Pro Men’s Race
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team wrapped up a dominant 2013 USA CRITS Series season with a podium sweep as Luke Keough, Hilton Clarke and Carlos Alzate, went 1-2-3, respectively, at the 2013 USA CRITS Finals on Thursday, September 19, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Entering the race as the 2013 USA CRITS Series leader, Clarke finished the season with the Series title comfortably in hand. Teammate Carlos Alzate, took second, while Team Smart Stop’s Shane Kline (who along with his teammates had an outstanding season battling the UnitedHealthcare boys throughout the year), finished in third.
Photos © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com
In the team category, Team UnitedHealthcare also won the overall USA CRITS Series title. Team SmartStop presented by Mountain Khakis took second place while Champion System rounded out the jubilant on-stage celebration from the top three teams, with its third place finish in the team category.
This year, the USA CRITS Series joined forces with Interbike, the largest bike industry show in North America, and many of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team sponsors were on hand for the trade bonanza. The Finals of the 2013 USA CRITS Championship Series (which returned to Las Vegas after a few years away with finale stops in Dallas, Boston and most recently, Vail), were held at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, commented on the win, sponsors expectations, and the team’s approach to racing.
“This is the 2013 USA CRITS Series Finale and we knew we were going to have a lot of eyes on us, especially those of our sponsors and the bike industry in general,” said the long-time man at the helm for Team UnitedHealthcare. “We definitely felt the pressure. There was a bit of nervous energy surrounding us in out team meeting as we knew everyone expected us to win. However, the boys handled it well and delivered a great win. All of our riders were outstanding tonight.”
“The team has been working hard all season to perfect this style of racing. The course was super tight and twisting and the pace? Very fast from the outset.
But my favorite part was watching the entire team go up and receive the team award during the podium presentations. The boys worked hard all year for this and our entire organization is proud of them. The way they approached the podium together is indicative of their true approach to teamwork. It was great to see all of them up there together,” Tamayo concluded.
Following the race, Keough spoke with race announcer, Chad Andrews.
Andrews asked, “Luke, words can’t describe the way you guys do the race. It seems like you guys let things go, then you control it, then you win. Is it that simple?”
“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Keough responded. “We stick to the plan and if a move seems dangerous, we’re on it quick. If it doesn’t seem dangerous and it’s two or three guys, we feel we can pull it back and we’re on them in a fair amount of time. We just stay together and work as one unit.”
Keough continued, “This has been a great year and I think it may be one of the best years any team has had anywhere. This is an amazing team and just a great group of guys. I just can’t say enough about them. I’m glad to be a part of something special like this.”
The team heads to Boston tomorrow for the TD Bank Mayor’s Cup on Saturday, September 21. With the Tour of Britain concluding on Sunday, September 22, what has been a fantastic 2013 season for Team UnitedHealthcare comes to a close.
Pro Women’s Race
Team TIBCO put on an exciting race last night at the USA CRITS Championship Series finale, delivering Sam Schneider to first place ahead of Erica Allar and Laura VanGilder. With many of the Team’s key sponsors in town for Interbike, Team TIBCO had the opportunity to showcase their teamwork and winning spirit as they raced to victory.
In the final sprint to the line, Team TIBCO’s Lauren Stephens and junior rider Skylar Schneider set up a perfect leadout train for Sam to take the win. Skylar carried her speed to the line, capturing 4th, while Stephens held on for 7th.
“I couldn’t be happier about the Team’s win last night,” said Team TIBCO Founder and Manager Linda Jackson. “Interbike draws top industry leaders and many of our key partners were able to watch us race.
“The Team worked seamlessly to deliver Sam to the win and it was a wonderful opportunity for the Team to highlight the importance of teamwork and give back to our sponsors,” said Jackson.
1. Luke Keough (United Healthcare)
2. Hilton Clarke (United Healthcare)
3. Carlos Alzate (United Healthcare)
1. Samantha Schneider (Tibco)
2. Erica Allar (Care4Cycling)
3. Laura VanGilder (Mellow Mushroom)