Cyclists Arnold and Kreilis head to Tahiti in confident mood

Riders Blair Arnold, left, and Peter Kreilis with team manager Marcus Arnold. Picture: ROBERT PEET

Riders Blair Arnold, left, and Peter Kreilis with team manager Marcus Arnold. Picture: ROBERT PEET

CYCLING

Experienced Wollongong cyclist Danny Hennessey is confident his hand-picked team is primed to play catch-us-if-you-can at next month's Tour de L'Amitie in Tahiti.

Also known as the Friendship Tour, the 600km international amateur race is run over six days.

Hennessey has competed at the event 16 times , winning in 1993 and '97.

He likes the look of the 2014 crew and expects his riders to set a winning pace.

"We've got some credentials and we'll have the strongest team there," Hennessey said.

"I've been mentoring teams and taking them to New Caledonia and Tahiti since 1993.

"I pick emerging riders from around Australia, those that aren't in big teams or looked after, and they just need that helping hand and to be asked to come to something special like this.

"This group we're taking certainly has a lot of bases covered."

Sydney rider Ben Harvey is the defending champion and a part of Hennessey's 10-man team.

Hennessey has a big opinion of Harvey's talent.

"I noticed him two years ago and he was flying under the radar doing okay in Sydney but he didn't really have any support," the 45-year-old said.

"I took him away and he finished fifth overall in 2012. Last year we took him away again and combined with all the good tactics and his form. We managed to get him to win the tour.

"Ben's so good that he just rode in the international track series in Adelaide last week for four days. He's one of these emerging track riders so he's got really good track leg speed.

"He's in prime condition to try and take the 3km time trial they have at the start of the tour."

Grafton's Dion Wilkes is Hennessey's team captain while New Zealander Logan Griffin gives the team with an international flavour.

Flying the flag for the Illawarra is veteran rider Peter Kreilis and promising teenager Blair Arnold.

"The race itself is a good test and you're competing in the most beautiful island surrounds. There's huge stories in the paper, big three and four-page spreads every day. It's a big deal, really massive," Hennessey said.

The race starts on July 7.

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