UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling primed for Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California has finally arrived and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling is ready to race. Both men’s and women’s teams include riders with variety of skills that complement the team as a whole – mirroring the kind of strong competition and challenging terrain that awaits them at the World Tour events.
Men’s and women’s roster ready for action
“We are trying to bring a well-balanced team to ATOC,” team director Seba Alexandre said. “Our intention will be to take any opportunity we may have, to be in breaks and go for king of the mountains points. Every year there is probably one stage where the break can make it, so we want to have good representation whenever that may happen.”
An example of exceptional consistency in the general classification category is Gavin Mannion, whose climbing and time trial ability is understated, yet feared among competitors. Alexandre said Mannion, who was second overall last year at the Tour of Utah, is on form coming into the race and targeting at top 10 result overall.
“I look forward to this race all year,” Mannion said. “Having the opportunity to race a World Tour event in your own backyard is always special and I hope to capitalize on my great form in California.”
2017 US criterium champion and Tour of Utah stage winner, Travis McCabe will be focused on the third stage, starting in King City and finishing at the famous Laguna Seca Raceway.
“I think that finish suits him very well,” Alexandre said. “However, the flat ones will be more difficult with so many fast World Tour finishers that are coming to the race. Most of the best sprinters in the world will be here, so it will be a good test for McCabe and our lead out.”
Romanian Serghei Tvetcov has shown nothing but improvement since the beginning of the season, so his goal will be the stage 4 time trial from San Jose to Morgan Hills.
Rounding out the roster is Jonny Clarke, Tanner Putt, recent winner of a stage at Redlands Classic, Seba Haedo and Lachlan Norris.
“I’m very excited for the Amgen Tour of California,” said Norris, who will be looking for breakaway opportunities all week. “I haven’t done the race for a few years and it will be good to represent the team at the biggest race of the year. I think we have a well-balanced team and I’ll will be looking to help the guys achieve our team goals for strong stage results and overall GC placing.”
Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM
Motivated doesn’t begin to describe the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling women’s team going into this year’s race. With Katie Hall at the helm, the team has taken GC victories, as well as individual stage victories at Joe Martin Stage Race, Tour of the Gila and most recently, Redlands Bicycle Classic in the buildup to Tour of California.
“Obviously as a World Tour race, California is a big step up, but so far, the team has risen to each challenge they have faced, and so I have every confidence in them heading into California,” team director Rachel Hedderman said.
Hall finished in second place last year by a just one second and is determined do one better this time around. Stage 2 is the exact same course Hall dominated the year before, and suits the diminutive climber to a tee.
“The second stage of this year’s race is where I took the yellow jersey last year,” Hall said. “It’s an important race for me, I love the climbs and great memories I took home after the event. This year, I hope I take home good memories and a yellow jersey.”
Hedderman said the flatter stages in Elk Grove and Sacramento will be well suited to the team’s three sprinters: Lauretta Hanson, Diana Peñuela and Lauren Hall, but expects the whole team to play an active part in all three stages.
Leah Thomas, a California native, said racing in her home state adds a sense of pride and joy to the event, especially her friends and family have the opportunity to watch.
“After all the success we have had so far this season, we are hungry to build upon the momentum and have another good result at the Amgen Tour of California,” Thomas said. “With teams coming over from Europe, the battle for the yellow jersey will be our biggest challenge yet this season, and one that we are excited to work towards. We have really had to work as a team these past races to defend the yellow jersey and we have learned a lot, both about each other and tactically. Through that process, and we feel prepared for these three hard days of racing. Katie has demonstrated repeatedly that she is clearly on form, and I am excited to assist her in any way possible throughout the race, especially on stage 2 where the course suits our strengths.”
2018 Amgen Tour of California Men’s Roster
- Lachlan Norris
- Seba Haedo
- Jonny Clarke
- Tanner Putt
- Gavin Mannion
- Travis McCabe
- Serghei Tvetcov
2018 Amgen Tour of California Women’s Roster
- Lizzie Banks
- Lauren Hall
- Lauretta Hanson
- Diana Peñuela
- Katie Hall
- Leah Thomas