As the Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team moves deeper into its early season international racing campaign, the U.S. based Pro Continental squad is measuring up well against the best in the sport, grabbing eight top 10 finishes this week in Malaysia (Le Tour de Langkawi), France (Classic Sud-Ardeche) and Belgium (GP Le Samyn).
Le Tour de Langkawi (Malaysia): February 21 – March 2
Through seven stages of Malaysia’s esteemed tour, the boys have been impressive, racing in the extreme heat and at times, driving rain. Heading into Stage 8 on Thursday, February 28, current Colorado resident and California native, Lucas Euser (USA), remains the Team’s highest placed rider in the general classification, sitting in 19th place overall, 5 minutes and 24 seconds off the leader. Euser has had a solid tour thus far, as have sprinters Aldo Ino Ilesic (SLO) and Jake Keough (USA). Both Ilesic and Keough have posted two top 10 and one top 20 finishes. John Murphy (USA) has also scored a top 20 finish of his own, taking 19th in Stage 4.
Snapshot of the Team’s Top Results Through Seven Stages:
Stage 1: Jake Keough (5th), Aldo Ino Ilesic (6th)
Stage 2: Aldo Ino Ilesic (12th)
Stage 5: Lucas Euser (18th)
Stage 6: Jake Keough (8th)
Salt Lake City’s Jeff Louder had deal with the misfortune of being hit by an official race vehicle during the climb in Stage 5. After he was hit, Louder was left by the roadside with a destroyed bike and no way to make it to the top of the climb. Team Director, Wilfred Cretskens, was not informed of the incident and the commissaries’ vehicle that hit him from behind failed to stop. Louder is ok physically, but was not allowed to finish the race. Read more about it in Cyclingnews.
GP Le Samyn (Belgium): February 27
Italian speedster Alessandro Bazzana raced his way to a 6th place finish behind the outstanding teamwork put in from on a very cold and foggy day in Belgium. Contributing to the successful result were Davide Frattini (ITA), Ben Day (AUS), Chris Jones (USA), Kiel Reijnen (USA), Marc De Maar (CUR), and Adrian Hegyvary (USA). Danny Summerhill was ill and unable to race.
Bazzana attributed his finish just outside the top five to excellent teamwork. Teammate Chris Jones remarked on his Twitter feed, “Not a bad way to open the Team’s Belgian spring campaign.”
CLASSIC SUD-ARDECHE (France): February 24
On a very cold (0 degrees Celsius) and windy day in France, Kiel Reijnen (USA), Phil Deignan (IRL), Marc De Maar (CUR), and the boys were outstanding in the 200km Classic Sud-Ardeche. In one of the only races that was not canceled in Europe due to snow/bad weather the weekend of February 23-24, Marc De Maar finished 10th.