Saturday, March 25, 2017

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Heads to Paris for First-Ever La Course, by Tour de France

The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will take part in the first-ever La Course, accompanying the final stage of the 2014 Tour de France on July 27th. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has been selected as one of the 20 elite women’s teams to race on the 13-lap, 89-kilometer circuit course, finishing on the legendary Champs-Élysées in the heart of France’s capitol of Paris. The relatively flat 7-kilometer course lends itself to an extremely aggressive race, likely ending in a bunch sprint in front of the Eiffel Tower and waiting crowds. 

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has assembled a roster of capable all-rounders and sprinters to contest the course, including multiple-time collegiate national champion Coryn Rivera, British national criterium champion Hannah Barnes, Tour of Britain mountains classification winner Sharon Laws, and promising recent addition to the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train, Scotti Wilborne. World class track specialist Cari Higgins and Olympic silver medalist Lauren Tamayo complete the roster, adding sprinting ability and experience, with Tamayo taking the role of team captain on the road. Sports director Rachel Heal commented, “This is a great new event for the team, as well as for women’s cycling as a whole. We’re honored to take part. With a successful first half of our debut season in the books, we’ve got a strong team going to Paris and the riders are looking forward to racing on Champs-Élysées.” General Manager Mike Tamayo added, "We might be a first year women's team, but we hit the ground running with much success. Our roster for La course is stacked with talent, creating a podium-capable team. We have spent the last two months racing and training with winning La Course in mind." La Course will be broadcast in 147 countries, with live coverage available in 104 countries. For live network coverage options in your region, visit the race website here

UCI launches Women’s Cycling Week ahead of La Course by Le Tour de France

Ahead of this month’s historic La Course by Le Tour de France, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is joining forces with key partners including Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) and UCI Women Road World Cup sponsor The Sufferfest, to launch the Women’s Cycling Week (WCW), from 20 to 27 July. The goal of the WCW is to grow the profile of women’s cycling at every level via a series of events that will take place throughout the month of July to get more girls and women riding. 

The WCW will include the following events:

  • Ride to Paris: A group of 25 amateur women cyclists from across the world will ride from Utrecht in Holland to Paris in just four days, arriving on 26 July the day before La Course by le Tour de France. Along the way they will be sharing their experiences on UCI website and social media;
  • Female elite riders will be setting the pace for women participants in the mass participation event L’Etape du Tour on July 20. In addition, every female rider registered to ride in L’Etape du Tour will receive a free ‘La Course by Le Tour de France’ branded cycling jersey from the UCI (;
  • Leading cycling training video company The Sufferfest has created a new training film - Halfiseasy - that contains content from women’s competitions which will be shown in gyms worldwide ();
  • Women riders from all over the world are invited to share their cycling experiences and show how they have pushed their boundaries via social media using the hashtags #owntheroad, #ownthetrail, #ownthejumps, #ownthetrack. Best tweets will be shared on @UCI_cycling and @UCIWomenCycling;
  • UCI President Brian Cookson will present medals to La Course by le Tour de France podium finishers.

UCI President Brian Cookson said:

“We are entering an historic moment for women’s cycling with La Course by Le Tour de France ­on July 27 which will attract a level of media focus and attention on women’s cycling never before seen in the history of the sport. It is critically important that as a sport we embrace this unique opportunity to further shine the light on women’s cycling, and get more girls and women riding bikes. This is exactly what the WCW is seeking to achieve.   

“Since I became UCI President nine months ago, we have made unprecedented investment in the funding of broadcast packages around the UCI Women Road World Cup. This followed the appointment of Tracey Gaudry as the UCI’s first Women Vice-president, and the establishment of the UCI’s first Women’s Commission. While we still have much to do, I believe that 2014 will be remembered as a breakout year for women’s cycling.”

UCI Vice-president Tracey Gaudry stated:

“The UCI is determined to maximise recognition of women in cycling as a sport and for participation. We are not alone with this ambition and have embraced that the rise of women’s cycling must involve everybody. There’s enormous diversity on the Women’s Commission with leaders representing women’s teams, sponsors, events, media, coaches and athletes. We'll be finalising our strategy at our next meeting in a couple of weeks in Paris, in conjunction with La Course by Le Tour de France.

“Our priorities can be achieved by working with, and supporting the initiatives of cycling stakeholders – such as La Course by le Tour de France by ASO. This outstanding event will showcase the strength, thrill and drama of women’s cycling to millions of viewers worldwide.”

Dutch champion Marianne Vos reacted:

“The sport has grown in the last few years and it is great to celebrate the achievement of women's cycling. During this dedicated week, I especially look forward to La Course and meeting the girls riding #RoadtripParis on the Champ Elysees. 

My dream is to make cycling more accessible to women. I want to take the best from both men’s and women’s cycling and use this to create a stage from which the dreams of every aspiring cyclist can be launched, whether they are young, old, fellow professionals or future talents.” 

Three Jerseys and a Podium for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in Women’s Tour Opener

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team had a fantastic showing amidst massive crowds in today’s opening stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour of Britain. The undulating 93.8-kilometer route proved challenging, with two intermediate sprint competitions and two queen of the mountains competitions along Great Britain’s winding and narrow roads. Sharon Laws set her sights on the QOM competitions, climbing to second and third place respectively on the hilltops and amassing enough points to clench the queen of the mountains jersey after stage 1, with a 3-point lead over runner-up Marriane Vos.


With the mountains jersey in the team’s the possession, the riders turned their focus to the stage finish. Numerous breakaway attempts formed throughout the aggressive stage, the last of which was brought back with only 3 kilometers left in the race, setting the stage set for an exciting sprint for the finish. Channeling the support of thousands of fans lining the finishing straight, Hannah Barnes applied her local course knowledge and immense motivation to sprint to 3rd place against a truly world-class field. Hannah’s performance yielded not only a position on the podium, but also the best young rider and best of Britain jerseys after stage one.

Ecstatic with the day’s result and the overwhelming amount of support, podium finisher Hannah Barnes commented, “It was very special to race along my home training roads and the crowds made it even more so. I didn’t know what to expect with such a strong field, so to come away with 3rd is a great feeling! Earning two jerseys in addition to Sharon's climbers jersey made this a great day for the team.” Sharon Laws added, “I am totally blown away by the support on the race route - I was so proud to be British today. I’m also extremely happy to come away with the mountain jersey and to see Hannah earn 3rd on today’s stage. This is a great start to the tour!”

Sports Director Rachel Heal concluded, “This race is setting a new standard in women's racing, the level of organization and support is incredible and the crowds watching the race were huge. For the women's first foray into European racing, I couldn't be happier with today's result. To place 3rd on the stage behind the world’s top-ranked rider and the World Champion is a great achievement. To walk away from the first stage with three jerseys exceeds all our expectations.” The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will race 118.5 kilometers from Hinkley to Bedford tomorrow with two more QOM competitions and two more intermediate sprints up for grabs.

Alison Powers Crushes US National Championship Time Trial, Earns Stars and Stripes for UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team

Less than two weeks after dominating the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial, Alison Powers took to the starting ramp at the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championships today with hopes of repeating her 2008 victory and earning the coveted stars and stripes jersey for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The 2014 course in Chattanooga, Tennessee was relatively long at 30.9 kilometers with rolling hills and technical turns. Alison has shown great form recently with fantastic strength and stamina, allowing her to power through the undulating course with speed and precision. Top form, flawless equipment, and determination all converged for Alison Powers today, as she devoured the course and claimed the victory by a margin of 30 seconds. 

Alison adds this accomplishment to her already impressive résumé which includes the current US national professional criterium championship jersey, the 2013 national racing calendar points title, 2014 Tour Femenino de San Luis overall victory, and many more. Elated with her result, Alison Powers commented, “I am super happy-- everyone believed in me, and to go from huge disappointment last year to sheer happiness this year is incredible. The team’s belief in me and the support they've given me have been big contributing factors.” Sports Director Rachel Heal added, “Alison had an amazing start to this year and we knew she had the form to get a great result here. She's worked really hard for this and it's fantastic to see her pull off the win. It was a full team effort with the support from Adrian, Tavis, Mike (team staff) and our sponsors playing a big part in ensuring Alison only had to focus on riding her bike... very fast!”

This race was an important goal for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and they prepared accordingly with extensive testing in the Faster wind tunnel optimizing the riders' fit and position on their Wilier Twin Blade time trial bikes. To emerge from the race victorious shows commitment of the team, riders, and partners to the progress and success of the program. General Manager Mike Tamayo concluded, “We had a clear goal with Alison when we hired her last summer: get to the World Championships and to be capable of a medal. The first step in that process was to win nationals and secure the automatic qualification.  We’ve just accomplished the first step.”

The US National Professional Road Championship takes place on Monday, May 26th, in which the men and women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will race for the honor of wearing the stars and stripes, this time in the road race discipline. The women’s race totals 101.5 kilometers while the men’s event totals 161.9 kilometers. Both events will be covered live on the USA Cycling National Championships TourTracker.

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