After an unusual team camp at Specialized’s California headquarters, HTC-HighRoad will open the 2011 ProTour season later this month at the Tour Down Under. Aussies Mark Renshaw and Matt Goss are particularly fired up for racing.
“The Tour Down Under is a great opportunity for me to race on home soil and provides a solid start to the season. To have a ProTour race in Australia is testament that cycling is getting more popular,” Renshaw said. “I believe that the team will have a very successful start to the 2011 season with stage wins and hopefully GC. On a personal level, I would love to win a stage to give back to all of my supporters in Australia.”
Just one week into the new year, Goss has already found his way to the podium multiple times, notching two stages and the overall at the Jayco Bay Classic.
“I’m really happy to have hit the ground running in 2011,” Goss said. “It’s great for the confidence coming into nationals and Tour Down Under.”
The Australian national championships are underway now. Jonathan Cantwell and Lauren Kitchen won the elite criterium titles on the 6th. The men’s road race is the 9th and the time trial championships are the 11th.
HTC’s Aussies will rejoin their trade teammates when the Tour Down Under kicks off on the 18th.
HTC-HighRoad Tour Down Under roster
Mark Cavendish [GBR] Bernhard Eisel [AUT] Bert Grabsch [GER] Matt Goss [AUS] Hayden Roulston [NZL] Mark Renshaw [AUS] Danny Pate [USA]
The Tour Down Under will also bring together many of the world’s best sprinters for the first time this season. Cavendish weighed in on the subject at HTC’s camp at the headquarters of new sponsor Specialized.
Specialized founder Mike Sinyard said he enjoyed having the team in Morgan Hill for the week of team camp. In addition to the usual team camp mix of new clothing, new gear, bike fits, photoshoots and interviews, HTC and Specialized also conducted a range of physiological tests, including EKG check-ups.
“It was awesome. It was just so cool for everyone in the company here to get marinated in that,” Sinyard said. “I don’t know if all of that has ever been done before on site — having the tech, the testing, Andy Pruitt doing his work, the Vo2 max stuff and everything all in one place.”
As for his predictions on the Tour Down Under, Sinyard smiled. “I hate to jinx it,” he said, “but I think they’ll do quite well. I know their goal is to win that race.”
While HTC was in Morgan Hill, Specialized captured some key personalities on videos, with the guys discussing who the metrosexual of the bunch is, who “doesn’t do modest” (it’s not who you think) and more.