Jelly Belly closes out 2012 in Japan

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda travels to Japan this week for the final two races of the 2012 season.

“The boys have had a tremendous year, and we’re all looking to finish on a high note,” said team director Danny Van Haute.

Riders Luis Lemus, Brad Huff, Nic Hamilton, Ricardo Van der Velde and Alex Hagman will represent Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, first in the Japan Cup criterium on Oct. 20, followed by the road race Oct. 21.

“In last year’s crit, we placed two riders in the top 10. This year, we can win it,” Van Haute said.

Jelly Belly p/b Kenda brings no less than the U.S.’s top-ranked crit rider in Huff, who has posted wins this season in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, Dana Point Grand Prix and the Gateway Cup, and came in second in the criterium national championships.

“With this long season coming to a close in beautiful Japan, I couldn’t be happier to test my legs one last time. I hope to again be gunning for the win in the criterium,” Huff said.

Van Haute said that in last year’s road race, the uphill finish proved daunting. But now the riders know what they’re facing.

“The boys know the course and are ready to finish in the top three. That’s the goal,” Van Haute said.

Hamilton said the road course is one of the hardest circuits he has ever raced, but he’s confident in his teammates.

“We have a roster tailor-made for it, so we will be shooting for a top step,” he said. “The hospitality in Japan is unparalleled anywhere in the world so it is the perfect way to wrap up the year….fireworks in Japan!”

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