Kemps is content with new US home

AUSTRALIAN criterium champion Aaron Kemps will head to Las Vegas on Friday to embark on his first season in the United States with Fly V Australia.

The Bundaberg rider has had previous European stints, with the occasional tour in the States, but has never called the US home.

The fledgling team will train at 1500m altitude in the Rocky Mountains, and has already booked its place in the Tour of California.

“We are already locked in for most of the major tours,” Kemps said.

“About 90% of our racing will be in the States this season, so it makes sense to be based there,” he said.

Kemps will take confidence into the season, knowing that a majority of the competition will involve his favourite discipline, the criterium.

“Wearing that Australian champion jersey is looked upon pretty highly over there,” he said.

Only the United States, England and Australia award a national criterium champion jersey, so all eyes will be on those three.

“It will bring a lot of exposure to the team and myself, and some added pressure but it will do us good.”

The sprinter hoped his team, classified as continental, could progress to professional-continental and eventually pro-tour in the next three seasons.

“The US is a level below the European tour, but that is where our team is striving to be in the next few seasons,” he said.

“It all comes down to money and sponsors, and we’ll only get that when we start putting some results on the board.”

The season’s first race is not until April, so Kemps will have another month to train before it gets serious.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now, despite the weather affecting my training.”

The national champion has been forced to mix shorter rides with gym sessions because of the consistent rain.

“But I’ve been racing locally on the weekend and I’m just excited now to have some fresh surroundings to ride in,” he said.

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