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Photo ©: Sirotti

Rory Sutherland (Healthnet)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
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Back with a bang: The Rory Sutherland diary 2007

Talented Australian Rory Sutherland will be tearing up the US domestic circuit this season with Professional Continental squad Health Net presented by Maxxis. With the best part of six years European racing under his belt, look out for the 25 year-old from Canberra to notch up some big victories in '07.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for the inside scoop on Rory and his Health Net crew as they match up against ProTour opposition at the Tour de Georgia and beyond...

Index to all entries

Crash – teriums

So, what's been happening? Well, we're deep into summer over here, and I won't lie to you - I like it! I wasn't ever a big fan of cold and wet racing or training, so living in Colorado and racing in summer around the States seems to have worked out really well. Believe it or not, I think I have only done three days of racing in the rain, and on all those occasions it's been so warm that I haven’t needed a rain vest. Nice! Put that next to 2004 when I seriously think about 35-40 percent of races I did in Europe were either in the rain or the snow… a change for the better I think.

The latest form of racing seems to be criteriums. The stage races have gone, and we've moved on to the fast paced, leg burning, shoulder bumping crit season. It's been called the 'Cash-teriums' of late – primarily due to the prize pool seemingly equalling the GDP of a third world country. However, whilst I’ve never really been shy of a good old crit, some moves that are thrown down over here are borderline madness! That’s what money does I guess - all of a sudden, everyone’s a sprinter, but let's make one thing clear - I'm not! I can have a sprint if I need to, but I also know that realistically I’m not going to win a bunch kick. I’m still waiting for one of the many 60kg, 5"4', no name riders to figure this out too…okay, that’s my whinge.

The team itself, well, what can I say? Results do speak for themselves, and it’s at times like this I am truly reassured on the decision I made to come to the USA and race for Healthnet presented by Maxxis. You can buy a team, you can buy all the best riders in the country, but it’s so much nicer to ‘build’ a team. For this reason I have decided to stay in the US next year, and race with my new-found team-mates at Healthnet. I like the idea of coming back to somewhere I know, riding the same bikes, wearing the same clothes, and also knowing what to expect of my team-mates, as well as what’s expected of me. A lot of us have had other offers, some financially better, but the majority of the squadra is staying intact. I think I may have even seen big Karl Menzies shed a little tear when Frank Pipp won the Charlotte crit a few weeks ago. Sorry Karl, the secret is out, what will this do to your reputation! I’ll try not to let anyone know that you actually are a sensitive new aged guy…

So due to my seemingly endless weekend racing program, I’ve nailed even more states on my list of where I’ve been in the US. Just adding it up (and yes, I did need to use my fingers and toes), I’m pretty sure 17 or so states have been lucky enough to have me grace them with my presence. I’m also on my way to nearly figuring out where some of the places I have to go to are… an example of this is the people, and super fans at that, I saw again today. I asked them where they were from, answer: Kentucky. My reply: 'Oh, okay (as if I knew where that was)… so that would be somewhere up here in the mid west right?' Hmmmm No! So after finding the state it was bordering (I didn’t actually know where that was either), I narrowed the search down to between Los Angeles and New York, and all the way down to bordering Virginia...I think. Maybe I should actually learn some of these places. So the actual point of the story – yeah, I know it’s been long – is that this country is big! I have enough trouble remembering that Australia has five states, two territories...and Tasmania (not really sure what that is, sorry Karl).

I have a new enthusiast club here in the US. I like to call it my east coast connection - sounds good, doesn’t it? My cousin Jamie - he’ll be so proud and might even buy me a beer next time I see him for allowing him to be in one of my world renowned diary entries - lives in Tennessee, and when the Charlotte crit was on, he come down with his wife and a huge clan of Rory supporters - all of who I had never even met or heard of before, and they had never seen a bike race before. It’s not an easy sport to figure out, but they all did such a great job of it and from that I think I may have been able to snag an extra 10 readers to my ever growing list of 'Rory Diary Reading Enthusiasts' - currently with a member base of around eight. Wow, maybe I can hit 20 by the end of the year!

Now it’s nearly time to shut it down for 2007. I can count the race days on two hands and, as sad as that is, I’ll be ready for a break by the end of September. I’m planning to try and hang around in Boulder for a few months and experience some of the winter. It’s a big call, but with the friends I have in Colorado, it’s not really too hard a choice to make. Plus, I want to see if Halloween is all its cracked up to be in this country! I’m sure embarrassing photos will follow.

Onto the next crash, cash, Criterium somewhere in one of the States I haven't yet visited!

Team Healthnet presented by Maxxis