The USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial Championships kick off four days of racing this weekend in the cycling hub of Winston Salem, North Carolina. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team heads to the event with a strong early season behind them and medal contenders in the men’s time trial event and both road races. The action begins on Friday, May 27th with the USA Professional Time Trial Championships, followed by road races on Saturday, May 28th. The racing continues on Sunday and Monday with the Winston Salem Cycling Classic, forming a solid block of top-level American racing.
Matthew Busche and Daniel Eaton will represent the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in the time trial event on Friday, which takes place over a hilly 14.9-mile course, which will be completed twice for 29.8 miles of top speed racing. With a constantly changing gradient, the course suits 2015 USA Cycling National Road Champion Busche, who will use his punchy power to get over the rolling terrain.
Eaton has great early season form after turning out a strong time trial performance on Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California in Folsom, putting him in the mix with riders from the WorldTour. As the 2015 U23 National Time Trial Champion, Eaton will be a rider to watch as he now joins the pro ranks. Despite a successful podium performance in the team time trial at the Women’s Tour of California, the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team women will opt out of Friday’s independent time trial event, focusing their efforts on the road race and the following Winston Salem Classic.
USA Cycling has laid out a rough and rolling course around Winston Salem that will test the mettle of the riders battling for the coveted national championship jersey. The men will cover the 9.6-mile route 12 times, totaling 116 miles of racing. Coming back to defend his 2015 win, Matthew Busche of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team feels ready and willing to take on the course and competition on Saturday. The North Carolina local won the race last year in Chattanooga, TN after riding away from his competitors in the final kilometers of the race. Backed up by a strong team, he will aim to cross the line once again with arms aloft. Supporting Busche on the flats will be Daniel Eaton, Chris Jones, and Danny Summerhill. With the horsepower to cover dangerous moves, this trio will be Busche’s vanguard at the front of the pack.
Also lining up for the Blue Train is a strong complement of sprinters. Bringing his criterium success to the road, Ty Magner will work with John Murphy in the event of a sprint finish. Magner’s fast finish will suit the gentle uphill grade on the home straight. Murphy’s early season wins include a stage at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia. The veteran of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team has knowledge of every rider in the peloton, and will use his strength to fight for the win should the pack be together at the line in North Carolina. Backing up the sprint duo will be leadout specialist Brad White and all-rounder Tanner Putt. With the ability to get over the sharp climbs at the end of the race, Putt will be a valuable asset to the team in a multitude of race scenarios.
Team UnitedHealthcare Men’s Road Squad:
Team UnitedHealthcare Men’s Road Squad:
After a long campaign in Europe this Spring, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team brings a strong and experienced squad to the roads of Winston Salem. The Ardennes-like course features many punchy climbs that will test the pack, and the women’s Blue Train squad will be ready to respond. The European campaign was a big building block on the road to the National Championships, and has instilled the confidence needed to dominate on a course like Saturday’s. Katie Hall is known as a climber, but can handle herself on the smaller roads in North Carolina. She’ll aim to sneak away from the pack on the uphills in a race of attrition, should the opportunity arise. The stacked women’s field will cover nine laps of the short circuit for a total of 86 miles. Backing up Hall on the climbs will be Abby Mickey from Colorado. Mickey had a stellar week of racing at the recent Tour of the Gila, and will look after Hall when the attacks start to fly.
Coryn Rivera has worked hard over the past few years to develop into a well-rounded rider after specializing in criterium racing for much of her early career. After a successful trip to Europe this spring and a podium performance in the Women’s Tour of California last week, Rivera has become a threat on courses of nearly any shape, pitch, or length, and will be ready to dig deep this weekend. Supporting her will be current US Criterium Champion Lauren Tamayo and Cari Higgins. Both are veterans of racing in the US, and can hold their own in an aggressive field. Look to see for Rivera glued to one of their wheels should the race end with a sprint. Both the men’s and women’s squads will again enjoy the company of their international teammates when they line up for the Winston Salem Classic, as the race is separate from the national championship events.
Team UnitedHealthcare Women’s Road Squad: