In 2017, the team heralds the formation of a roster that will challenge the best in the world. Returning riders and key new hires will bring together international experience and youthful enthusiasm to compete in the US and abroad.
After a solid campaign filled with stage racing successes this year, Katie Hall returns to lead the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in 2017. In what will be her fourth season with the team, Hall has her sights set on the General Classification. “I will focus on the GC next year, both in American stage races and abroad. It’s great to be back on the team with the knowledge that I will have so much support,” said Hall. “Being here allows me to really focus on my performance. I am looking forward to another season as part of the UnitedHealthcare team.”
Hall had a standout year in 2016. A stage win, the Mountains Jersey and the General Classification win in Argentina at the Tour Femenino de San Luis opened her calendar. She followed this with a second place finish on stage one of the Tour of the Gila, and then went on to take the Mountains Classification win at the prestigious Tour of Britain.
Returning alongside Katie Hall, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team will tap into the talents of Rushlee Buchanan and Diana Peñuela. Buchanan returned from the Rio Olympics with a fourth place finish in the Team Pursuit for her home country of New Zealand and rode the 2016 season on the road as a triple New Zealand national champion (criterium, road race and time trial). Diana Peñuela was an integral part of the infamous blue trail lead out in 2016 and the Colombian will be a key asset in bunch sprints in 2017.
Rachel Heal will return to the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team as Sporting Director in 2017. “I’m excited about the roster we’ve put together. Like the men’s team, it’s a great mix of youth and experience,” said Heal. “We will be focusing on all the big races in the US next season as well as a selection of international stage races.”
Time trial powerhouse Tayler Wiles and veteran all-arounder Lauren Hall are two key new hires, bringing world-class strength and experience to the team.
Wiles, joining the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team from Orica-AIS, is widely recognized as one of the top time-trialists in the world. While racing internationally over the past four years, Wiles amassed an impressive palmares. In 2016, success came for Wiles at the Energiewacht Tour, where she placed third in the individual time trial. She followed that with podiums on stages of the Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic and La Route de France.
In addition to her time trialing ability, Wiles will bring experience and stability to the squad. Her decision-making skills will be called upon in the larger stages races, where a steady hand can guide younger riders through the intricacies of race tactics. “My big focus for 2017 will be time trialing and stage racing in the US as well as in Europe” said Wiles, “I am really looking forward to having the opportunity to be a leader on the team and to work with such an incredible group of women. UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling is a very well supported program and I’m excited to see the gains I can make for the team in 2017.”
Lauren Hall comes to the team from Team TIBCO-SVB. The experienced American has spent the last three years racing a mixed calendar of the biggest American races alongside select international events. Similar to the calendar she expects to race with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team, this experience will give Lauren Hall a distinct advantage. A one-day race specialist, Hall is known for a fiery finishing kick, and an ability to make the select groups that often form at the end of long races. In 2016, Lauren Hall found success at the USA Cycling National Championship Road Race, where she sprinted to 5th place.
The 2017 team pairs experience with young talent: at just 19 and 21 respectively, Janelle Cole and Lauretta Hanson bring youth to the team, although both have already proven themselves as great competitors. Heal is excited to nurture their talent on the team, “I’m looking forward to seeing them grow and develop within the team. We have a lot of opportunities for them to shine, and they will be guided well by our leaders.”
Ruth Winder returns to the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in 2017 after taking a year away from the road to focus on track racing. Her year away paid off as she formed a vital part of Team USA’s performance in the Team Pursuit at the Rio Olympic games. Winder is looking forward to dedicating her strength and power to the lead out train for her teammates.
Kate Sherwin raced criteriums and stage races in the United States in 2016 for the Happy Tooth Dental, but also guest-rode for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at the North Star Grand Prix. Sherwin was a natural fit, working hard towards the team’s successes at North Star in Minnesota. She will be a key component in the lead out train, and also likely find herself breakaways where she has already proven she can hold her own.
The team is proud to welcome back Shawn Morelli in 2017, after she had a superb year. Utilizing the UnitedHealthcare Team to hone her speed in the run-up to the Paralympic Games, Morelli returned victorious from Rio with two gold medals and a Paralympic Record to her name. She will balance her Paralympic racing calendar with select events on the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s schedule.
Heal is quietly optimistic that the new roster will find success, “Our ultimate goal is to maximize our potential in every race.” The team’s calendar will highlight the best UCI-level racing in the United States and around the world. Stage races will be a priority, especially those that mesh with the team’s dual goals of winning races and representing the partnering organizations that sponsor the team.
In raising over $50,000 for the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation in 2016, the team positively impact and inspire the communities they visit. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is proud of this success, and looks forward to 2017 as an opportunity to continue this mission.