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Kelly Benefit Strategies kept stateside by Icelandic volcano, may start Tour of the Battenkill

The Amstel Gold Race isn’t the only European event affected this week by the volcanic activity in Iceland.

The flight cancellations that have resulted from the volcanic activity have grounded Kelly Benefit Strategies in its attempts to reach France for Sunday’s Tro-Bro Léon (UCI 1.1). The team planned to start the race as the kick off to its first European stint in 2010.

Director Jake Erker was hopeful that travel would resume and the team would make the trip in time for the Tour of Brittany, which starts Sunday April 25.

“We were supposed to leave yesterday at various times throughout the day,” said Erker. “I got my first call from David Veilleux, who was flying out in the evening from Montreal, and he said his flight was canceled because of the volcano.”

Within minutes, Erker received text messages from his other riders, including Ryan Anderson and Zach Bell, who had just landed connecting flights in Seattle.

“Jonas and I started to get in touch and rework the travel and we realized that there were no flights out Friday, so that basically neutralized Tro-Bro Léon for us.”

When they realized that Sunday’s race was a no-go, Carney and Erker sent their riders home. “We basically sent everyone home except Zwizanski, who landed in New York,” said Erker. “He’s from Philly, so he went there and he’s close for New York or for France.”

The team is attempting to regroup in time for a last-minute start at the Tour of the Battenkill in Upstate New York Sunday. Their start relies, however, on an eleventh-hour invitation by the UCI and the team’s ability to make the logistics of the last minute change work. Erker worked Friday morning to track down team luggage that was lost en route to France.

“Honestly we don’t know if we’re going to be able to pull it off yet,” said Erker. “The guys really want to do it if it works out. If it doesn’t, ash happens.”

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