Astellas Cycling Team Releases 2015 Roster

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Cortlan Brown going deep.

 

The Astellas Cycling Team will return to the UCI Continental level for a second year in 2015.

“We are looking to build on our strong first year as a professional team,” said Andrew Frey, principal of the Cycling Development Foundation and Astellas team director. “We look forward to achieving success with our core of experienced riders, as well as develop younger talent in a sustainable way.”

The team took multiple victories last year during its first season on the UCIAmerica, claiming wins in Georgia, South Carolina, California and as far north as Wisconsin. The season culminated with victories in the USA crits individual and team overall.

In addition to returning Astellas as the title sponsor of the program for the fourth year, the team also renewed partnerships with Litespeed, Pactimo, 3T, and Soigneur. New supporting partners in 2015 include Fast Forward, HT, Smanie, Bollé, Pro Gold, Northwave, and Limar.

The team is returning nine riders from the 2014 roster, including Cortlan Brown, Brandon Feehery, Stephen Hyde, Clay Murfet, Hogan Sills, Ryan Aitcheson, Matthew Green, Brecht Dhaene and sprinter Justin Williams.

“We pride ourselves on a great mix of riders from many different backgrounds and nationalities, Frey said. “The younger guys have a sustainable place to learn their trade and the experienced riders have a team they can really blossom in. We can’t wait to get on the road.”

The team features six new riders, including one who will be starting his first professional season and one who will be starting his last. Jake Silverberg, 18, is the current American junior criterium champion and a first-year professional. Adam Myerson, patron of US criterium racing, will retire from road racing after he crosses the finish line of his hometown race, the TD Mayors Cup in September.

Other new riders include Peter Olejniczak, Max Jenkins, Daniel Gardner and Jake Sitler.

With racing across North America and Europe, the Astellas Cycling Team looks to build on its successes on the road in the National Racing Calendar and selected UCI races as well as in criteriums in the USA Crits series as well as the National Criterium Calendar

2015 Astellas Cycling Team:
Returning: Cortlan Brown (USA), Brandon Feehery (USA), Stephen Hyde (USA), Clay Murfet (Australia), Hogan Sills (USA), Ryan Aitcheson (Canada), Matthew Green (Great Britain), Brecht Dhaene (Belgium), Justin Williams (USA)

New: Peter Olejniczak (USA), Max Jenkins (USA), Jake Silverberg (USA), Daniel Gardner (Great Britain), Adam Myerson (USA), Jake Sitler (USA).

On the rivet: Interview with “Hollywood” Daniel Holloway

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By Seth Davidson

I never do interviews for a simple reason: They require you to stick to the facts. Facts are fun, of course, but only as a stepping stone to the world of fake-believe. On the other hand, there are cyclists in our midst who deserve to have their exploits reviewed in a respected cycling publication, but since that’s hard to come by they will sometimes settle for this blog.

Daniel Holloway is the reigning U.S. elite men’s crit champion. In 2014 he won his fourth title, so it’s hard to blame it all on luck or good looks. Easily the most dominant crit racer in the U.S., Holloway’s 2014 season was a tour de force that saw him win 21 times, a massive victory haul by any standard. Tactically savvy and possessing a lethal finishing kick, Holloway is also feared for his ability to ride — and win out of — the break. He’s also a veteran rider of the European six-day circuit, and this week he lines up with some of the best madison racers in the world to contest the 104th Berlin Six-Day. Here’s the interview his mom has been waiting for.

CitSB: When is the race?

Hollywood: Thursday, January 22 through Tuesday, January 27.

CitSB: How’s your form?

Hollywood: Form is good. The race last Saturday at Rosena Ranch was a good test. I’m still not super sharp yet, though, don’t have those super supple track legs. [Note: Holloway attacked on the first lap of a windy, hilly course and rode a three-man break for 19 laps before dropping his companions on the last lap for the win.]

CitSB: What will be a good result for you in Berlin?

Hollywood: Obviously, to break into the higher results. A top six would be great. It’s my partner’s first Euro six-day [Jake Duehring of Tallahassee], so getting in the upper half of the group would be super.

CitSB: Who are your biggest threats?

Hollywood: The 2014 madison world champion David Muntaner, obviously. Bobby Lea and Christian Grasmann; Bobby’s got super form now.

CitSB: What’s the hardest thing about madison racing?

Hollywood: Staying alert and not making mistakes; one mistake affects your partner so you have to minimize them. Every night is a new night and there’s no course profile! A lot depends on what the top teams are doing. It can be the hardest night of racing you’ve ever done if the top teams are slugging it out.

CitSB: What are the key mistakes to avoid?

Hollywood: The big one is missing exchanges [note: missing an exchange occurs when the tired rider is supposed to exchange places with the fresh rider who has been resting at the top of the track, and they fail to exchange, forcing the tired rider to continue racing]. When you miss the exchange one of us has to do a double turn and when they’re going hard you can’t recover and you can quickly lose a lap which hurts your overall standing.

CitSB: What’s the difference between racing madison in Germany and the USA?

Hollywood: Six-day racing in Berlin will bring in ten, fifteen thousand spectators in one night. Trexlertown doesn’t get that in five races. People in Germany are passionate and the level of riders is two steps above anything the US could put together on its best day.

CitSB: Are you known in Berlin?

Hollywood: No. It’s only my second time here.

CitSB: As an unknown American, what are the promoter’s expectations?

Hollywood: Can we race? Be at the front? Be a part of the event?

CitSB: Why did the promoter invite you?

Hollywood: His name’s Dieter Stein, he’s seen I’m capable from my previous six-day races. I’m a little bit of a perosnality, something of a character, maybe? Anything could happen, right?

CitSB: How important is showmanship at a six-day?

Hollywood: It’s a little more difficult to put on a show and get away with it than it used to be. Things are a bit more serious now, it seems.

CitSB: What technical skills are most important for madison racing?

Hollywood: Situational awareness. Your teammate, you, other teams, order of riders on the track and off the track. That awareness is key so you can save energy, not cause a crash, set up an attack at 170 bpm for an hour! There’s a lot of decisionmaking and you’re doing it on the rivet in heavy traffic.

CitSB: What are the difficulties of racing in Germany?

Hollywood: There aren’t many. Racing is our common language and lots of people speak English. They’re very accepting and have taught me and helped me. Dieter knows we’re traveling and works hard to make sure we’re comfortable so we can do well at the event.

CitSB: What are the biggest difference between six-day and crit racing?

Hollywood: The constant hard accelerations and decelerations. Also, it’s extremely technical racing. The velodrome is very tight, only 200 meters and 12-15 feet wide. In a crit by comparison it’s like slow motion, wide open, easy to read, and six-day racing helps you get super sharp so that you feel like you’re almost over-prepared for crit racing when you come back to the States.

CitSB: How many hours per day do you race?

Hollywood: Berlin and Copenhagen six-days are two hours on the track per night at 47-52 kph while you’re on the boards.

CitSB: Does six-day racing have any potential here in the USA?

Hollywood: Yes. USA fans are ready for a good six-day promoter, but it has to be more than just a bike race. You need a diverse crowd, not just bike racers; you’re not only selling bikes, you need good music, good food, and an atmosphere. Put that together and it will sell itself. The Internet would explode with the live feeds.

CitSB: Do you project your data to the crowd while you race?

Hollywood: I’ve had it done in the past. The event provides the connection so that you can connect your powermeter to a huge screen and project it live.

CitSB: How does six-day racing affect your fitness?

Hollywood: It will sharpen me for the road season back home. No matter how good I feel when I get back, after twelve days of racing in thirteen days I need time to recover. Fitness doesn’t go away overnight; I have to listen to myself and follow the plan that I know works.

CitSB: Are you pretty regimented in your training?

Hollywood: Well, I know what works for me, and I don’t really have a daily plan. I listen to my body and if I feel good but it’s a rest day, I’ll use those good sensations to put in quality work. If it’s a five-hour ride on the schedule and I feel tired then I know I won’t be putting in a good effort to produce a beneficial training effect, so on a day like that I will curtail my training accordingly.

CitSB: Do you have problems with making food adaptations while on the road?

Hollywood: Not so much. Even when I’m at home I don’t cook from scratch every day, and when I travel stateside I have to be ready to occasionally eat Taco Bell and Subway and not let that bring me down. The races here provide really good food before and after racing and we have a really solid hotel breakfast.

CitSB: Do you do any road riding while you’re in Europe?

Hollywood: No, it’s too cold. There’ll be snow on the ground and the extra equipment is a huge hassle. We have access to the velodrome and get in a good 45-minute to one-hour ride every day on the track.

CitSB: Anything else?

Hollywood: Wanky is my hero.

CitSB: I’m sorry to hear that.

[Editor’s note: Update on Daniel’s first night of racing — “Night 1 here at the Berlin Six was a solid start. Jake and I made minimal mistakes and put our faces in the wind. The night started off with a series of five sprints straight into a team elimination. We were the eighth team out, which put us in the middle of the field while the top teams were fighting it out. The first chase of 30 minutes was solid. We finished two laps down tied for tenth with four other teams, five points from seventh place. In the last chase, 45 minutes of fun and circles, we wanted to move up a couple of spots. We took our first lap early with two other teams, our second lap solo (that was a long one), and a third one with a couple of teams. Again finishing in the middle of the group, we had a solid start considering that this was only the fifth time my partner and I had raced together, including the Four Days of Burnaby.”

END

Check Out More Here: Cycling The South Bay

 

2015 Tour Of California Teams Annouced

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May 10-17 Professional Cycling Race Will Feature 18 of the World’s Top International and Domestic Teams

LOS ANGELES (January 23, 2015) – A fitting tribute for the tenth annual Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race will feature an unprecedented lineup of the world’s top cycling teams for 2015. Race presenter AEG has increased the field over last year to include 18 international and domestic teams to compete on a picturesque but grueling eight-day route that will cover nearly 700 miles of California’s most beautiful roadways, highways and coastlines May 10-17.

Without a doubt, the 2015 race stacks up as the most dynamic Amgen Tour of California ever. Eighteen of the world’s most decorated and esteemed teams will compete for one of the sport’s most coveted titles. When the international field of Pro riders begins its eight-day journey in the state capital of Sacramento, eight top-ranking UCI ProTeams will lead the pack, including Tinkoff-Saxo, whose sprinter Peter Sagan (SVK) will return to California to try to add to his race record of 11 stage wins; Team Giant-Alpecin, who will challenge Sagan’s hopes with Marcel Kittel (GER), one of the few cyclists to win sprints in all three Grand Tours; Santa Rosa, Calif.-based BMC Racing Team, an 8-time participant that swept the overall race and team classification in 2013 and is ranked second in the world; and Trek Factory Racing, which fielded a top-5 finish in last year’s competition.

“I have had some of my best results at the Amgen Tour of California, and I want to return every year because it just gets better and better,” said Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan, the 15th ranked rider in the world after the 2014 season and the race’s Visit California Sprint Jersey defending champion. “The Sprint competition will be tougher than ever because of all the talent this year, but I’m hoping to wear green again in the golden state!”

Adding to the Professional Continental lineup is Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, a first for the country. The team also recently became the first African-registered team to receive a wildcard invite to the Tour de France for the 2015 race.

“The Amgen Tour of California is a really competitive and important race, and we’re thrilled to join this year,” said Brian Smith, General Manager of MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. “The team looks forward to returning to racing in America, and we’ll be pushing hard for a good showing. The boys are excited to make their mark in California.”

Eleven of the top U.S.-based teams will be vying to shake things up at every turn, including North Carolina-based Team SmartStop, whose roster includes U.S. Pro Road

Race Champion Eric Marcotte; the San Marcos, Calif.-based Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, whose four-time U.S. National Champion and Berkeley, Calif.-based Freddie Rodriguez will be riding his farewell season; and Team Novo Nordisk of Atlanta, Ga., the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team.

“The 10th anniversary of the Amgen Tour of California is a momentous occasion, and that will be reflected in a bigger-than-ever competition with the highest caliber of teams yet for 2015,” said Kristin Bachochin Klein, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “Over the past 10 years, this race has developed into the most well regarded cycling event in the nation, and beyond that, something really special that resonates with fans around the world. Year after year, we’re proud to raise the bar and deliver an even more exciting race to our supporters, partners and participants.”

“The Amgen Tour of California has become known for legendary sprint contests, and I’m excited to get out on the battlefield again this year,” said Germany’s Marcel Kittel, the acclaimed sprinter who has won the first and last stages of the Tour de France for two years running for Team Giant-Alpecin (formerly Team Giant-Shimano). “I look forward to the competition and returning to the beautiful course in California.”

Eighteen world-class, professional teams are confirmed for the 2015 Amgen Tour of California:

UCI ProTeams (8):

  • BMC Racing Team, USA
  • Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team, Belgium
  • Team Cannondale-Garmin, USA
  • Team Giant-Alpecin, Germany
  • Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Netherlands
  • Team Sky, Great Britain
  • Tinkoff-Saxo, Russia
  • Trek Factory Racing, USA

UCI Professional Continental Teams (4):

  • Drapac Professional Cycling, Australia
  • MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, South Africa
  • Team Novo Nordisk, USA
  • UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team, USA

UCI Continental Teams (6):

  • Axeon Cycling Team, USA
  • Hincapie Racing Team, USA
  • Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, USA
  • Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA
  • Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home, USA
  • Team SmartStop, USA

Since its inception in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California has become one of the most important races on the international cycling calendar, showcasing the most accomplished cyclists from around the world on American soil. In addition, the event provides cyclists the chance to preview their prospective competition at the subsequent Tour de France.

“The Amgen Tour of California always was an important race for us. And it still is,” said Team LottoNL-Jumbo general manager Richard Plugge, whose Dutch team debuted this season under new sponsorship. “It’s a world-class race with great organizers. The competition is always very attractive and we love the amazing fans. The riders can’t wait to come over. For us, it is one of the big goals this season.”

This year’s nearly 700-mile course will wind through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena.

The 2015 Amgen Tour of California will also include a first of its kind three-day professional women’s cycling race May 8-10 in South Lake Tahoe, as well as a women’s invitational Time Trial in Big Bear Lake on May 15.

Team SmartStop has been invited to the 10th edition of the Amgen Tour of California.

Premier Sports Group is very proud to announce Team SmartStop has been invited to the 10th edition of the Amgen Tour of California.

The eight-day stage race starting on Sunday May 10th will follow a challenging course from North to South and will see the competitors touch down in 12 different host cities.

General Manager, Omer Kem said: “Premier Sports Group racing as Team SmartStop is incredibly proud to be invited to the 2015 Amgen Tour of CA. The invitation is the culmination of years of hard work and an absolutely amazing 2014 season. We at Premier Sports Group are very much looking forward to working with AEG and Medalist Sports to make the 2015 edition, the best edition yet with a team that is ready to race!”

Team SmartStop was unlucky to not receive an invitation in 2014, but over the season have proven their capabilities and determination to be able to participate in one of America’s most prestigious stage races.

“The Amgen Tour of California is a validation for all the work we did in 2014,” said Director Michael Creed, “and the races faith in our upward trajectory for 2015.”

Team SmartStop could be facing competition teams from World Tour teams such as Orica-GreenEdge, Team Sky and Giant-Alpecin who have all competed in previous editions of the race.

Despite the tough competition the team will be turning up to the Amgen Tour of California ready to race and with fire in their bellies for success at America’s Greatest Race with Creed stating: “Chasing jerseys and stage wins will be the focus.”

The Amgen Tour of California stages are:

Stage 1: Sunday, May 10 – Sacramento
Stage 2: Monday, May 11 – Nevada City to Lodi
Stage 3: Tuesday, May 12 – San Jose
Stage 4: Wednesday, May 13 – Pismo Beach to Avila Beach
Stage 5: Thursday, May 14 – Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita
Stage 6: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake (Individual Time Trial)
Stage 7: Saturday, May 16 – Ontario to Mt. Baldy
Stage 8: Sunday, May 17 – L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) to Pasadena

BMW p/b The Happy Tooth Race Women’s Tour

Premier Sports Group is also very excited to announce that the BMW p/b The Happy Tooth women’s team will also be racing in the Women’s Amgen Tour of California.

The tour has held a women’s race in conjunction with the mens event since 2011 and this year the Amgen Tour of California Invitation Time Trial has been given the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) status of 1.1, the highest status a non-world cup event can be given.

In 2015 the women’s race will feature four stages, a three-day stage race followed by the individual time trial starting on Friday 8th May.

Director, Jono Coulter said: “”The team at BMW p/b The Happy Tooth are happy to receive an invite to the UCI 2.1 Women’s Amgen Tour of California. This is a marquee event on the world calendar. We are determined to bring a classy & proven squad to race against some of the best teams in the world & show the excitement of women’s cycling”

The Women’s Amgen Tour of California stages are as follows:
Stage 1: Friday, May 8 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 2: Saturday, May 9 – South Lake Tahoe
Stage 3: Sunday, May 12 – Sacramento
Invitational Time Trial Stage 4: Friday, May 15 – Big Bear Lake

Rohan Dennis Snatches Race Lead In Tour Down Under

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Santos Tour Down Under, Stage 3: BMC Racing Team’s Rohan Dennis wins ahead of teammate Cadel Evans.

On the strength of a vicious attack on Torrens Hill BMC Racing Team’s Rohan Dennis soloed to victory and into the race lead Thursday at the Santos Tour Down Under. His BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans finished second.

Team’s First Win of 2015
Dennis crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of his teammate Cadel Evans and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Although the hour record contender had to switch plans in the final, he is very satisfied with his win and the overall lead. “The plan for me was to attack at the bottom of the Torrens Hill climb to put the pressure on Richie Porte (Team Sky) and the other contenders and let Cadel just sit back”, Dennis said. “Obviously I was too far behind to actually follow that plan.” Winning in front of his home country’s crowd Dennis also takes the first BMC Racing Team’s win of the season.

One-Two overall classifications
The 143.2 km stage that was marked by a four man breakaway that gained a freedom of maximum 3 minutes 30 seconds. The last remaining attacker was caught heading to the 1.2 km final climb. BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans who is now second overall, 7 seconds behind his teammate Dennis, is happy how it worked really well for the BMC Racing Team today. “We had a plan on covering on two bases, but of course I also want to be able to lend a favor to my teammates where I can and where it’s favorable”, Evans said. “We had Rohan and Peter ready to do an attack anywhere where they could and it worked out really well for us.” With three more days to go Evans remains the team leader Dennis said: “Obviously we are both protected riders but Cadel is still a leader in my eyes.”

Notes
Besides the overall classification (Ochre jersey), Dennis also leads the Subaru King of the mountain and the Cycle Instead young rider classification. While his BMC Racing Team teammate Cadel Evans, second overall, tops the Iinet sprint classification. The BMC Racing Team leads the Virgin Australia winning team classification after stage 3 in Santos Tour Down Under.
Rohan Dennis will attempt the Hour Record on Sunday 8 February at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen.

Listen to comments from Evans and Dennis on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line http://bit.ly/1E14xIb
Best regards,
BMC Racing Team

Isaura Van Lancker

 

BMW Named as Title Sponsor for New UCI Women’s Team

 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina – January 19, 2015: After the announcement of a new UCI women’s cycling team in the works, Premier Sports Group can now reveal the major sponsors, team roster and program for the 2015 team.

 

BMW USA comes on as the title sponsor for the team with Happy Tooth Dental Group as the presenting sponsor. BMW has been involved in the sponsorship of Team SmartStop since late last year from the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah onwards and have pledged their support to American cycling and Premier Sports Group through this new team.

 

AMain.com and Bissell also come on as major sponsors of the team.

 

Premier Sports Group has brought in Director Sportif, Jono Coulter, to run the team. Coulter said: “I am delighted to be a part of the most exciting organization in US Cycling right now. Premier Sports Group is at the forefront of delivering the emotion and the spirit of professional cycling to every fan from casual observer to super passionate.

 

“When Jamie Bennett and Omer Kem said they were 100% behind a Women’s Cycling program I knew we would have an amazing opportunity to create an engaging, high performance team. BMW and Happy Tooth Dental Group have taken a lead and commitment that is commendable in a rapidly growing sector of sports, we are happy to be able to repay them for their support on the road this season.

 

“I am stoked to be able to showcase the BMW X1 in conjunction with our first class women’s team.”

 

Coulter has selected a talented pool of American and International riders who make up the ten-women roster for the 2015 season including the Principle of the Women’s Cycling Association (WCA), Robin Farina. Farina will bring eight years of road cycling experience to the team.

 

“I am particularly excited to work with 2011 USA Road Champion Robin Farina, who has been instrumental as a voice for Women’s Cycling through WCA in the last few years.

 

“BMW presented by Happy Tooth Dental Group has a talented & formidable roster that is no stranger to the Professional ranks. We have proven athletes with excellent pedigree who I have had the fortune of working with over several years, and some unheralded newcomers who I feel can come in and help define the sport in the near future.”

 

Other Americans joining Farina on the team include, Korina Huizar who is expected to bring her USA Points Race Stars and Stripes form from the track and translate that to the road. Expect big things from current U23 Criterium National Champion, Michelle Khare, who brings youth and energy into the team with an engaging attitude that will appeal to a new generation of fans.

 

As well as Americans, Coulter has brought on three Canadians, an Australian and a Swiss rider. Coulter said: “Aussie Miranda Griffiths will be a force in the climbing stages of our UCI events. Rhae Shaw from Canada is proven world class and is still fine tuning ways to turn her raw strength into a high class wins and Swiss rider Jessy Uebelhart will bring her European knowledge to the squad, which will compete in all North American UCI events in 2015.”

 

The team will focus on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar with hopes of receiving invitations to women’s editions of the Amgen Tour of California and the Tour of Utah.

 

The BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental Group 2015 Roster

Elle Anderson (USA)

Robin Farina (USA)

Miranda Griffths (AUS)

Korina Huizar (USA)

Michelle Khare (USA)

Liza Rachetto (USA)

Megan Rathwell (CAN)

Shoshauna Routley (CAN)

Rhae Shaw (CAN)

Jessy Uebelhart (SUI)

Erica Zaveta (USA)

 

Tour Femenino de San Luis

Photo By: Shimano Latin America

Photo By: Shimano Latin America

By: Alison Tetrick

Tour Femenino de San Luis.  Don’t you love it when men’s races also have an equally exciting women’s race?  I do.  Let’s see more of this please!

The TFSL is the first UCI women’s stage race on the calendar and it takes place in the beautiful province of San Luis in Argentina, a few hours outside of Mendoza.  The area is characterized by vast and fertile farmlands that are bordered by arid mountains and a high desert terrain.  The mixture of brightly hued greens contrast sharply with the rocky soil and distinct smell of sage.

I was a guest rider, along with my Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate, Lex Albrecht, for Xirayas de San Luis, an Argentinian team representing the area.  The team was directed by Marcelo Alexandre (former World Champion in the kilo, and whose brother, Sebastian, directs Jamis Sutter Home men’s professional team).  The team is owned by Delfina Freres, who was Argentina’s first female race car driver, and she is also an avid cyclist, a super model, a mother, a grandmother, and insurmountable community icon.  Somehow she did manage to do it all!

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Photo By: Shimano Latin America

Tour Femenino de San Luis begins with a 1 day UCI race, and then a 6 day stage race.  You got it!  7 days of racing in January.  Sure beats doing intervals.  Warm air, South American racing, and the most beautiful team to be able to experience this race alongside.  Color, culture, warmth, smiles, and art all brought this team together.  The kit itself was a work of art, and encompassed the passion and zest for life, clapping, and dancing that these people have.

After the one day race, the Grand Prix San Luis, which was won by UHC’s Hannah Barnes, the stage race began!  Day 1 encompassed a twisty circuit around a lake that was bordered with shirtless men and bikini clad women enjoying BBQ’s and parties.  Racing in 40 degree Celsius being cheered on by people floating in a lake make you reconsider your chosen profession.  Or in this case, let’s call it vacation.  With a cat crossing the road, and a dog running into the sprint finish (no animals, cyclists, or carbon wheels were harmed), it was an adventure of a life time.  Day 2  offered more excitement and chaos that can only be found in hot, early season racing, with a 3rd day in a row with a sprint finish.  Day 3 started and finished in the tourist town of Merlo, which was at the base of a mountain range and was the perfect mixture of European influence, South American flair, and cabanas and natural pools for all.  4 kilometers into the stage was a QOM.  Talk about painful.  The circuit then included river crossing, dirt roads, and twists and turns to finish up a 1 kilometer kicker.  I attacked out of a small break 5k from the finish and soloed into the town of Merlo, up the kicker, and… 100m from the line the select finishing group caught me.  That was so much fun almost winning that race says no one ever.  Day 4 was a 14k time trial, and the minute I finished, I was whisked away into the hot seat where my team joined me in the festivities, translations, and watching the remaining 29 riders finish the time trial.  I lost the TT by .08 seconds.  Yes, 8/100 of a second.  That would have put me in the leader’s jersey, but instead left that stinging burn where you realize that some lessons are learned the hard way.  Day 5 was a quick, windy and mountainous stage and we finally entered the final day of racing, Day 6 of the Tour Femenino San Luis, and the 7th day of racing in Argentina.  It was a circuit through downtown San Luis that was completed five times.  With the GC so close in time, the intermediate sprints were hotly contested.  On the last lap, 13k to go, I attacked with one additional rider and within 10k to go soloed in for the victory of the final day of the tour.  The time gap was not enough for taking the overall GC lead, but I finished 5th overall and after 2 “almost” victories, I was able to represent San Luis, my sponsors, and both teams so proudly.  Xirayas de San Luis also placed 2nd in the Team Classification, and had the best Argentina rider, as well as the best rider from San Luis.  With 2 podium finishes, and 2 jerseys, the team completed the race with success.  The podium celebration involved dancing with the Brazilian team and throwing out swag to the crowd.  It was the best celebration I have ever been able to be part of, and the after party was even better.  Latin dancing with Argentina, BBQ wine, and I think the Brazilians took another podium with their dancing ability.  I think all races should end this with such combining of culture, laughter, and unity.

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It is for moments like this that you realize how important the cycling community is, regardless if you are in California, Argentina, or Minneapolis.  You realize that you always keep racing.  You always keep trying.  In this case, the third time was the charm, but it is not always poetic like that.  But what you really learn is the passion, the love, and the color we have for our sport transcends all continents, languages, and cultural boundaries.  I am already looking forward to this vacation, I mean race, again next year!

Alison M. Tetrick

Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies

Breakaway from Cancer®

3 In A Row For Hannah Barnes (UHC)

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Hannah Barnes Takes Third Victory in a Row on Stage 2 of Tour Femenino de San Luis
After starting the 2015 racing season with a sprint victory at the Grand Prix Juana Koslay, followed by a win on the opening stage of the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Hannah Barnes and her UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling teammates took their third consecutive win on Stage 2 of the 6-day race. These three wins in Argentina followed teammate Linda Villumsen’s solo victory in the New Zealand national championship road race, making an outstanding start to the 2015 season for the program.
The women’s professional peloton covered 75 kilometers near Villa Mercedes, Argentina on today’s second stage of the Tour Femenino de San Luis. With two intermediate sprint competitions throughout the day, the peloton was fast, aggressive, and compact, bringing the race finale to another bunch sprint. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team was once again prepared with a practiced lead out train, strong teamwork, and the sprinting power of Hannah Barnes. Barnes was able to achieve her third victory in a row for her teammates, sponsors, and fans. She commented, “Today’s stage was the one that I won last year, so I knew the finishing stretch well. The sprint was a little chaotic but we got organized and the girls did a great job to keep me near the front. Alexis took it up with about 500 meters to go, with me on her wheel, and dropped me off perfectly with about 200 meters left till the line. I was able to take the win with yet another great team effort!”
Leading the women through an extremely successful start to the 2015 season, Sporting Director Rachel Heal concluded, “Another great ride from the team today. There is always pressure defending a leader’s jersey, but the girls rose to the challenge and were present at the front of the race all day, always there when it mattered and delivering Hannah in perfect position for another fantastic win.” The team takes on stage 3 tomorrow, still in possession of the race leader’s jersey and best U23 rider jersey.

Team UnitedHealthcare Begins 2015 with Success

Hannah Barnes Opens Argentina Campaign with Sprint Victory in Grand Prix Juana Koslay

Hannah Barnes Opens Argentina Campaign with Sprint Victory in Grand Prix Juana Koslay

Team UnitedHealthcare Begins 2015 with Success: Villumsen Solos to NZ Road Title, Barnes Takes Victory in GP Juana Koslay and San Luis Stage 1
In the days before the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team embarked on their first stage race of 2015, team riders Linda Villumsen and Hannah Barnes were able to set the morale high with two victories. The women carried that high morale and momentum into stage 1 of the Tour de Femenino de San Luis on the following day, with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team sprinter Hannah Barnes taking the stage win, earning the coveted race leader’s jersey as well as the best sprinter and best U23 rider jerseys.

New to the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team for 2015, Linda Villumsen contested the Calder Stewart New Zealand elite national road championship on January 10th in her home of Christchurch, NZ. After finishing 2nd in the race twice in previous editions, Villumsen was determined to leave it all on the road in the pursuit of victory. Three laps into the 120-kilometer national championship race, the world-class road racer and time trialist moved to the front of the field and prepared to make her move. Responding to an early solo attack from decorated track cyclist Lauren Ellis, Villumsen lifted the pace on a climb and closed the gap to Ellis, accompanied by time trial champion Jaime Nielsen. After catching and overtaking the solo rider, it seemed an unbeatable breakaway pair had formed. However, moments into the effort, it became clear that Villumsen alone had the legs to continue the attack as Nielsen quickly withdrew.
With 80 kilometers left in the race, Villumsen put her head down and gave it her all. “I thought it was a bit early. I wanted her to get over the climb and work together for at least another lap or two. But I must have had pretty good legs today,” said Villumsen in an interview with BikeNZ. Villumsen showed astounding early season fitness, maintaining a strong and steady pace through the finish line, building an impressive advantage of nearly 8 minutes over the 2nd place rider.  “It’s great to have the national jersey to wear for my new team this year. We have kept it in the family because Rushlee (Buchanan) won it last year and she is my teammate at UnitedHealthcare,” concluded Villumsen.  This national road title follows Rushlee Buchanan’s recent victory in the New Zealand national criterium race, making two 2015 New Zealand national champion jerseys within the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train for 2015.

 

The day before the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team began the six-stage Tour Femenino de San Luis, they warmed up with 5 laps of racing in the Grand Prix Juana Koslay, totaling 76 kilometers of racing. Feeling the pressure of six important days of racing the come, many riders were hesitant to take chances or make major moves with the exception of a solo attack from Canadian rider Lex Albrecht. The move was eventually brought back, allowing the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train to assemble at the front, positioning Hannah Barnes to unleash her powerful sprint for the victory. The race winner commented, “we were hoping for a sprint today, so we made sure to go with any moves but wanted the race to stay together. The last 8 kilometers were into a headwind so we didn’t want to be on the front too early with just 5 riders. The headwind made it bunched and hard to keep position, but all of my teammates did their part and it was great to pull off the win!” Sporting director Rachel Heal concluded, “Between Linda’s national championship win in New Zealand and Hannah’s victory here in Argentina, it was a fantastic start to the season for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and and great way to go into the stage race.”

 

The day after taking victory in the Grand Prix Juana Koslay, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team began the 6-stage Tour Femenino de San Luis with a 80 rolling and twisting kilometers of racing around the region of El Durazno. With fresh legs and the race leader’s jersey on line, the peloton was attentive and aggressive across the challenging course. Attacks launched throughout the day and increased in frequency and intensity over the final 10 kilometers, but were all quickly reeled in by a peloton motivated to facilitate a bunch sprint. The sprint finale played into the hands of the UnitedHealthcare women, armed with the famous Blue Train lead out and the sprinting ability of Hannah Barnes, who was able to take her second win in two days for the team. The stage win earned three jerseys for Hannah: the race leader’s jersey, best under-23 rider jersey, and the sprinter’s jersey. Barnes commented, “Today we had a lot of scenarios that we could work with. We attacked a few times on the climbs but with 10 kilometers to go, we realized it would be a sprint. The finish was chaotic and getting organized was tough, but we kept our heads and with a kilometer to go, Scotti took the front and dropped me off in perfect position. I’m really happy to finish it off with the win for the team.” Sporting director Rachel Heal added, “After yesterday’s win, we knew that Hannah was sprinting really well and a bunch finish gave us a great opportunity to take the stage win and the leader’s jersey. With spirits high after yesterday’s great start, the riders were motivated to bring home another victory and it’s fantastic to back up yesterday’s win with another win today. Now we need to work on keeping the jersey.”

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