The Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies men’s team touches down in Oxnard, CA this week to begin a 12-day block of training in sunny southern California. It will be the eighth year the men’s team have dug their toes into the sand along Oxnard’s serene Silver Strand Beach – the quaint beach community offers easy access to the grueling climbs of the iconic Santa Monica Mountains.
“We have visited Oxnard for eight years together as a team, and it has definitely become a bit of a tradition,” said Performance Director Jonas Carney. “It isn’t exactly the first place most teams would think to have camp, but we like it because Oxnard has a very relaxed atmosphere and it gives us access to some of the best roads for training you will find anywhere.”
Top-level international invites mean the men and women of the Orange & Black will conduct their 2015 camps independently, with the women commencing a two-week block of training in Borrego Springs, CA on February 9th.
“We always enjoy having our camps in one place and starting things off as one big team, but it turned out this year that both the men’s and women’s teams scored some major international invites, which is a very good thing,” said Carney. “It adds a layer of difficulty to our early season, but the races we secured invites for in Qatar and Portugal could not be passed up.”
Following their stint in Oxnard, the men’s team will head from camp to Portugal for a six-week block of training and racing, beginning with a battle with the WorldTour’s best at the prestigious Volta ao Algarve, February 18th – 22nd (Polish world champion Michał Kwiatkowski is the returning champion at Algarve). The campaign will tackle numerous one-day races around Portugal before culminating with the Volta ao Alentejo, March 25th – 29th.
The women’s team take an even more unique approach to their early season – heading to the Middle East for the Ladies Tour of Qatar on February 3rd – 6th before returning stateside to Borrego Springs for two weeks of training. The race in Qatar is set to be one of the highlights of an expanded international women’s calendar in 2015.