53rd Hilly HundredMid America TT Series

Kenda Pro Cycling Team Update: 2012 Roster Announced

By: TrueSport.com
Posted: Nov 28, 2011


2012 Roster: Inferno Racing takes KPC up a notch! With an extremely successful 2011 season behind Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling presented by Geargrinder, its managing company Inferno Racing LLC, is taking it up a notch for 2012. The team returns with the same name for 2012. While retaining its core of proven talent and up-and-coming youth, KPC has added World Tour experience, domestic big-name GC power, more youthful talent, and a current US National Champion. The team received a series of good news in the early months of 2011, starting with the announcement of an Amgen Tour of California berth, a long sought after goal for the program. Shortly after, the team was able to capitalize on the unfortunate demise of the Pegasus ProTour project by hiring the 2010 US Stage Racer of the Year, Australian Ben Day. Following the previous series of events, corporate energy supplement giant, 5-Hour Energy, signed on as the team`s co-sponsor, allowing for a broadened race schedule for its athletes. KPC came out of the gates swinging with an immediate win and record breaking three-peat victory performance at the season's warm-up, San Dimas Stage Race. "It was a new feeling for the team to be defending a jersey," states Frankie Andreu, the team's director. "We have had jerseys, but never the team to defend it. We have always been a criterium based team, and defending an important jersey, let alone the yellow one, was new." The team functioned flawlessly and controlled the peloton to deliver Inferno Racing and its UCI team its first national caliber stage race win to add to its previous jerseys and UCI world track championships. The following week, Luca Damiani stole the crown US criterium jewel from under the mighty UHC's (United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team) feet with a masterful and well-deserved Terrapin Athens Twilight Criterium victory, lending credence to the media's predicton of KPC moving from a small pro team to the top-3 domestic team tier. Despite a mid-season lull marred by crashes, injury and illness, starting at ToC and plaguing the team through the early summer, the team again elevated its performance with solid performances at ToAD (Tour of America's Dairyland), Tour de Beauce, Gateway Cup, Alexian Brothers' Tour of Elk Grove and the Cascade Cycling Classic. Phil Gaimon would prove to be the GC hopeful he was hired for, and Bobby Sweeting had a break-out year winning the final stage of Cascade (NRC) and the queen stage of the Tour of Elk Grove (UCI). "We had a great year, despite the many challenges of a pro team," says founder and general manager, Chad Thompson. "We have experienced numerous positives, as well as some negatives that plague many other teams, such as non-paying sponsors, illness, bad crashes, and staff changes. But these guys and this program are amazing. Seriously amazing. We have taken a don't-look-back approach to the program and aim to improve and escalate our program's focus and talent each year. We have definitely done that for 2012 in order to capture the major race organizers' attention (ToC, Utah and Colorado). Let's hope it works." Will it work? The team has kept its major veteran horsepower in Shawn Milne and Chad Hartley, as well as retained its Athens Twilight winner, Luca Damiani. The team's GC star, Phil Gaimon, returns for year three, and Bobby Sweeting will be back on board to try his hand at professional racing on a full-time basis. Sprinter Isaac Howe and 2010 ToAD winner Jim Stemper remain too. The team bolsters the talent by bringing in the 2008 US Pro Criterium Champion, John Murphy (BMC Cycling team); Bissell's long-time GC threat and Time Trial specialist, Paul Mach; and the newly crowned US Elite National Road Race Champion, Max Korus (BikeReg.com). KPC aimed to continue strengthening its GC contender pool, hired amateur stage race sensation, Nathan English (Yahoo Cycling Team), and brought on one of the biggest names in US cycling, Andy Jaques-Maynes (Bissell) to fortify the GC roster and race-against-the-clock talent. Thompson says, "We are and always have been a top-tier criterium team, winning major criteriums both during our amateur days and in our current UCI format. We found ourselves as a true GC contender this year and now aim to solidify our role as such and assure we go to all of the major US races, but the Amgen Tour of California above any other is our goal. We believe with the large group of California resident GC men (English, Jaques-Maynes, Mach, and Kilun), our ProTour talent (Murphy) and list of proven national winners, that we deserve a spot in these events, as we know we can contend against the best in the world. We are hoping we are fortunate enough to get the invitations to do so for our sponsors and our riders alike, and get the chance to prove we have yet again taken our team up a notch. Returning members: Robert (Bobby) Sweeting, Chad Hartley, Greggory (Gregg) Brandt, Isaac Howe, Jim (James) Stemper, Luca Damiani, Patrick Lemieux, Philip (Phil) Gaimon, Roman Kilun, Shawn Milne. New members: Andy Jaques-Maynes (Bissell), Curtis Winsor (Neo-Pro), John Murphy (BMC), Max Korus (Neo-Pro), Nathan (Nate) English, Paul Mach (Bissell), Stephen (Nick) Housley (Neo-Pro).