Rivera Leads UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team to Gateway Cup for Four Days of Criterium Racing
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will head to St. Louis, Missouri this weekend with two of the nation’s top ranked sprinters. Coryn Rivera and Ty Magner will lead the Women’s and Men’s teams at the four day Gateway Cup, a classic event that marks the imminenet culmination of the season long USA Cycling Pro Road Tour. Ty Magner has shown recent prowess on the criterium circuit with a win at the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium. Rivera is in her final preparations for the UCI Road World Championship, where she will represent Team USA. She hopes that the Gateway Cup will be the final spring board into a successful campaign on the biggest stage in the world.
The Gateway Cup has been going on for 24 years, and now includes four races over Labor Day weekend. During the weekend, the race moves between four distinct St Louis neighborhoods, creating a unique feel for each event. All four days offer equal payout for the women’s and men’s professional races, as well as multiple in-race primes that provide entertainment for the crowds who flock to the event.
The racing kicks off with the Tour de Lafayette this evening, Friday September 2nd. The Pro Women will begin at 8:15 pm central time.
2016 Gateway Cup Women’s Roster
- Iris Slappendel
- Lauren Tamayo
- Cari Higgins
- Coryn Rivera
- Katie Hall
- Diana Peñuala
The Women’s UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will be built around Rivera, who aims to take as many wins as possible. Flanking her will be team veterans Lauren Tamayo and Cari Higgins who will act to safe guard Rivera in the later half of the races. Both Tamayo and Higgins will be retiring at the end of the season, meaning their motivation to go out on top will be high. Up and coming Colombian sprinter Diana Penuela has shown promising form throughout the year, and gives the Blue Train an important second option in the sprints. This two pronged approach makes it much harder to best the team, as they can populate breakaways and still patrol the front of the bunch. Rounding out the team is Katie Hall and Iris Slappendel. Both riders have huge engines that can bring back moves and set up the lead out train. Slappendel has been racing multiple crits over the last few weeks and comes to the Gateway Cup in great form.
2016 Gateway Cup Men’s Roster
- Carlos Alzate
- Adrian Hegyvary
- Ty Magner
- Karl Menzies
- Brad White
The Men’s team is built around Ty Magner as the fastest finisher in the pack. Acting as support riders for the four day weekend, Karl Menzies and Brad White have more criterium racing experience than almost any other duo in North America. This wealth of knowledge means that all tactical permutations will be covered. Backing up Magner in the sprints will be Carlos Alzate. Alzate can win from both bunch sprints and longer breakaway moves, making him a dangerous character for the opposition. While the pack may be focusing on the moves of Magner, this will free up Alzate to create some unpredictability in the pack. The final member of the five-strong UnitedHealthcare Team will be Adrian Hegyvary. As road captain, Hegyvary will be responsible for calling the shots on the road, and ensuring that the Blue Train prevails at the end of each night’s competition.
The weekend starts with the Tour de Lafayette this evening, Friday September 2nd. The simple 0.9 mile circuit has four 90 degree corners. St. Louis’ first historic district has wide open streets, creating plenty of chances for big moves to get off the front. Now home to many unique shops and restaurants, the Lafayette Square neighborhood is one of the oldest in St. Louis and boasts the city’s first public park.
Another four-corners crit, the second leg of the Gateway Cup will be the Tour de Francis Park! The park is in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood, and showcases gingerbread bungalows, stately homes and some of the tidiest landscaping in St. Louis. The longer 1.3 mile circuit creates less chance for breakaways to hide up the road, but also includes long straights that optimise viewing opportunities for the crowds.
The Giro Della Montagna mixes up the racing with a big climb in the middle of the one-mile long circuit. While the riders are suffering, the crowds will be enjoying some of the finest Italian restaurants anywhere. The Giro della Montagna began in 1986 and was the brainchild of life-time Hill resident, Joe Torrisi. The Giro became the cornerstone of the Gateway Cup in 1998. Watch for splinters in both the men’s and women’s events as The Hill takes its toll on the riders.
The fourth and final leg of the Gateway Cup gets under way in historic Benton Park. This large and technically demanding course races through yet another one of St. Louis’ most nostalgic locales. The 10 corner race will see tight racing and lots of moves trying to get out of view on the picture perfect streets of the National Historic District.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is inching towards victory in the year long Team Standings competition of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour. With so much on the line in St. Louis, expect to see spectacular racing all weekend.