January 27, 2006 – The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis leaves its 2006 training camp in Buellton firm in the knowledge that the squad is not only stronger from top to bottom than the dominating 2005 team, but that it will be ready and motivated for the inaugural Amgen Tour of California.
“We’ve put together an eight-man team for California that we feel can contend for the win in just about every stage, as well as a place on the final podium,” said team directeur sportif Jeff Corbett.
“New guys like Nathan O’Neill and Hayden Roulston give us even more power, while Tim Johnson gives us another highly talented and experienced tactician on the road.”
The remainder of the roster features five veterans of the Health Net Presented by Maxxis team. In Gord Fraser and Greg Henderson, the team boasts two of the fastest finishers in the world, but also two sprinters who will be able to get over the climbs in the rolling parcourses to the finish line.
Scott Moninger, the 2005 NRC Individual Points title winner, brings 15 years of race experience and dozens of overall stage race wins to the line-up, while Mike Jones will work as a super domestique and opportunist for stage wins. Rounding out the squad is the incomparable Mike Sayers. The Sacramento native and resident is a team leader and super domestique who can read a race better than almost anyone on a saddle or behind the wheel of a team car.
“The Amgen Tour of California provides a great stage to show the strength of our team,” Corbett said. “And with the team and our title sponsor — as well as a number of our industry sponsors — based in California, we intend to make a good showing during the race.”
Following camp, the riders dispersed, with several settling into new homes in Folsom, California. Roulston and Henderson have returned to their native New Zealand for the Trust House Classic. “It’ll be good to get a few race days in the legs before California,” Henderson noted.
In addition, a second five-man squad will prepare for the Tour of Taiwan in early March, a trip that will be led by assistant directeur sportif Gustavo Carrillo.
The Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis Amgen Tour of California Roster:
Gord Fraser, CAN
Greg Henderson, NZL
Tim Johnson, USA
Mike Jones, USA
Scott Moninger, USA
Nathan O’Neill, AUS
Hayden Roulston, NZL
Mike Sayers, USA
Karl Menzies, AUS
Doug Ollerenshaw, USA
Jeff Louder, USA