The UnitedHealthcare pro cycling Team announced today, Monday, November 19, 2012, that eight new riders have officially joined the US-based Pro Continental outfit for the 2013 season. The latest members of the pro peloton set to don the blue and white of Team UnitedHealthcare are Lucas Euser (USA), Alessandro Bazzana (ITA), Luke Keough (USA), Aldo Ilesic (SLO), Kiel REIjnen (USA), Martin Irvine (IRE), Danny Summerhill (USA), and John Murphy (USA). These eight athletes, along with 13 returning veterans (to be announced later this week), will comprise the 2013 edition of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train.
An enthusiastic Mike Tamayo spoke about each of the new acquisitions and the General Manager and Team Director was optimistic about the roles his new charges will play this season. Tamayo stated, “We are thrilled with the latest additions to our 2013 roster. These eight guys have tremendous talent and all bring something special to the table. In addition to being elite professional athletes, they are all high character guys who will represent our sponsors and our sport well both on and off the bike.”
“It is no secret we have high expectations for our Team,” Tamayo continued, “and we are pleased to have a total of 21 riders who fit the bill and we believe can help us reach our goals.”
Speaking about the eight new signees, Tamayo had the following to say:
LUCAS EUSER (USA)
“Lucas has always been a solid climber and proved throughout this year that he can climb with the best of them. He has also learned a lot about his incredible ability as well as his limitations. He can be a leader, and on this Team he will get the opportunity to let those things shine.” – Mike Tamayo
Euser is the personification of mental and physical toughness. The 29 year-old Napa, California native and current Boulder, Colorado resident almost lost his life after being hit by a car while on the bike in Girona, Spain in 2009. Euser fought hard to recover from the accident and is eager to take his place among his new Teammates following a successful two-year stint with Team SpiderTech Powered by C-10.
“I Look forward to being part of a strong and competitive team,” Euser stated. “The UnitedHealthcare pro cycling Team that has a strong commitment to winning and with UnitedHealthcare being a brand that cares about its riders and its customers, I am excited about racing and I can’t wait to join my Teammates on the podium. This is sweet reward after coming back from a nearly career ending injury.”
ALESSANDRO BAZZANA (ITA)
“Baz is one of the few quick riders that can make it over a climb. Couple that with our sprint team and Alessandro will find a true home with Team UnitedHealthcare quickly.” – Mike Tamayo
Alessandro Bazzana joins the squad from the Team Type 1-Sanofi pro cycling Team where the versatile racer with the fiery style was able to produce results consistently.
Pleased about coming on board with the Blue Train in 2013, the frequent podium visitor and 3rd place finisher in Stage 5 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge, said, “Joining Team UnitedHealthcare motivates me to continue the improvement I experienced over the past two years as a cyclist. I’ve known and admired this Team since I turned professional in 2007 and being part of it today gives me a major sense of responsibility and excitement. I Look forward to work with a great bunch of guys.”
ALDO ILESIC (SLO)
“Aldo is a good sprinter in his own right. He can win races and can also be a huge asset to a very strong lead out. Aldo is part of an upgrade in horsepower to our UnitedHealthcare Blue Train.” – Mike Tamayo
Aldo Ilesic was a key rider for his former unit, Team Type 1-Sanofi. Always putting the team first, Ilesiac is known as a selfless rider who often sacrifices his own gain for his teammates. But the proven sprinter has the ability to deliver big results as well, producing top 10 finishes in France in 2011 along with a host of criterium wins and podium results he has achieved over the past six years.
Ilesic said, “I am very happy to join the UnitedHealthcare pro cycling Team. This is a first-class operation and I Look forward to doing what I can to help make a team that is already very good that much better.”
KIEL RIEJNEN (USA)
“Kiel has been on the podium at the US Pro Road Race and at some of the hardest mountain top finishes in Asia. With the proper support and preparation, we expect big things from Kiel this year.” – Mike Tamayo
One of the best young American climbers in the peloton, Kiel REIjnen has won the Tour of Thailand and the Tour of Rwanda. The podium mainstay has also finished in the top three at China’s high-mountain Tour of Qinghai Lake, as well as the Tour of Hainan and the Tour de Korea. Tamayo is high on REIjnen and the role the Bainbridge Island, WashinGTon native and current Boulder, Colorado resident will play with the Team this season.
“I’ve watched how this Team continues to grow, its high level of professionalism, and the outstanding results the guys deliver at the races,” Riejnen said. “I’m Looking forward to a great year ahead being a part of a winning tradition. My goal is to keep that going and definitely add to it.”
DANNY SUMMERHILL (USA)
“Danny is young and full of passion. He wants to perform, he wants to sacrifice, and he wants to impress. His ‘go get ‘em’ attitude is a major strenGTh and that will help get this kid to the top. We had the opportunity to see first hand what he can do while he was racing for us in Colorado at the USA Pro Challenge last season and we are pleased to have him on the Team for 2013.” – Mike Tamayo
After being called up to the Team just days before the 2012 USA Pro Challenge, Colorado native Danny Summerhill responded to the opportunity, performing well for the Team throughout the stage race and as a result, staying on with the Team for the duration of its 2012 campaign.
Along with several of his UnitedHealthcare Teammates, Summerhill is currently racing cyclocross in the off-season and continues to produce results. Having his best ‘cross season ever, the former Chipotle Development Team racer is most appreciative of the opportunity to join the powerful UnitedHealthcare unit. The personable young rider stated, “This Team has done so much for me, picking me up and taking me to my first Pro Continental team, that I want to do all I can to help the sponsors and help the Team. They deserve all the credit I can give them, so if I can help do that in the winter time and the off-season when we don’t have any road races, then that’s great!”
LUKE KEOUGH (USA)
“Younger brother to Jake, Luke showed great promise this year. He has the same tenacity and passion as his older brother and I am excited to work with Luke and continue to develop some of the best sprinters the USA has to offer. Luke and Jake are different types of sprinters and the two of them together will be a ferocious combination.” – Mike Tamayo
The Team announced the addition of Luke Keough from Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis in September to race alongside his older sibling and one of the fastest men in the US, Jake Keough.
Big brother Jake is happy to have his younger brother in tow and racing by his side. The Sandwich, Massachusetts native said, “Having Luke join us will be an incredible asset for both myself and Team UnitedHealthcare. Luke and I train together on a daily basis and we are able to communicate very well with one another on the bike, which will lead to us being a force to be reckoned with in the bunch sprints. Luke is capable of doing the lead out in the sprints at big UCI races and is a proven winner here on domestic soil.”
Speaking on his jump to the Pro Continental level, Luke stated, “I am very excited to get the opportunity to race with a great program like UnitedHealthcare. I have raced against these guys for the past few seasons and have watched as the Team grew into the best team in the country. My goal has always been to race at the top level of the sport and now I have the chance to do so with UnitedHealthcare. These are some of the best guys in the sport and my goals are to learn from them, gain experience and become an asset to a winning squad.”
MARTYN IRVINE (IRE)
“Martyn is our little secret. He comes from a track racing background where he represented Ireland in the 2012 Olympics. After seeing his work ethic while training and his huge horsepower, adding Martyn to our sprint team was a no brainer.” – Mike Tamayo
Ireland’s Martyn Irvine represented his country at the London 2012 Olympics in the Omnium event and the versatile pro cyclist is eager to represent the UnitedHealthcare pro cycling Team in 2012. The renowned track cyclist landed 2nd place in the Scratch Race and Individual Pursuit event at the World Cup in Glasgow over the weekend. And the seven-time Irish national track and road champion cyclist is ready for the ride ahead with Team UnitedHealthcare.
”I’m super excited to race for UnitedHealthcare pro cycling next year,” said Irvine. “I’ve committed a lot of time to the track in recent years and I’m so happy that this Team has given me a chance to show what I’m capable of. Needless to say, I’m Looking forward to working hard for the Team and helping it achieve its goals next year.”
John Murphy (USA)
“We have worked John in the past for several years and helped in his early development. John comes back to us with two seasons of experience as a Pro Tour rider, which is invaluable. His understanding of how we operate and the recent European experience he’s gained make John a great fit.” – Mike Tamayo
The return of John Murphy adds even more experience to a seasoned group of riders for Team UnitedHealthcare. The Asheville, North Carolina resident and three-time World Championship Team member is happy to return to the team where his career essentially launched.
Following recent stints with both the BMC pro cycling Team and Kenda/5Hour Energy pro cycling Team, the 2009 winner of the US National Pro Criterium Championship and overall winner of the 2008 Tour of Taiwan, said, “It is great to be back with the team and staff with Team UnitedHealthcare. I can’t wait for the season to get underway and see what heights this group of guys can ascend to in 2013.”
Photos of Lucas Euser, Alessandro Bazzana and Aldo Ilesic by Brian Hodes, VeloImages; Luke Keough photo by Stephanie Shotz