UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Takes Third Overall in Langkawi
Isaac Bolivar Leads UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team to Third Overall in Tour de Langkawi.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has concluded an excellent showing at the 2014 Tour de Langkawi. The final haul of results for the team includes a third place overall finish on the General Classification and second place finish in the Mountains Classification, both results achieved by Isaac Bolivar, and stage podiums on three stages with three different riders.
The results mirror the high expectations that Team Manager Mike Tamayo has set for the Blue Train in 2014, and more specifically, reflect the diverse squad that he sent to take on Langkawi’s challenges, which range from full-throttle sprint finishes with some of the world’s best sprinters, to sharp climbing stages over the race’s 10 stages and nearly 1500 kilometers of competition. Confirming the result, Tamayo congratulated his riders, “This edition of Langkawi, with so many podiums and a 3rd in GC is one of our best tours so far. It’s great that we factored in the climbs, in the breaks and also in the sprints. It shows that we are a well rounded team with a dynamic roster.”
Wasting little time in garnering results, the team scored its first podium of the race with Johnny Clarke earning a third place finish on stage two, surviving from a break that formed early in the day and worked until the closing kilometers to keep the peloton at bay.
Stage three saw Brad White immediately try to add to the results tally, as he too, made the early break and nearly made it stick, getting caught just one kilometer from the finish. Undeterred, Brad took his opportunity again on stage five, taking a spot in a six-rider break. As the stage wore on, White did his part to be sure that the break would succeed. He worked to jettison weaker riders late in the day, and then outsprinted the remaining two riders to take the win.
However, it was stage four that showcased perhaps the most important display of teamwork from the UnitedHealthcare squad during the event. The team had one clear goal, and that was to support and protect Isaac Bolivar on the hilly course. Twenty-five riders made an early separation from the peloton, included in the move: White and Bolivar. This set up a perfect scenario in which White could do the work and Bolivar could sit on and conserve energy as the numbers in the break were reduced on the sharp climbs throughout the stage. Finally, White delivered Bolivar to the base of the last climb with just twelve riders remaining in the lead group. From there, Bolivar took the initiative and put in a big attack with 3 kilometers to go, leaving all but two other riders in his wake. Bolivar would hold on for a third place finish on the day, a result that the team would defend to the end of the race, producing a spot on the final General Classification podium for Bolivar.
Combined with the numerous top-ten finishes at Tour de Langkawi, the team’s results were cause for celebration by Team Director Hendrik Redant, and reason to look toward the rest of the spring schedule with optimism and high expectations. Said Redant, “I’m proud of the effort put in by what proved to be a very strong UnitedHealthcare team at Langkawi. The riders covered all of the key moves, delivered results of their own, and worked together create a superb result for Isaac Bolivar, who has clearly confirmed his quality, despite battling bronchitis during the race.”
Now, UnitedHealthcare shifts attention to the squad in Europe as they compete in Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima (both this weekend), while the women’s team continues to compete in a handful of events leading up to the Vuelta El Salvador, which begins on Tuesday. Already the women’s efforts in events leading up to La Vuelta have paid off with podium finishes for the team and a win for Mara Abbott with a solo move at the end of the Grand Prix Oriente.