Coryn Rivera and Luke Keough Win Gateway Cup’s Tour de Lafayette
The men and women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team headed to Missouri this week to contest the Staenberg Group Gateway Cup, a series of four criterium races taking place in four separate neighbors of St. Louis. With all four of the events included in the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar and the USA Criterium Series coming to a conclusion on Sunday, the stakes were especially high for both men’s and women’s professional races, drawing stacked fields in each.
The women’s race was aggressive from the beginning, with several attacks, chases, and crashes mixing up the action as the race unfolded. Rushlee Buchanan took over for the UnitedHealthcare Team with 4 laps to go, bringing Lauren Tamayo close behind on her wheel. The team took turns with the Colavita and FCS Zngine teams at the front until two laps from the finish, when the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team lifted the pace again, hoping to position sprinter Coryn Rivera for the win. On the final lap, the team executed their well-practiced lead out train and propelled Coryn Rivera to the front of the field for the sprint. Rivera came through again for her teammates, repaying their hard work with a sprint to victory along the streets of Lafayette. Rivera commented, “I’m so happy to be back at the crits with all the girls. It’s always amazing when our lead out is executed to perfection. Looking forward to the next three days to nail it down even further. And always great for the boys to win. We work really well off of each other. True teamwork.”
The men’s race began shortly after, with attacks launching immediately and frequently. An attack began to clear the field with 25 laps to go, but the powerful peloton kept a close watch on the riders, giving them no more than a few seconds. A solo rider was able to make a small gap for roughly 4 laps before the field brought him back with 11 laps remaining. Riders gave their best attack efforts throughout the remaining laps, but the field proved too strong and the race stayed together for the rest of the 60-minute race. With 5 laps to go, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team began to make their move, assembling the blue and white on the inside of turn 3. The team remained at the front of the field through the final laps, going single file and stringing the field out with 1 lap to go. Coming around the final turn, with a boost from the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train lead out, Luke Keough unleashed his dominant sprint, taking the victory for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Teammate Ken Hanson rounded out the podium in third place, completing a successful first night of the 4-day Gateway Cup series.
Race winner Luke Keough commented, “Tonight was a fast race from the gun. Full gas, wide open straights made for a dynamic night. We had a strong group here and we were confident in the lead out that we have dialed in all season. But this is still bike racing and with 8 laps to go there was a big crash at full speed that took out Karl Menzies. Losing one of our guys is always a bit of a scare, but we stayed calm and switched up the order. The rest of the guys rode amazingly. I can’t say enough about Brad and Adrian- so strong and so drilled, they still had it under control with a man down. Ken gave a great lead out and still earned 3rd place. It was a good start to the weekend of racing here in St. Louis.”