The DS Corner – Post California

Posted on 25. May, 2011 by in news, race

The DS Corner this week brings closure to the Amgen Tour of California. Prior to the biggest race in the United States, the DS of the Continental teams all provided their goals and expectations for their team. On the final day of the race, we asked a simple question to four of them, “Are you satisfied?”

Read on for the answers to that question and a few others from Jonas Carney of Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, Frankie Andreu of Kenda/5-Hour Energy, Danny Van Haute of Jelly Belly and Omer Kem of BISSELL.

Want to know what it’s like to ride in the AToC caravan? Check out the videos for a taste

Jonas Carney, Performance Director of Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth

See also “Lots Of Options For KBS-OptumHealth In California

KBS-OptumHealth DS Jonas Carney takes Jason Donald' rain gear in stage 2

KBS-OptumHealth DS Jonas Carney takes Jason Donald' rain gear in stage 2

Are you satisfied? “Yeah. Obviously we would have liked to come away with the KOM jersey, we would have like to get Alex on the podium. I think we came really close to the KOM jersey and Saturday, McCarty was just too strong. And then, Alex was a top 5 in the sprint which I think is a fantastic result for a continental team. We got one more shot at that. All in all, I’d say it was a good race for us, we got in the break three days in a row, and hopefully again today. I’m pretty satisfied but obviously I want more, we want to be on the podium, we want to be in a jersey but I think my guys rode strong, we have a few guys that aren’t riding well, so we weren’t quite running on eight cylinders this week. If you don’t have great legs, it’s so hard to race against these guys, you have to have your best day if you want to be able to race with the ProTour teams and it shows on the results. If you look at the top 30 on a stage like Saturday, it’s just almost one hundred percent ProTour teams, and there’s a reason for that. “

What did you think of the race? “I think it’s great. I think they’ve done a great job with it. To me, the years passed, it’s been just a time trial and then the ProTour teams just defend and they finally made it hard enough where it’s not a just save it for the time trial and defend, there re two stages where the strongest man is going to win the race so I thought it was good. I think it was a good balance, a couple of sprints, a couple of stages – if we would have had that first stage things would have been a little bit more interesting – I think it’s a perfect balance, I like the mountain top finish, a couple of sprints, a time trial and maybe two stages that were sort of in the middle range which more suits a guy like Alex Candelario so I think the perfect balance of all that this year.”

Frankie Andreu, Directeur Sportif of Kend/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder

See also “Kenda/5-Hour Energy Ready To Race In California

Are you satisfied?? “Honestly it didn’t go as well as we had hoped. Ben just wasn’t feeling that great and we saw that on Sierra Road, and then the time trial and then I knew he didn’t really have the legs. He also missed that split on the long day, the 135-mile day, it was obvious that our GC hopes just weren’t going to work there. And the rest of the guys active and riding in the race and then some of the breaks, we missed a couple of moves which of course they heard about that it wasn’t acceptable. It’s been hard, they’re all dead, they’re all tired. You can only warn them so much that it’s a whole different level when you come here. Now they know. You can warn them and tell them but until they get here then they realize the difference and hopefully it wakes them up and they realize what they need to do to improve to get better to get up to this level with their training. Today, try to be active, get up there with the finish with Shawn Milne, guys have to be in the break, every director is telling their guys the exact the same thing and that makes it hard. I’m glad we’re here and I think we represented pretty well but expectations were a bit higher and it’s a learning experience.”

How many bottles can Roman Kilun (Kenda/5-Hour Energy) carry?

How many bottles can Roman Kilun (Kenda/5-Hour Energy) carry?

About being the DS with Toyota-United at ToC in 2006. “With JJ, we won a stage the very first day. Pressure’s off, I sat back and fell asleep the rest of the time (laughs). Then I had a couple of others doing very well, we were in the breaks and the last day, we got second or third, so I’ve been at races having success. This year, like the other domestic teams, it’s been hard.”

Is the race too hard for domestic teams? “No. They need this, you need to bring over the ProTour guys and they need to raise their game to race at that level. The difficulty is, in the US you don’t have that many races. The ProTour guys have 40 races with 200 km in their legs, we have 7, you can’t compete against that, you can only train so hard to get ready for that. It’s a shame in the US, if we had more races we could be better prepared for Tour of California but as it is, you see Kelly, they all leave the country, you have to go find races. Maybe, that’s just because racing is just not that popular in the US but it’s a shame we have to go find races in order to get ready for the biggest race in the US. But that’s the challenge, if they had more challenge, everybody would be better prepared.”

Danny Van Haute, Directeur Sportif for Jelly Belly p/b Kenda

See also “It’s About Taking Chances For Jelly Belly At Tour of California

Are you satisfied? “I’m a little disappointed in what we’ve not accomplished here. I’m trying to look at what happened. Yes, we do have some young guys and they’re inexperienced and so I can take it that way and say ‘hey came here with a young team, not so experienced and that’s why the disappointment’, or I could say ‘hey they’re professionals, they knew what to expect, I told them many times, work on your speed, work on your climbing. It’s the number one race, it’s going to be different, it’s not like NRC racing’ so maybe they’re a little bit unprepared. I haven’t put it at all together yet but thinking bits & pieces of what happened to our team at the Amgen Tour of California. A little disappointed but there were some good things and a little bit of bad luck but that’s racing, like Saturday we had three guys that covered all the breaks so we were ready to go, Sergio [Hernandez] had a spill and Alex Hagman was in the break too and got popped so I was little disappointed on that and so on, so on. Looking back, maybe I have to look at it like Stephanie Scott said, our Marketing Director from Jelly Belly, the expo has been awesome. They distributed of all their candy today, lots of sales of the Jelly Belly jersey so it’s a plus, it’s a plus for those sponsors but for the riders I think they’re also a little bit disappointed.”

Omer Kem, Directeur Sportif of BISSELL Pro Cycling Team

See also “Every Day Is Important For BISSELL in California

Are you satisfied? “A hundred percent satisfied. I think that the fact that we’re one of the only teams here racing, bottom line, we came here to race. We know that our level as a domestic team in the United States is not quite as high as a ProTour team and considering the quality of the field, a couple of top 10 finishes, we’re the best domestic team here in the team classification which means that I have got multiple guys that are up in the overall, and we’ve been in the break (almost) every day, we’ve been racing, that’s everything we can do.”

About getting ready for AtoC. “I think that every year, the level of competition in the US goes up. The fact that it was a little bit of a later start with Redlands this year, it means that where the Europeans are starting in mid-February or early February even January racing, we’re really starting in March. And I think that it puts us at a little bit of a disadvantage, we could chase some racing overseas but I have to balance the quality of racing versus the travel and keeping my guy healthy on the road and we have a long season. After this, we have the US Pro Championships in Greenville, we have Nature Valley which is a hugely important NRC race so in my mind when I was building the season with these guys, I knew that California was important, I knew that I could have them at a very high level, we could come here and race but I also knew that every guy that’s here is going to get faster which for the next month of racing, they’ll be on the form of their lives. And then they can take a break and I have the end of the season to think about, so California is a huge goal but it’s not the only goal of the season. So I have a bigger picture to think about.”

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2 Responses to “The DS Corner – Post California”

  1. Hopalong

    25. May, 2011

    Still can’t believe the #1 NRC team Realcyclist.com team got the shaft for the race. They are beating all these teams every week but didn’t get the invite. Nice work from the Cont teams but it would of been a better race with the RealCyclist team there.

  2. Fred in SD

    25. May, 2011

    I think the #1 NRC team last year had the same problem but got in this year. Selection was most likely (unofficially) over when RC was launched.