The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Takes on the Giro Rosa

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The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Takes on the Giro Rosa, Looks to Defend Abbott’s 2013 Victory
The women of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team head to Italy this week to make their first Giro Rosa appearance in blue and white with a stacked roster of immense talent and experience. Looking to continue their successful debut season, including overall victories at the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Vuelta El Salvador, and Tour of the Gila, the team will ride in support of two-time overall Giro Rosa winner and defending 2013 champion, Mara Abbott. In the mountainous stages, Mara will have the support of teammates Katie Hall and Sharon Laws. Sharon Laws took the overall Queen of the Mountains title at the 2014 Friends Life Women’s Tour of Britain. Katie Hall made her mark in the US professional road race by launching an impressive solo attack, setting up teammate Alison Powers to counterattack for victory. On the flatter stages and intermediate sprint competitions, the team will support multiple-time collegiate national champion Coryn Rivera and US national champion Alison Powers, who recently became the only female in American history to simultaneously hold all three national titles (road, time trail, and criterium). All-rounders Ruth Winder and British national criterium champion Hannah Barnes will lend their help on all stages, controlling the pace and covering moves from other teams. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is pleased to also welcome all-rounder Scotti Wilborne to the team and Giro Rosa roster. Scotti joins the squad from Team Tibco, where her results have shown great consistency and a bright future.
Looking forward to the grand tour, Mara Abbott commented, “For us, the Giro is the biggest race of the year, and there is nothing that comes even close to comparing to it. The two times that I have won the Giro, I have raced on the National team, and it is so exciting to be going this year with a group of girls who have been racing together all year, and to be able to enjoy the level of support that we have already had on the team throughout the season. Each time I race the Giro, it is an experience far beyond explanation of challenge, presence and emotion. I am thrilled to begin this again.”

The 2014 edition includes a prologue and nine stages, totaling 953 kilometers raced over ten days. The grand tour begins with a short and flat evening prologue, only 2 kilometers in length along corso Trieste in the city of Caserta. In stage 1, the riders will race around the city of Santa Maria A Vico eleven times, covering over 95 kilometers and cresting a 200-meter climb with each lap. The race then moves to the nearby town of Frattamaggiore for another circuit race on stage 2, this one geared towards sprinters with its relatively flat six laps. Stage 3 is the race’s first point-to-point race, starting back in Caserta and taking the riders a long a 125.3-kilometer route to San Donato Val Di Comino. The stage also serves as the first test for the climbers and general classification contenders with intermediate rollers beginning just 20 kilometers in the stage, leading into the category-2-ranked Belmonte Castello ascent. The 118-kilometer stage 4 will lead the riders on a scenic route along the Adriatic coast from Alba Adriatica north to Loreto before turning inland and climbing to the city of Jesi for the finish. The next day, the riders we depart from Jesi and race back out to the coast, then along the coastline north to Cesenatico. Stage 5 will present an opportunity for the sprinters, with only one category 3 climb between the starting line and a high-speed finale in Cesenatico. The battle for the pink jersey will escalate in stage 6 from Gaiarine to San Fior. The first 60 kilometers feature three sharp but short climbs, two of which offer the opportunity for QOM points. Abbott will have her sights on the category 1 ascent to La Crosetta, a 13-kilometer challenge with potential for substantial time gains. Once over the massive climb, the riders will descend down to San Fior for the finish.

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team welcomes Scotti Wilborne to the program and 2014 Giro Rosa roster.
In sharp contrast, stage 7 begins immediately with a category 2 climb to the summit of Teglio. After the climb, the riders will fight for sprint points near the 25-kilometer point, then keep the pace high all the way to Chiavenna where the 91.8-kilometer stage concludes. With eight days of racing already in their legs, the focus will turn again to the climbers and GC hopefuls on the stage 8, in which the riders will cover over 90 hilly kilometers and finish atop San Domenico. Mara Abbott will be the rider to watch again on this queen stage, having soloed to victory here in 2013. The 9th and final stage of the 2014 Giro Rosa begins in Trezzo sull’Adda and takes the riders on an undulating route before the final climb to the finish city of Magreglio. With a climb in the very final kilometers of the 10-day race, there is potential for the final pink jersey fight to come down to the very last moments. Follow along on our social channels as the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team battles for grand tour victory.

Kirchmann sweeps Canadian Road Championships in historic hat trick

A hat-trick for Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)

Kirchmann sweeps Canadian Road Championships in historic hat trick
Winnipeg native first Canadian to hold simultaneous time trial, road race, criterium titles
June 30th | Minneapolis, MN
Leah Kirchmann put on a display of dominance at the Global Relay Canadian Road Cycling Championships this weekend in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, winning the road race and time trial and defending her 2013 criterium championship for a clean sweep of Canada’s 2014 road cycling titles. Kirchmann was aided by countrywomen and teammates Denise Ramsden, who finished second in the road race, and Annie Ewart, who played critical support roles during the hard weekend of racing. Kirchmann makes history as the first Canadian woman to hold all three road titles consecutively.


“I couldn’t be happier with how the weekend played out. I would never have expected sweeping all the titles, but I knew I had good form after placing third overall at the North Star Grand Prix,” said Kirchmann. “At the same time, anything can happen at Nationals. I just tried to stay confident and rely on my teammates as much as I could, and they were simply amazing. It made for an excellent birthday present!”

The Winnipeg native, who turns 25 today, kicked things off with a blazing fast run in the time trial, covering the 28.8 kilometer course in 43:28.39. She beat out second place finisher Jasmin Glaesser (Tibco/To the Top) by just 2.50 seconds to win her first time trial national title. It was proof positive that the natural sprinter’s additional training efforts in the discipline had paid off.


“Time trailing is not a natural strength for me, but I focused much harder on it last year when the team was invited to the World Championships for the team TT,” said Kirchmann. “I started spending more time in my position and doing specific TT workouts, which helped make the difference. I also think our new Diamondback time trial bikes are a great fit – time trailing is never supposed to be comfortable, but it definitely eases the pain to have such a smooth, responsive bike.”

For Saturday’s coveted road race championship, Kirchmann was guided by 2012 champion Ramsden and Ewart. The duo played a critical support role on the difficult Lac Mégantic circuit, employing aggressive tactics throughout the day and executing a perfectly timed leadout over the closing kilometers. Ewart was able to lead the trio through the final corner and into a tough uphill sprint, where Kirchmann launched off Ramsden’s wheel in the final 500 meters to capture the win by a comfortable margin.



The trio was aggressive once again in Sunday’s criterium, set on defending Kirchmann’s title and completing Canada’s first-ever road title hat trick. Ewart and Ramsden kept the pace high and their sprinter safe on the winding course, lining up on the final lap to deliver Kirchmann in prime position for the uphill sprint. It was Kirchmann’s third straight Canadian criterium championship and a history making win for the young Canuck.


“I was excited enough to win the TT and road race, so defending the criterium title was icing on the cake. Annie and Denise both played such critical roles in my success this weekend,” Kirchmann said. “They committed fully to our team plan and delivered killer leadouts in both the road race and criterium. They are both incredibly selfless teammates and I can’t thank them enough!”


The road race win also grants Kirchmann the honor of wearing her nation’s colors later this month at La Course, the first ever women’s road race at the Tour de France, where she and her teammates go head to head against the world’s top talent in downtown Paris.

Photos C. Rob Jones

14 Cycling Teams Confirmed for Inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition at Miller Motorsports Park

Circuit Race to Feature Top-Rated UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and
Reigning National Champion Alison Powers


SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (June 25, 2014) – Organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah have announced that seven of the nation’s Top 12 women’s professional cycling teams on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) will be part of the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition. Included in the field will be top-ranked UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, led by American Alison Powers, who currently holds three national titles. The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition will take place from 1 – 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 6 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

This is the first time in the 10-year history of the Tour of Utah (August 4-10) that a women’s professional cycling race has been part of event week. The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition will be contested prior to the finish of Stage 3 presented by Utah Sports Commission of the men’s seven-day professional stage race. Fourteen elite and professional cycling teams have been confirmed for the Women’s Edition, with several composite teams to be added in July.

Confirmed Women’s Edition Teams (as of June 25, 2014)
Team Audi
Canyon Bicycles – Shimano
Cloud Racing p/b Ride 2 Recovery
Colavita / Fine Cooking (No. 5 on NRC)
DNA Cycling p/b K4 (No. 8 on NRC)
Guru Cycles p/b Haute Wheels Racing (No. 10 on NRC)
JET Cycling
LiVe Well p/b Bountiful Bicycle
Monster Media Racing Team
Pepper Palace Pro Cycling (No. 12 on NRC)
SKINourishment p/b Paceline Projects
TWENTY16 Pro Cycling Team (No. 6 on NRC)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (No. 1 on NRC)
Vanderkitten Racing (No. 9 on NRC)
One of the favorites in the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition will be Powers, who is the two-time USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Champion (2013, 2014). She is the first cyclist, either male or female, to hold the national titles as Professional Road Race and Professional Time Trial champion in the same year (2014). So far in 2014 the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has 20 wins and 45 Top 10 finishes.

Another favorite in the circuit race will be Utah resident Tina Pic, racing for DNA Cycling presented by K4. Specializing in one-day races since beginning her racing career in 1996, Pic is the winningest female cyclist in the U.S. She has won six U.S. national criterium championships (2002–2005, 2007, 2009) and five individual titles on the NRC (2000, 2004–2006, 2008). This season Pic has already won eight races.

Festivities at Miller Motorsports Park will begin at noon on Wednesday with a Tour of Utah Lifestyle Expo. The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition Rider Sign-In will begin after 12:15 p.m., followed by the circuit race on the East Track of the complex. Stage 3 presented by Utah Sports Commission for the Tour of Utah is a 118-mile road race from Lehi to Miller Motorsports Park. The men will finish on the same 2.2-mile section of the East Track between 3:30 – 4 p.m.

Following the awards ceremony for Stage 3 presented by Utah Sports Commission, race fans will be treated to the inaugural Chase Pinkham Memorial Criterium from 5 – 8:30 p.m. Eight races will take place for amateur men, women, and juniors in a counterclockwise direction on the West Course of Miller Motorsports Park. The event is named in honor of Chase Pinkham, a former professional cyclist from Salt Lake City who passed away unexpectedly this winter.

The 2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is sanctioned by both USA Cycling and the UCI. The Tour of Utah is a 2.1-rated UCI American Tour stage race and is one of the top professional cycling events in North America. Host venues for 2014 are Cedar City, Panguitch, Torrey, Lehi, Miller Motorsports Park, Ogden, Powder Mountain, Evanston (Wyoming), Kamas, Salt Lake City, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, and Park City.

Admission is free for all races. More information about the Tour of Utah and its partners can be found by visiting, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (thetourofutah #TOU14 #TOUWE), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (2014 Tour of Utah).

About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM,” is a week-long, professional stage race for the best cycling teams in the world. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the 2014 Tour of Utah has expanded to seven days of racing and community festivals. The 2014 Tour of Utah covers 753 miles of racing and more than 57,000 feet of climbing. The race spans some of the state’s most beautiful and challenging terrain with lush forests and red rock spires in the south and the urban corridor and epic peaks along the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in the north. This is the fourth year the Tour of Utah will be sanctioned as a 2.1-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events in North America. A total of 16 professional teams, including six from the Tour de France, are scheduled to compete in 2014, expected to bring more than 120 athletes from 32 countries. For more information visit




Events in Philadelphia and Glencoe, Crystal Lake and Chicago, IL Glencoe, IL – For Release May 28, 2014 – The Women’s Cycling Association (WCA) is heading East to promote women’s cycling with four great events. On Friday, May 30th, the WCA will join the Glencoe Grand prix to host a USACRITS PRO Meet & Greet in Glencoe, Il prior to the Saturday race. A pre-race reception in Philadelphia on May 31st with pro women cyclists and special guest, the first Lady of Philadelphia, Lisa Nutter, will celebrate women’s cycling at the 2014 Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic, A women’s clinic in Chicago on June 14th and WCA “Join The Ride” Tour in Crystal Lake, IL on June 15th will highlight the excitement of women’s racing in the upcoming 2014 Intelligentsia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series. The GGP PRO Meet & Greet held on Friday, May 30th from 6:00 – 8:00pm in downtown Glencoe, Il is a chance for area kids, amateur riders and racers to connect and talk with pros! The goal is to bring riders of all ages, skill levels and riding interests together prior to the Saturday race. Most importantly, the Women of the GGP will come together to have an opportunity to discuss topics that are important to women who ride. Members of the Women’s Cycling Association (WCA) will be present, looking to share riding and racing advice to the amateur field. Click HERE for more info. The WCA is teaming up with the Bicycling Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to host a pre-race reception on Saturday, May 31st from 11:30 – 1:00pm at Cadence Cycling & Multisport located at 4323 Main St. Manayunk Philadelphia, PA. Fans can learn about women’s cycling while meeting some of the premiere women cyclists racing today and get excited to cheer them on at the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic. Special guest, Lisa Nutter, the first Lady of Philadelphia, will be on hand to share her bike racing experience. The reception is open to all supporters of women’s cycling! The program will include a panel discussion with leaders in women’s professional racing, as well as time for Q-and-A and mingling. Tickets to the event are $10 or registration for the Velothon, the amateur ride-before-the-race on June 1st, includes admission to this event. Register at: The event is sponsored by the WCA, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Women Bike PHL program, Fuji Bikes, and the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic. In June, the WCA will travel to Chicago to host two events to create excitement for the upcoming Prairie State Cycling Series including a FREE women’s clinic on June 14th at 9:00am at BFF Bikes located at 2113 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL, 60647. Attendees can learn about the art of bike racing with pros Kristen Meshberg of Spidermonkey Cycling, Liza Rachetto of Vanderkitten Racing and WCA President, Robin Farina. The clinic is presented by BFF bikes, the WCA and the Prairie State Cycling series. Rachetto and Farina will also lead the WCA “Join The Ride” Tour in Crystal Lake, Il on Sunday, June 15th beginning at 8am from the Raue Center located at 26 N. Williams St. Crystal Lake, IL 60014. The ride includes a 25 mile and 40-50 mile option and is open to all levels, men and women. The $35 registration fee includes lunch following the ride. Register for both the clinic and ride at: WCA “Join The Ride” Tour sponsors in Crystal Lake include the Prairie State Cycling series, Lucky Brake Bicycle, SRAM, Wheel Werks, The Bike Haven, and Visit McHenry County.

Alison Powers Crushes US National Championship Time Trial


Alison Powers Crushes US National Championship Time Trial, Earns Stars and Stripes for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team

Less than two weeks after dominating the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial, Alison Powers took to the starting ramp at the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships today with hopes of repeating her 2008 victory and earning the coveted stars and stripes jersey for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The 2014 course in Chattanooga, Tennessee was relatively long at 30.9 kilometers with rolling hills and technical turns. Alison has shown great form recently with fantastic strength and stamina, allowing her to power through the undulating course with speed and precision. Top form, flawless equipment, and determination all converged for Alison Powers today, as she devoured the course and claimed the victory by a margin of 30 seconds.


Alison adds this accomplishment to her already impressive résumé which includes the current US national professional criterium championship jersey, the 2013 national racing calendar points title, 2014 Tour Femenino de San Luis overall victory, and many more. Elated with her result, Alison Powers commented, “I am super happy– everyone believed in me, and to go from huge disappointment last year to sheer happiness this year is incredible. The team’s belief in me and the support they’ve given me have been big contributing factors.” Sports Director Rachel Heal added, “Alison had an amazing start to this year and we knew she had the form to get a great result here. She’s worked really hard for this and it’s fantastic to see her pull off the win. It was a full team effort with the support from Adrian, Tavis, Mike (team staff) and our sponsors playing a big part in ensuring Alison only had to focus on riding her bike… very fast!”


This race was an important goal for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and they prepared accordingly with extensive testing in the Faster wind tunnel optimizing the riders’ fit and position on their Wilier Twin Blade time trial bikes. To emerge from the race victorious shows commitment of the team, riders, and partners to the progress and success of the program. General Manager Mike Tamayo concluded, “We had a clear goal with Alison when we hired her last summer: get to the World Championships and to be capable of a medal. The first step in that process was to win nationals and secure the automatic qualification. We’ve just accomplished the first step.”


The US National Professional Road Championship takes place on Monday, May 26th, in which the men and women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will race for the honor of wearing the stars and stripes, this time in the road race discipline. The women’s race totals 101.5 kilometers while the men’s event totals 161.9 kilometers. Both events will be covered live on the USA Cycling National Championships TourTracker.



Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Sending Full Team To The Milk Race


Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is sending a full-strength team to the second edition of the Milk Race for Women, hosted by Nottingham City Centre on the 25th of May, to defend the victory taken by Dani King last year. The 2013 edition saw Olympic champion King ride away from the rest of the field on the 1.2km circuit, and finish more than a minute clear of the rest. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammates Amy Roberts and Elinor Barker were able to mark any prospective chase behind King, with Roberts taking third place behind King.
“I’m delighted to be back riding the Milk race to defend the title I won last year,” King said. “Can’t wait to get stuck into such a great race.”

Once again, King will be joined on the start line by Roberts and Barker, who are as just as excited to take the start in such a prestigious domestic event for a second time.

“I’m really looking forward to racing the Milk Race again this year,” said Roberts. “It was a great event last year, the crowds were brilliant and to have that again would be awesome. Also going with a full Wiggle Honda team will be great and I’m sure it will be an exciting race to watch!”

“I’m looking forward to it,” echoed Barker. “Dani, Amy and I did it last year and Dani won so it will be nice to return with a stronger team and try to get the win again!”
The three British riders will be joined by compatriot, double Olympic champion Laura Trott, who will be making her debut in the event.

“I’m excited to be taking part in the Milk Race this year,” said Trott. “It creates one of the best crowds on the domestic circuit and who doesn’t love riding in front of big crowds? Women’s road racing in the UK is on a high at the moment and I’m looking forward to putting on a great show with Wiggle Honda and hopefully leading out one of girls for a win!”

The Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling six-rider line up will be completed by German Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier, and Australian team manager, Commonwealth Champion Rochelle Gilmore.“I’m always exited to race in Great Britain,” said ‘Schnitzi.’ “The people the crowd and the races are always amazing over here. British people are are passionate about cycling, and I love racing crits, so I can’t wait to be there next week.”

“Last year Wiggle Honda raced and supported the fabulous Nocturne event mid-season, however, this year we’ve chosen to target and support the Milk Race as a ‘team’,” explained Gilmore. “It’s never easy to defend a title, however, even though a number of our athletes are away in China, we’ll start with 5 or 6 riders and give it our best shot.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team for the second Milk Race for Women (25th March)
Elinor Barker (Great Britain)
Rochelle Gilmore (Australia)
Dani King (Great Britain)
Amy Roberts (Great Britain)
Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier (Germany)
Laura Trott (Great Britain)

ICE Women to Fire up Norcal Peleton

ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing 

Women’s Domestic Elite team will be making their debut appearance racing at the Mariposa Women’s Stage Race that is being held May 17-19. The team will be focused on representing sponsors professionally at the USAC National Racing Calendar level. Jane Despas says that the team is looking forward to participating in major NRC races such as North Star Grand Prix and the Cascade Cycling Classic. When not on the road traveling to NRC races, the ICE ladies will heat up the local Norcal scene.

Felicia Gomez, Ice Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing team owner and manager, continues her partnership with Jane Despas to enable a select group of talented women to pursue their cycling dreams and ambitions. ‘There are very few teams (if any) who focus on the development of riders who wish to make the leap from regional racing to NRC (national racing calendar) events. The purpose of the team this year is to expose our riders to NRC level racing.  There are regional teams who take riders to 1 NRC race a year – however, riders will learn and develop more quickly through constant exposure to faster and harder races.’

ICE Sportswear is proud to become the co-title sponsor for the ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing Team for the remainder of 2014. We are happy to support the advancement & success of women’s cycling in the US, and we are very excited to watch their journey! We are confident that these riders will push themselves hard and go further than they imagine. Their deep dedication to the sport of cycling is incredibly apparent and is what makes this sport so important. We consider ourselves lucky to just be along for the ride. Let’s go, ladies! “

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Workboard is delighted to sponsor the team!  The Workboard app helps high-velocity teams set and achieve their goals at work; it helps teams link their big plans to the actions needed to achieve them and the results that follow.   It’s a natural for Workboard to sponsor this great team to help them achieve their goals on the bike while the Workboard app helps cyclists everywhere spend less time at the office and more time on the bike.

Touchstone Climbing

Touchstone Climbing owns and operates nine unique gyms throughout California, making it the largest indoor climbing Company in the world. But our true success comes not from what we do, but why we do it. From owners to belay staff, route setters to cyclists, we believe in creating a place where we can all come together and do what we love. We are not just gyms. We are communities. Whether you an experienced climber, a bright eyed newbie, or just someone looking for a place to work out, you’ll find your place with Touchstone Climbing!
This has all been made possible by our generous Sponsors – ICE Sportswear, Pinnacle Training Systems,  Workboard, Touchstone Climbing, Sierra Cascades Multisport Production and Jolly Financial Services.

Rider Roster

Sara Bird

Tina Hughes

Melanie Wong

Emily Matheu

Misha Scovill

Brittany Lindores (NRC Guest Rider – Australia)

Jane Despas

Felicia Gomez




Powers Blasts to Amgen Tour of California Time Trial Win



Starting and finishing in the historic district of Folsom, California, stage two of the Amgen Tour of California served up a 20.1 kilometer time trial course for UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team’s men’s and women’s squads. Racing started late in the morning, under sunny skies and breezy conditions that would significantly influence the athletes’ pacing for the event.

Coming off of what she described as a disappointing time trial at Tour of the Gila, UnitedHealthcare rider Alison Powers came to the event looking for answers, and confirmation of her form heading into the upcoming national championships. “When I previewed the course on Friday, I knew it was for me,” said the powerhouse rider, who went on to explain, “at 5’ 10”, I’m bigger than many of the other women, and I’m really good at carrying speed on long, gradual descents,” noting that the route contained several short, sharp climbs, but was primarily characterized by very fast sections.

As the riders rolled out of the start gate, the fans waited for answers of their own: would Powers have sufficient recovery from the previous day’s circuit race, during which she personally contained the majority of attacks from competing teams?

By the halfway point of the time trial, that question appeared to have been definitively answered, as Powers blasted through the checkpoint with the day’s fastest split time. Looking calm, comfortable and strong on the bike, she was clearly on a good day. All that remained to be seen was whether she could maintain the pace or accelerate through the second half of the race, or if she would fade from her early efforts.

As the finish line approached, that answer also became clear: Powers had turned in a stellar ride, going on to take the win by just more than 21 seconds. Powers concluded, “I’ve finished second here in the previous two tries. To win today and get the Amgen winner’s bear feels great.”

2014 Tour of the Gila: Stage 5 Gila Monster


The men face 100 miles and over 9,000 feet of climbing. It’s said to be the toughest stage in the US with the riders facing climbs taking them over 7,000 feet in elevation. The course features two cat 3, two cat 2, and one cat 1 climb. It’s a brutal final day of racing and after 5 days of tough racing, you either have it or you don’t. and with the The women face 68.9 miles and over 5000 feet of climbing. Their course will be the reverse of stage two climbing the steep and narrow cat 2 Sapillo climb and ending with the short but steep cat 3 climb to Pinos Altos. The stage finish is in the town of Pinos Altos ending in front of the historic Buckhorn saloon. It’s a classic southwestern scene, a throwback to days long ago. The contrast of modern cycling seems to fit, it’s the Gila, and theres no better finish.

The men’s race began with a long neutral, but once the flag dropped, as has been the case all week, the attacks began right away. With a GC being tight, the teams seemed quite eager to set their tactics up early on this stage. Three riders managed a small gap with the group quickly forming off the front of the peloton. The two groups reorganized to contain 15 riders. Tom Zirbel of Optum was on the front of this group driving it hard and the gap quickly grew to 30 seconds. With this large of a group working well together chances were that this was the move of the day.

The group contained Jeff Louder of United HealthCare, three riders from 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Racing – Jeff Hornbeck, Taylor Shelden, and Chad Beyer, three rider from Hincapie Sportswear – Joseph Schmalz, Tyler Magner, Joseph Lewis, Jamis -Hagens Berman rider Luis Amaran, two riders from Optum – Tom Zirbel, and will Routley, two riders from Jelly Belly – Luis DeVila, a Serghei Tvetcov, two riders from Team SmartStop – Cameron Cogburn, Michael Torckler, and one rider from Marc Pro Strava, Gonzalez Rolando.

Indeed, with all the teams represented, this was the move of the day. The riders descended down to the Mimbres valley at 50+mph and once in the valley there was a steady rotation but when Zirbel came to the front he strung the group out with long pulls, and with Routley sitting on, they were in a good position. The gap extended to and remained around 2-2:30 through the valley. United HelathCare seemed content with that time gap. As the break hit the Cat 2 climb up to Anderson Vista they had 2:30, by the top it was down to 55 seconds. The descent down to the turn around is fast and very technical which favored the break and their gap extended back out to 1:20.

As the break began the Cat one climb it was Louder, who was dropped fairly quickly, Hornbeck and Beyer of 5Hour, Schmalz of Hincapie, Amaran of Jamis, Tvetcov of Jelly Belly, Routley of Optum, and Torckler of SmartStop. From behind Brenes, Jarmillo, and Cooke from Jamis, Kirk Carlson of Jelly Belly, Rob Britton, Flavia DeLuna of SmartStop, and Carter Jones of Optum broke from the peloton and caught the break at the top of the climb.

Jamis was also playing out some good tactics today. They remained patient and waited for the climbs to begin to then get to work. Unfortunately for them, Jones had caught this train and was able to rely on a relatively rested Routley. Ben Day had succumbed to The Monster and was not going to be able to keep his jersey.

The lead group descended to start the Sapillo where Optum director, Jonas Carney, had this to say, “I think this is one of our best days. We rode really strong and our tactics played out perfectly. Zirbel was on the front for 100 k just killing it for this result. Routley was super strong and then Carter as able to finish it off … It was a great day for us.”

The race came down to a sprint with Jaramillo taking the win followed by Britton and Routley. GC went to Jones with Greg Brenes of Jamis, and Rob Briton of SmartStep rounding out the podium. It was an aggressive day of racing from Optum, and it paid off with the win. Next Optum is off to The Tour of California after perfect preparation from The Gila.

A with the men, the women began aggressively with attacks from the gun. The only chance the riders had to dismantle Abbott was to get up the road early and isolate her from the very strong and dedicated United team,

United had to work hard to control the race and it remained together until they dropped down to the Mimbres valley. Alison Tetrick of Twenty16 Pro Cycling made a attack which prompted Emmermanof Rally Sport, Fischer of DNA Cycling, Sanders of FCS/Zngine, Vargas of the Columbian National Team,Kiesanowski of TIBCO, Laws of United, and Johnson of SCCA/Starbucks to join and make e decisive attack of the day. The break worked well together and steadily built a gap of 1:25. Twenty16 controlled the pace of the peloton, working for their teammate, Tetrick who was in the break.

As the race hit the Sapillo, the break continued to ride hard but behind the fireworks were beginning. Abbott of United, Oliviera of FCS/Zngine, Mickey of Twenty16, and Wilborne of TIBCO joined the break and continued on with Laws. Abbot to attacked near the summit of the Cat 2 climb of the Sapillo and continued solo. Once free, Abbott rode strongly opening up a gap of 2:45 with Oliviera and Mickey working to chase but today they were not going to catch the inspired Abbott.

Abbott crossed the line to take her fourth consecutive win. She enjoyed her win as she crossed the line alone. Oliviera took second from best young rider Mickey. Abbott put on a fine riding display today and the race was animated by a field that didn’t want to sit back for the inevitable. The results may not reflect it, but women’s cycling is consistently growing in every aspect, and they put on a great show this week.