The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team proved their potential today with a fantastic showing in the team’s World Tour debut, the 2014 edition of Milan-San Remo. One of cycling’s five monuments, Milan-San Remo is known for its vast length and varied terrain, making it an unpredictable race of attrition. Even completing this classic race requires an incredible mix of fitness, climbing ability, mental toughness, and luck.
Today’s 105th edition of the storied monument was no exception, covering a staggering 294 kilometers of slippery and treacherous roads, while a cold and steady rainfall assaulted the riders for the majority of the race. Determined to make a mark on the race, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team placed Marc de Maar in an early breakaway of 7 riders only 17 kilometers after the start. As the day went on, the powerful breakaway would see an advantage of over 10 minutes. Eventually, de Maar’s breakaway companions slowly succumbed to the climbs and brutal elements, one by one falling back to the charging peloton. De Maar pushed on with courage and tenacity as the breakaway was narrowed down to only 3 riders. De Maar held his advantage all the way to the top of the Cipressa climb, a stunning 270 kilometers into the race, when the sprint trains were able to regain control of the race and position for a bunch sprint.
Also of note, the Blue Train raced partly under the guidance of Sports Director Rachel Heal today, making her one of very few women to direct races at the World Tour level. She reflected on the day, “Today was an amazing experience for me, to be a part of my first world tour race, I feel very privileged to be part of such a great team and to be given the opportunity to learn from one of the best and most experienced directors in the world of cycling, Roberto Damiani. Today we were one team, the riders and staff, everyone gave 100% and showed that UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is a force to be reckoned with.”
General Manager, Mike Tamayo commented, “Milan-San Remo is our first Monument and World Tour race. I am very proud of the way the team rode today, carrying the UnitedHealthcare flag high and proud. Marc de Maar was a champion in the way that he rode off the front all day. This is just a glimpse of what we can do as a team!” Veteran Sports Director, Robert Damiani added, “Marc was the main protagonist of today’s race until just 15 kilometers from the finish. This is the result of years of hard and professional work and a clear sign of the improvement and progression of this team. We mean it when when we say that this team always intends to win together!”
Marc de Maar’s great display of fortitude today is indicative of this team’s spirit and future. The UnitedHealthcare Blue Train has proven time and again that they possess the talent, depth, and aggression to animate races at the highest level. This was a remarkable World Tour debut for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, and they look forward to lining up to represent the sponsors and fans at their next World Tour event, the 2014 edition of Paris-Roubaix.
Photo Credit: Sirotti Stefano – www.sirotti.it