Tour de Feminin next on tap for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling women
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling women’s team is back in gear after a small break, this time in Europe for the Tour de Feminin. The long-standing Czech Republic stage race is a perfect start to the summer block of racing, culminating with the BeNe Ladies Tour at the end of the July.
Czech Republic stage race held from July 5-8
The team will take the start line on the fifth of July with a lot riding on their shoulders after enjoying some top finishes from the 2017 edition.
“We had good results here last year, with Ruth (Winder) taking the win, and were hoping to further our success in 2018. Personally, I’m feeling good and I’m excited to be back racing in the Czech Republic. Last year, I had just come off an injury and wasn’t in best form, so this year I am seeking a bit of redemption,” Lauretta Hanson said.
The four-day race includes a double stage halfway through the event, featuring a morning 14.7km time trial and 71.2km afternoon circuit race.
Leah Thomas, who finished fourth overall in last year’s edition after an excellent time trial performance on stage 3 is anxious to return to the Czech Republic for another chance at the podium. Thomas will race alongside recent Tour of California champion and teammate, Katie Hall.
“It’s a well-run race with good courses and a lot of undulating terrain,” Thomas said. “We have a strong team here, and are looking to add another GC win to our successes this year. We have many cards to play, will race aggressively, and we will see how the race plays out.”
Rushlee Buchanan, multiple time New Zealand champion, said the team has good confidence heading in to the race after last year’s success.
“Feminin is an all -rounders tour and I think that suits our style of racing,” Buchanan said. “I enjoyed the routes last year so this time we know what to expect and will use that to our advantage. The race and community here in Czech Republic are passionate about hosting a women’s tour and that is really awesome to see.”
Michigan skater turned cyclist Janelle Cole is joining the team in Europe for the first time in her racing career and is thrilled about her new overseas adventure.
“As it’s my first time really racing in Europe, I’m not sure what to expect,” Cole said. “I suppose I hope for and expect the hardest, most challenging racing I’ve done yet. I’d say my personal goals are to do everything possible to help my teammates however I can, and to finish every race having left absolutely everything out there on course.”
Lizzy Banks will also be experiencing some new “firsts” with the squad. It’s not only her first time at Tour de Feminin, it’s also the first time she’ll be racing in Europe with her team after a long American block of racing this spring.
“UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling won this race last year so we’ve got a lot to live up to, but we have a really fantastic squad out here and we are all looking forward to some hard and aggressive racing and giving it our best shot,” Banks said.