US Pro Continental team Holowesko-Citadel are ready to start their 2018 season this week at Colombia Oro y Paz after wrapping up final pre-season training camp at the team's home base in Greenville, South Carolina.
The weather awaiting the team at the start on Tuesday of the brand-new 2.1 race in Colombia will be quite a bit different from what the riders and staff endured last week.
“Let’s face it," said team director Thomas Craven. "Geenville in January can be downright cold and rainy, and when it actually was, the guys weren’t fazed. That shows me that we have a very special group this year that won’t be intimidated by anything or anyone.”
The team will get their first chance to not be intimidated when the six-day Colombian race rolls out Tuesday for the 99.9km opening stage in Palmira. Aside from marking the team's first competition as a Pro Continental outfit, the race also takes on special meaning because the family of team owners Rich and George Hincapie originally comes from the country, and the Hincapie Sportswear factory - run by George and Rich’s uncle, aunt and cousin - is located in the city of Medellin.
“We’re racing where our family is from, where our apparel is produced,” Rich Hincapie said. “We’re so excited for this opportunity.”
The six-man roster for Colombia includes sprinter John Murphy, general classification leader TJ Eisenhart, Miguel Bryon, Ruben Companioni, and Colombian natives Bryan Gomez and Brayan Sanchez.
“Our Colombia team is in good shape and ready to start racing," said George Hincapie. "I expect Murphy to be up there in the sprints and TJ to be up there in the climbs. I feel sure the team will work well together in our first race as a Pro Continental team.”
The team's final camp in South Carolina included multiple training sessions with new performance director Bobby Julich, who planned a series of training rides and exercises particular to each rider.
“We had to ease into structured training and make sure not to do too much intensity at the beginning due to the fact that many of the riders were on new BMC bikes and were in different phases of preparation,” Julich said. “We had a great week, though.
"We exposed the riders to some new workouts and benchmarked some specific metrics to get a better idea of the strengths as well as areas for improvement with each rider," Julich said. "I couldn’t be happier with how everyone stepped up their game in preparation for the season.”
Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources for 2018 Colombia Oro Y Paz: Miguel Bryon, Ruben Companioni, TJ Eisenhart, Bryan Gomez, John Murphy, Brayan Sanchez.