“It’s going to be an interesting next couple of days with some really quick riders like John Murphy looking for time bonuses,” said Jonas Carney, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies director sportif. “There are going to be guys gunning for the time bonuses and gunning for the stage win. We didn’t bring a lot of sprinters here, we brought time trialists and climbers, so we’ll do our best to defend Tom.“Really we’re gunning for the overall classification. Zirbel almost won three years ago, Zwizanski almost won two years ago, and Jesse [Anthony] won last year, so we have a lot of guys who can contend for the general classification.”
This year the teams were allowed a maximum of six riders, versus previous years which saw a max of eight riders.
“With six man teams it can change in a heartbeat, as we saw on the Menomonie Stage last year,” said Zirbel. “Our goal was to stack the general classification as much as possible.”
Zirbel will wear the leader’s jersey into Wednesday evening’s St. Paul Downtown Criterium. Zwiz wears the King of the Hill jersey, having posted the best time at the intermediate hill split. Devan Dunn (CashCall) wears the best amateur and best young rider jersey.