOMSON Jay (RSA)
ZAJICEK Philip (USA)