Team Completes 4-for-4 Streak at Gateway Cup: Women’s Squad Sweeps, Men Go 1-2 at Benton Park Classic
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team completed the 2014 Gateway Cup with great success today as the women racers took their first podium sweep of the year and the men followed by claiming the top two spots on the podium in the Benton Park Classic, the last race of the 4-race Gateway Cup omnium.
After three days of successful racing at the 2014 Gateway Cup and delivering three wins in a row, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team decided to change their tactics and go on the attack. The riders launched several short-lived attacks, the most significant of which was a solo attack by Coryn Rivera that would build lead of 15 seconds at it’s longest point. The field was determined the bring Rivera back and with 5 laps to remaining, the UnitedHealthcare women switched their focus towards the sprint finish. With the race all back together in the final laps, the riders timed their lead out to perfection, with Cari Higgins leading the field around the final corner and delivering Hannah Barnes and Coryn Rivera for the sprint. Hannah Barnes took the win, with Coryn Rivera second and Cari Higgins rounding out the podium in third. Today’s performance marked the women’s first-ever podium sweep.
The men’s race followed shortly after and proved to be equally aggressive with several small groups riding clear of the main field. The most significant attack was a group of four riders who built up a lead of 30 seconds with 5 laps remaining. The UnitedHealthcare Blue Train moved to the front and slowly reeled back in the leaders, catching them with one lap remaining and queuing a fast-paced bunch sprint for the last race of the Gateway Cup. Capitalizing on the great sprinting form that earned the win in last night’s race, Ken Hanson delivered the victory again for the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train with teammate Luke Keough claiming second on the podium.
Sporting director Rachel Heal commented, “I really couldn’t ask for any more from the team this weekend. Walking away with 8 wins from 8 races, as well as capturing both men’s and women’s omnium wins, is a very successful race series by any measure. The women have been focusing on perfecting their lead out and a sweep of the podium on the final day shows how well the team has come together. Being down a man down after Karl’s crash on day 1 meant the men had their work cut out for them, but they were able to rise to the challenge with flawless lead outs delivering Ken and Luke to the podium every day. Motivation and confidence is high for both teams heading into professional criterium nationals next weekend.”
Sprinter Coryn Rivera credited teamwork for the successful week of racing when she added, “The only reason I’ve been so consistent this weekend is the support of my teammates. Scotti, Rushlee, Lauren, Cari, and Hannah make my job easy. I have nothing to worry about except for the sprint and they take the brunt of the work. That is true teamwork and they are true teammates. The best part is finally sweeping on the last day. We’ve worked hard all year and finally dialed in our lead out so that we could sweep the podium. I couldn’t ask for more. We are headed into US Pro Criterium Nationals with plenty of momentum.”
Winner of the men’s race, Ken Hanson, concluded, “Today’s race was a great example of a team win. We took the front with 8 laps to go to bring back a strong break of 4 riders. Hilton Clarke got a rear puncture with 3 laps to go and made a quick wheel change to make it back for a critical lead out for Luke and Me into the final corner. It was text book team work!”