|“Our success in the criterium circuit is 100% due to teamwork. We have assembled a group of riders that are fully committed to each other and the goal of the team win. In crit racing, you bring that do or die mentality. And with our lead-out speed and a fast finisher in Hilton Clarke, we have a great formula for success.”- Mike Tamayo, General Manager and Team Director,
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling TeamHILTON CLARKEis a force.
And for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, the force that is Hilton Clarke takes the form of speed on two wheels and is designed to give any sprinter in any criterium a run for his money.
The 2012 season has yielded many rewards for Clarke and his Teammates and the hard-working sprinter from Australia has been a constant for Team UnitedHealthcare during his tenure with the US based Pro Continental outfit. This year the bounty Clarke has collected has come in the form of podium placing finishes and victories. Now, on the eve of the final race of the 2012 National Criterium Calendar (NCC) Series, the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup in Boston, Clarke has mathematically clinched the series title and should be crowned NCC champion on Saturday evening, September 22.
We caught up with the decorated professional cyclist and current Santa Monica, California resident in Boston, where he shared his thoughts on the season to date, the importance of teamwork, and some of the highlights from the amazing season that was for Team UnitedHealthcare.
Wesley Mallette (WM): Hilton, you’ve had several wins and podium finishes this year, not to mention a lot of success over the past two and one-half years with the Team. Talk about this season and what has made it special.
Hilton Clarke (HC):
We have to get the balance right when there is myself, Förster and Keough at the same race. We know which events suit which rider the best, so as far as juggling the aspects around who goes for the win, knowing each other so well truly helps and we make the best decision based on the specific race. We trust each other implicitly and we race each day on who has the best chance to win.
WM: You essentially solidified your lead atop the NCC standings following your big win in Boise earlier this summer. What were your feelings and thoughts after your win that night?
WM: What are your expectations as you move into tomorrow night’s final race on the NCC Calendar? What will your mindset be like going into the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup in Boston on Saturday (September 22)?
My Teammates mean the world to me. Every last one of them and these guys are fantastic. As for changes and how we adapt, I guess this year there has been a change in the ruling where you could ride with eight-man teams in a crit and now you can ride with six. Previously, with eight guys it was easier and with the change to six maximum, it’s made me witness this year that just when you think guys are done in the last two or three laps, they get back in line to do another pull and get us on the podium or on the top step this year. This is an incredible crit squad and I’m glad to be a part of it.
WM: Athletes are known for their tendency to do develop certain pre-race and race day habits or routines, especially before the bigger events. Do you have any interesting things surrounding your pre-race prep?
WM: What would you consider your biggest highlight of the 2012 season?
WM: When you look at your career as a whole and the lessons you’ve learned, what would you say has been one of the most valuable that you’ve applied to this Team?
Hilton Clarke and Team UnitedHealthcare will close out their 2012 season, Saturday, September 22 in Boston at the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup. Be sure to follow the Team through the off-season and into 2013 on Facebook and on the website.
# # #