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Drapac Bring Top Team to NZ Classic
24 Jan, 2014
Drapac Professional Cycling heads across the ditch for the New Zealand Cycle Classic with a versatile team ready for the notoriously tough conditions. Raced over five stages, the UCI 2.2 event gets underway on January 29 in Palmerston North.
 
Two riders spearhead General Classification hopes Jai Crawford and Adam Phelan with Directeur Sportif Henk Vogels suggesting that fast man Mal Rudolph could also spring a surprise.
 
Mal Rudolph is someone we believe is coming back into career-best form, he was there until the death at nationals and hes been doing a hell of a lot of work with his coach Gordon McCauley on his explosiveness so with those three guys weve got all the stages covered, he explained.
 
While Phelan will be eager to get his race started with a strong showing in the opening stage 6.1km time trial, Crawford has to wait a little longer with a final stage hilltop finish set to close out the event on February 2.
 
Its better to have two different GC-type of riders than to have them both the same, Crawford explained. It gives us options for the breakaways. You dont have to be a rocket scientist to work out that Ill probably wait for the hilltop finish so its going to give us options and thats always an advantage.
 
The New Zealand Cycle Classic marks Phelans second event at the Elite level having stepped up from Under-23s and the WorldTour Academy squad based in Europe. The Canberra rider admitted that there was some pressure attached to his ambitious start to the season but its a challenge he is excited by.
 
A 6.1km prologue which means I get to test myself in a TT which will be the first time this year so its good to see where Im at with that and try and set up a good position for GC as well, he explained. It could also mean that you become a target early on if you do well.
 
Also part of the five-man line up will be Floris Goesinnen in his first race of the season for Drapac along with Ben Johnson who impressed in his first nationals since 2008 last week in Ballarat having come out of retirement.
 
Vogels suggested that Goesinnen and Johnson could also be dangerous.
 
Johnson is going to get better and better after a few years out of the sport and I wont be too surprised to see him go really well on the climb. Hes also very good in cross-winds and hes got a lot of experience, he said
 
In Floris Goesinnen weve got the cross-wind king so its a pretty well rounded out squad.

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Adam Phelan

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