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Routley near top down under

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Racing hard for his new team, Will Routley is putting on a strong performance in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour bicycle race in Australia. After two stages, and with four stages left, Whistler’s Will Routley is sitting third in general classification against top tier Aussie riders, getting help from his teammates on the newly formed Bicycle Superstore Canada team.

Until the end of the North American season Routley was with Symmetrics Cycling, arguably the most successful all-Canadian road team in history with 25 championship medals, 180 wins, and top-three rankings in North America for three years running. The team was also instrumental in winning Olympic quota spots for Canadian riders, and two Symmetrics riders, Svein Tuft and Zach Bell, finished seventh in the Olympic time trial and road race respectively.

However, after failing to land a title sponsor for next season, the team was put on hiatus for 2009 and released its riders to join other teams.

Andrew Pinfold and Cam Evans headed to Healthnet, where they will ride with disgraced Tour winner Floyd Landis and may get a shot at the Tour de France. Svein Tuft, who won the North America title last year, will join the Garmin-Chipotle team where he will race with Canadians Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Meier.

The bulk of the squad, including Will Routley, Eric Wohlberg, Andrew Randell, Eric Boily and Bruno Langlois joined Bicycle Superstore Canada. The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is their first international test, and it’s going well with Will Routley 23 rd after the first stage and moving up to third overall after a third place finish in the second stage.

“It has been full gas the last two days,” wrote Routley. “The crit preface on the first day wasn’t for the GC (general classification) so it didn’t matter overall, but Eric went for it in the break anyway. The race is on now. I got in lots of splits on stage one, and I tried to move toward the end, but it came down to a field sprint. I just tried to keep it safe, no crashes. Then today it was full gas again, just covering what seemed like thousands of attacks. Then at about 25 km to go a move finally went that stayed and I zipped up to it.”

Comparatively, his next-best teammate is Andrew Randell, who is sitting 50 th out of 87 ranked riders after the first two days.

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