Team Assembles World-Class Squads for the Tour of Utah Men’s and Women’s Races
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will bring 14 riders to the 2015 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to contest seven men’s stages and two women’s stages from August 3rd to 9th. Billed as ‘America’s Toughest Stage Race,’ the event is the first major UCI stage race following the Tour de France and will see North American teams clashing with the largest teams from around the world.
The men’s race, starting on August 3rd and concluding on August 9th, is a category 2.HC-rated UCI stage race, making it one of the top-ranked events in North America. The 2015 Tour of Utah will cover 712 miles and 51,442 vertical feet of climbing. Downtown Logan will set the race off in style with a daunting 132-mile route and 6500 vertical feet of climbing through Logan Canyon. The race then takes two loops around a challenging circuit, setting the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train up for a sprint opportunity. The women’s race will also utilize the downtown circuit on a sprint-friendly course, sure to be lined with spectators and fans. The men’s race takes on a series of hilly stages in the middle of the week, perfect for the agile sprinting duo of Kiel Reijnen and Marco Canola. With punchy climbs leading into downtown finishes, the climbing abilities and tactical prowess of the riders will be useful assets to the team. John Murphy has had great success this year in Europe and North America, and will likely move to the front for the Blue Train with the help of his teammates when the race ends in a field sprint.
The week’s racing builds up to the mountaintop finish at Snowbird Resort on Saturday, August 8th. The Queen Stage ascends to almost 10,000 feet atop Guardsman Pass, before setting the riders up for the difficult and much anticipated finish at Snowbird resort. Look for Slovenian cycling star Janez Brajkovič to test his legs on the steep grades towards the finish on this important stage. The final stage of the 2015 Tour of Utah will take place in Park City. The beautiful aspen-covered hills will host a winding route with two significant climbs over the 78-mile route. Despite hundreds of miles already in their legs from the week of racing, attacks will inevitably fly on the final day with riders hoping to gain time on the slopes of Empire Pass. The legendary climb is a fitting end to the race, and will ensure the 2015 Tour of Utah finishes with fireworks.
The men’s team enters the race with a great number of strong results so far in 2015. The Italian Marco Canola captured the King of the Mountain jersey at the Criterium International. Brajkovič finished fifth overall at the Tour of the Gila this year, showing his form for the GC fight in Utah. Top Americans on the team include Kiel Reijnen, who finished third on Stage 5 at last year’s Tour of Utah, and John Murphy, who won the 2014 National Criterium Championship. Tanner Putt, a Utah native and formidable sprinter will be a home crowd favorite as he aids his teammates in lead outs and breakaways. All-rounder Chris Jones and team captain Jonny Clarke bring depth and extensive stage racing experience to the squad as they take on the difficult stages.
Women of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Return to Defend 2014 Wins
Following two wins at the first edition of the event in 2014, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train are back with a strong team for the 2015 edition. Sprinting for the team will be Coryn Rivera, who won stage 2 and the overall title, in 2014, along with British sprinter Hannah Barnes. Hannah has ridden to multiple sprint victories this year already, including the final stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour of Britain. Her teammate, Linda Villumsen, is the 2015 New Zealand Road Race National Champion, and will be a key component of the famous UnitedHealthcare Blue Train lead out. Powerful riders Lauren Tamayo and Cari Higgins, along with all-rounder Alexis Ryan complete the capable roster for the Utah race.
The two-day omnium format race will be a close-fought competition with numerous strong women’s teams in attendance. The opening stage, with a downhill approach to the finishing straight, suits the blue and white squad well. Stage 2 will take place on a fast, flat, and open 1.5-mile circuit in Downtown Ogden. The 6-corner criterium course will use many of the same roads the men will race on later in the day. The sweeping corners lead to a final dash before the finish at the Ogden Municipal Gardens, where the stage and race overall will be decided for the women’s field.
The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team head to Utah in good form, with Coryn Rivera returning to the States after a stage win at Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen while racing with Team USA. The team most recently raced along the legendary Champs-Élysées in Paris for the La Course by Le Tour, where they showed great determination and teamwork despite treacherous conditions and numerous crashes.