North America's three newly upgraded UCI Professional Continental teams Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and SpiderTech p/b C10 finished a successful block of early season racing with top 10 finishes in some of Europe's notable UCI-sanctioned events. They will return stateside in May well-prepared to put forth strong performances at the targeted Amgen Tour of California.
Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis scored roughly 13 top 10 results so far this season, most recently with Jure Kocjan placing fourth at the Montepaschi Strade Bianche held in Italy last week. Other top 10 performances came from the UCI 1.1 Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, UCI 2.1 Etoile de Bessèges, UCI 2.1 Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var, UCI 1.1 Tour of Mumbai and the UCI 1.1 GP di Lugano, among others.
"It is absolutely crucial to get good results," said the team's Co-Founder Phil Southerland. "It was our only chance to make a first impression, and for the guys to set their own bar of what success is for Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis. We're a new team in the European peloton, but we have a deep base of experience. With veterans like Rubens Bertogliati, Javier Megias, and Lazlo Bodrogi and fresh, young talent like Jure Kocjan, Martijn Verschoor and Kiel Reijen, we're extremely satisfied with our performance so far in Europe."
"We're an American team, on paper, however we had riders from seven countries competing together in our races last month," he said. "The fact that our riders are from different countries is testament to the globalization of cycling and of our team. The simple fact that we have an athlete with Type 1 diabetes among our palmares this early in the season is proof enough that our season is going extremely well. You can see the confidence growing with each race."
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling also finished a season-opener block of racing in Europe with Robert Forster placing seventh in stage one at the UCI 2.1 Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia. The German sprinter also placed eighth at the UCI 1.1 Clasica de Almeria. Boy Van Poppel brought home an eighth place in stage four at the UCI 2.1 Volta ao Algarve, where all-rounder Rory Sutherland finished 14th place overall.
"Algarve and Almeria were the official launch of UnitedHealthcare's European campaign," said General Manager Mike Tamayo. "We have had some decent rides, and are pleased with the progress the team and our riders are making. But we also know that we will see better from these boys. Some top 10 rides is a good start to the season for us, but you can see the hunger and the ability in each of the riders. As the boys come together better and the learning curve of Europe settles. We will be more competitive."
The team will next compete at the UCI 2.1 Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, UCI 1.HC 3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke, UCI 2.HC KBC-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, UCI 2.HC Giro del Trentino UCI 2.1 Vuelta Asturias Julio Alvarez Mendo and UCI 2.1 Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid, UCI 2.1 Albert Achterhes Ronde van Drenthe and the UCI 2.1 Circuit de Lorraine Professionnel.
Canada's SpiderTech p/b C10 kicked off its European racing campaign at the UCI 1.1 Trofeo Laigueglia where Ryan Anderson placed a respectable 13th place in the one-day event. The team took the start line at the UCI 2.1 Giro di Sardegna where its young rider David Boily won the King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey ahead of Damiano Cunego in second and his teammate Pat McCarty in third.
"I'm very satisfied with the team results in Italy," said Directeur Sportif Steve Bauer. "The guys trained all winter long, but until the racing starts you never know where you are in comparison to the other teams. We are already exceeding expectations and goals we set for ourselves this off season. It's going to be a competitive year."
Svein Tuft went on to place fourth in the prologue at the UCI 2.HC Driesdaagse van West-Vlaanderen. "We expected Svein to be in game and show well, yet we were unsure how a recent bout of the 24-hour flu that he had in the last day in Sardegna would affect him. We are happy with the outcome and also happy to see how the other guys raced."
"It is exciting to be with the Team in Flanders, the region I made home for 10 years as a pro cyclist. The race here, the routes, the wind, the cobbles, imprints a typical style of racing which means attentiveness, vigilance, and strength. I hope to be able to impart my experience to the guys and give them the inspiration to challenge."