KBS Team Diary: Fast on the heels of competing in the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships, a KBS fice man squad and Performance Manager Ken Mills travels to the GP Internatcional CTT Correios de Portugal (June 11-14).
Riders Andrew Bajadali, Dan Bowman, Jake Keough, Jonny Sundt and Cheyne Hoag will test their international mettle once again in the GP Internacional CTT Correios.
This four day, four stage race features some serious climbs and descents, as is expected from a Western european stage race. 15 teams will battle over nearly 650 km spread over the four days.
"The GP Internacional CTT Correios is one of Portugal’s major stage races," says Ken Mills. "To be invited to this year’s race is a major honor for our program and for us goes hand in hand with our team’s vision of growing our European race calendar more each season.
Stage 1: Caldas de Rainha
The first stage will see riders skirting the lowlands of Portugal and ending in the oceanside city of Aveiro. This is the only stage of the race that doesn’t feature major climbs, although it still features Category 4 ascents.
Stage 2: Agueda to Lamego
An 168 km trek, riders will ascend the twisting, grueling roads of Caramulo, one of the biggest mountains in Portugal and a Category 2 climb.
Stage 3: Fafe to Sra. of the Grace
A true test for KBS’ premier climber Andy Bajadali, this stage is the shortest and most difficult of the race. The 140 km journey will take riders through the small city of Mondim de Basto and through the Alvao Park system, home to some of Portugal’s most amazing natural geological formations and an area untouched by most of civilized life. The climbs are numerous and deadly, and this stage historically determines the race’s overall winner.
Stage 4: St. Tirso to Povoa de Varzim
After two days of intense climbs, the race flattens out for the final day. This 155 km stage still features Category 4 climbs but will be a nice break from the real mountain climbs of Alvao Park and Caramulo.
"The competition in Portugal is going to be tough, but our athletes have proven time and again that they can compete with the top riders," he adds. "I was based in Portugal in the late 90’s so I know how hard these races are. We are going into day one with an open mind and will be looking for any opportunity that arises during the race to make an impact."
Already in the 2009 racing season the Kelly Benefit Strategies team has raced in Thailand and Uruguay, both of which they won. There are plans to compete in a further three countries before the season concludes.
"We are continuing to expand our international schedule," says performance director Jonas Carney. "We have already raced in Thailand and Uruguay this year. Before the end of this year we will also do UCI stage races in Portugal, France, Spain, Canada, and Mexico. It’s a big part of who we are as a race program."
Website: Team KBS Pro Cycling