Men’s Team Prepares to Begin 2015 Amgen Tour of California
The 10th annual Amgen Tour of California begins for the men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team on Sunday, May 10th. The 8-stage race will open with an exciting circuit race around the California state capitol in downtown Sacramento, creating an ideal backdrop for the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train to launch an ambitious campaign in of the biggest races in the World.
The world-famous event, which draws more than two million spectators to the action, takes in eight days of racing across the state of California. After the circuit race in Sacramento, the race will visit California’s central valley, and then travel down the pacific coast towards the Los Angeles area. Mt. Baldy, arguably the most challenging climb in California, will once again feature prominently in deciding the overall standings. Day seven will finish with the ascent of Mt Baldy for an action-packed mountaintop finish, just one day before the finale in downtown Los Angeles.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team started the season with riders spread out across the globe. Experience gained throughout a successful European campaign, alongside criterium and stage race wins in the United States, gives general manager Mike Tamayo a huge talent and experience pool to select from. With a full complement of WorldTour teams to compete against, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team is up to the challenge. The Tour of California squad includes riders returning from successful campaigns at the Tour of Turkey and the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico. Tamayo is confident of the team’s ability, “We have won stages at all the major tours in the USA, but have come away with second places in California. The win seems to elude us. This year we are bringing a stacked team that has been performing exceptionally in European competitions. Our goal is a stage win.”
UnitedHealthcare Blue Train sprinters aim for success in California.
Fresh off of a promising string of results at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, Daniele Ratto is gunning for sprint success at the Tour of California. Ratto is joined by fellow sprinters Kiel Reijnen and Marco Canola, who both earned multiple top-ten finished at last week’s Tour of the Gila. The opening stage criterium in downtown Sacramento is the perfect opportunity for Ratto, Reijnen, and Canola to test their legs and open the stage race in style. After of the first stage in Sacramento, The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will likely contest the sprints on the long run in to the stage two finish in Lodi, and also the L.A. Live circuit race, set to finish at the Rose Bowl on May 17. Watch for the powerful UnitedHealthcare Blue Train to assemble at the front of the peloton in the final, decisive kilometers of these key sprint stages.
Jani Brajkovič prepared to take on the big climbs.
With a significant amount of climbing spread out through the Tour of California, Jani Brajkovič is well-suited to the course. The Slovenian native is riding his first season with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team, after a long career in the european peloton.
In particular, Brajkovič will be looking to place well on the most mountainous of the eight stages. Stage 5, from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita has 7500 feet of climbing. The charming town of Santa Paula marks the start of Balcom Canyon, which is notorious among local riders. The steep grade could serve as a launch pad for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling to send their leader to the front of the race. With the day finishing on the long climb of highway 126 into Santa Clarita, this could be a day to remember in the GC battle.
The most talked about stage, the day seven mountain top finish on Mt Baldy is the perfect opportunity for Brajkovič to test his climbing mettle. Coming at the end of seven days of racing, only the best riders will contest the long climb with the lead group.
The California roster is bolstered by rock-solid all-rounders Danny Summerhill, Tanner Putt, John Murphy, and stage race team captain, Jonny Clarke, lending horsepower, experience, and talent to stages of any profile, pitch, or length. The teamwork, sacrifice, and commitment that has seen the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team become the most dominant US domestic team will hold the riders in good stead as they battle both North American and International talent at the 2015 Amgen Tour of California.