Team Fields Strong Squad for 2016 Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Tour of California
The Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Tour of California begins in South Lake Tahoe on May 19th. After storming to the win on the opening stage of the 2015 race, Katie Hall returns to lead the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in the nation’s most prestigious event. The four-stage event takes the women’s field from the heights of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the beauty of Sonoma County, and then finishes in the State Capitol of Sacramento. Two open road stages, a team time trial, and a final stage criterium will keep the peloton on their toes, and create exciting racing from start to finish.2016 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Roster
Alongside Hall is an experienced squad of riders on the hunt for stage wins as well as results in the general and team classifications. Iris Slappendel, riding her first season in the USA, will be an invaluable resource for the riders on the team. After years of racing in Europe, Slappendel will guide the team through the early parts of each stage, and act as a crucial link in the pathway to any successes. All-rounder Annie Ewart will lend her fitness and expertise to the squad across the four stages.
Coryn Rivera comes to the Tour of California as the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s fastest finisher. With a flat run in to the finish in Santa Rosa of Stage 3, the squad will look to protect Rivera and fight for the stage win. The final stage circuit race is also prime territory for Rivera to come to the fore. With two fast finishes at the end of the race, the event is likely to be nail-biting right down to the last kilometer of racing. Fresh off a USA Cycling National Criterium Championship victory, Lauren Tamayo will be able to wear her Stars and Stripes jersey during the final stage of the race in Sacramento. Tamayo will use her crit racing experience to shepherd team sprinter Rivera through the tight turns of the downtown course.
With Linda Villumsen, World Time Trial Champion, on the squad, the team will look to perform at the Folsom Team Time Trial taking place on May 20th. The 12.6-mile out and back course will be laid out through Historic Downtown Folsom, giving spectators the chance to see teams up close. For Villumsen, the chance to ride an international strength time trial will be great preparation on the road to the Olympics in Rio. Based on her form in last week’s Tour of the Gila, Villumsen will also be one to watch on the hillier opening stage, where she will prove a valuable teammate for Katie Hall.
The overall champion of the 2016 Tour of California will be decided on May 22ndafter 20 laps of a downtown Sacramento circuit. On the wide, fast roads, fans can expect shakeups until the very end. Last year, Sacramento saw a thrilling women’s finish; the general classification win came down to sprint time bonuses and the final sprint for the stage. The UnitedHealthcare Team will be comfortable on the fast finishing circuits of Sacramento after years of racing on similar terrain in criteriums throughout America. Expect to see organised leadouts and a fast finale here.