Via Mike May's excellent Gam Jams comes the news that the team rosters have been posted for the CSC Classic / Clarendon Cup. This will be the last time that CSC is sponsoring this event and the last chance you'll get to see Team CSC (admittedly a skeleton squad this year) in action.
Highlights? Well, Magnus Backstedt and Team Slipstream are coming with a fairly loaded team. They are talented, but built for stage racing, used to long days at 25-30 MPH, rather than 90 minutes at 38 with three sharp turns. We'll see how they do.
Rock Racing will be strong with the usual cast of characters, including last year's winner Bahati.
Kelly Benefits is bringing a fairly strong team, and Candelario, Gilbert, King orVeilleaux could challenge - all are strong crit racers.
Slipstream could challenge with Backstedt (more likely a leadout man), Tyler Farrar or Martin Maaskrant, who is an unknown in the U.S. but with a 4th place finish at Paris Roubaix, can bring some heat. Mike Friedman has better track palmares than road, but he's a national caliber scratch racer and sprinter, so he might be worth keeping an eye on. I expect them to contend for the win unless it's really hot out - the Europeans just haven't been riding in hot weather this year so they won't be acclimatized. I saw the toll that the heat took on the red-faced Team CSC last year, and think that weather could be a factor for this mid-pack ProTour team.
Toshiba's Frank Travieso is worth watching - he's been hot this year and in contention in a large number of regional events. So is Mark Hekman, who has been quietly putting together a heck of a 2008 season.
Right Aid's Clayton Barrows and Bobby Lea - a couple MABRA locals - could challenge for the win here. Bobby in particular is worth watching - he is an excellent rider in a number of cycling disciplines. (Though I have more fun watching his mother race, she is still beating up on elite racers half her age - as an older cyclist, I appreciate that).
High Road is bringing a strong team - if this were a one day classic or a short stage race. Not sure how they'll fare in this blistering hot, relatively flat crit - but if anybody shines through it should be Kiwi Greg Henderson, who has a strong crit and track pedigree.
Colavita is bringing the heat with the excellent Lucas Sebastian Haedo (familiar sounding name, eh?) and Kyle Wamsley; I'd expect if they're in position for the sprint Wamsley (an excellent sprinter and MABRA boy made good) should lead out. This team has been *hot* lately, both on the men's and women's side, and I expect them to contend.
Jelly Belly is another team that is bringing what looks like a good roadracing team; if anybody challenges I'd expect it to be Brad Huff, but I'm not looking for much from them.
Healthnet-Maxxis is bringing the heat with a sprinter-heavy team this year. Rory Sutherland is always tough in any race, and Menzies, Pipp and Murphy are all capable of winning. Their roster is small, with only 6 riders, but I'd look for them to be involved in the race at the end.
Time Pro Cycling brings a fairly strong team with crit specialists Mike Stoop, Tom Soladay, Adam Hodges and Andy Baker. They should be in the running up until the end.
Local pro team Battley Harley is bringing a fairly strong team headlined by Jonathan Page and David Fuentes, back in pro cycling after serving out his doping ban. Russ Langley managed to stick around until the end of the race last year, and I expect he'll do the same this year. Page should contend for a top 10 spot and Dave Fuentes has been riding pretty strong, but I like Bryan Butts to manage a Top 10 finish. He's ridden strong here before.