Last year, the 7UP/Maxxis team closed the season winning the San Francisco Grand Prix. A team known for its aggressive style of racing, started the 2003 season with high hopes, and so far, the results have been consistent. Going into the Wachovia week, team manager, Jeff Corbett gave us his thoughts about team's chances.
"We had a good spring and have been building up and looking better by the week with Hayden Godfrey winning the Quad Cities Criterium. John (Lieswyn) just finished fourth at the Nationals TT and won the Shelby Criterium, which shows that John is among the top five riders in the country. The team is fast and we are strong in the sprint, Monahan, Hayden Godfrey, and Dan Schmatz. But all the guys are coming along and healthy and ready to ride hard for the series."
Jeff sounds confident and he should, not only has he had riders who are a constant presence in the breaks this year and podiums starting at the National Race Calendar opener in February when Kevin Monahan in the National Champions jersey won the first stage with John Lieswynn flying in behind him for second. The next day Kevin and John were back to collect second and third while Brice Jones, Doug Ziewacz and Dan Schmatz finished in the top ten.
Later in the year at the Tour of Georgia, Greg Henderson against an international peloton, took third in the Prologue with John Lieswynn one second behind in fourth place. Fighting illness the second day, Henderson and the team in a valiant effort to maintain his position and challenge for the leaders jersey with the time bonus sprints, fought to return Greg to the peloton but by the end of the day the team was burned by the effort. John Lieswynn although missing the critical break on the 4th stage was able to finish in 9th.
The Silver and Green team after a slow start in the California spring series shows in the recent victories that they are coming into form and will be warriors at every race in the Wachovia series.
Talking about the team's major goal and their leader's chances, Corbett added, "it's always been one of John's goals to win the national jersey, he has been focused on this goal and is showing the form at this point. As I said John has proven he is one of the five fastest guys in the States. So we will do everything we can to deliver him to the line. Or John might keep racing into he is 50 (laughs). With the tools we have and the way the guys are winning, we're ready."
But the squad is not only keeping an eye on the big one this coming Sunday, "with the speed in the team and the depth of our sprinters, Trenton looks good. We raced the Clarendon Cup; Dan was in the key break for 25 laps which broke up 15 laps from the finish. When it came to a sprint finish he was right at the line for third. Jason McCartney just won the Joe Martin stage race. So with Kevin, Dan, and the Kiwis, Trenton is on the list."
And what about the final roster, who will be make the team roster at the USPRO Champs?, Corbett is trying to keep the team fresh. "We have eight riders and we can register nine for each race, so we haven't actually set who will ride or take a day off to recover but will keep our options open. We may rotate a guy here and there during the week so that we are at full strength for USPRO Championship."
The fact that some of the Euro teams will be sending riders over the Atlantic, doesn't face Corbett, who adds, "I'm not worried at all, the team is going good. The racing here in the States is different for the Euro riders, every time they come here they say how tough it is. The ones who have raced here before may be a threat, but this is our turf and we have the advantage."
And so, the chances for the silver and green boys are very good this week in the Wachovia Week. With an inform and very strong lineup, the 7UP/Maxxis team need to do three things in order to achieve a victory in Philly according to their boss. "This week we will just have to put more on the line, ride harder and ride with more heart."
7UP/Maxxis Pro Cycling Team
Thanks to Vaughn for his help with this story