Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies today announced its 14-rider team for the 2015 season, naming U23 Pan American cyclo-cross champion Curtis White as its latest signing.
Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale) joins Phil Gaimon from Garmin-Sharp in stepping back from the WorldTour ranks, while Canadians Pierrick Naud (Garneau - Québecor) and Michael Woods (5 Hour Energy) are the other new additions to the team.
The team has been reduced from 20 riders in 2014, but retains its core, with Canadians Ryan Anderson and Will Routley (winner of a stage in the 2014 Tour of California) staying put together with Americans Jesse Anthony, Brad Huff, Bjorn Selander, Tom Soladay, Tom Zirbel, Scott Zwizanski and 2014 Tour of Utah stage winner Eric Young.
"On paper this should be our strongest and most well balanced team yet," said Jonas Carney, the Performance Director. "We will have more depth on the climbing side thanks to some of our new signings, and we'll maintain a great core of time trialists, sprinters, and lead out guys. That being said, there are very high expectations for this group based on our results in 2014. Our goal is to exceed those expectations."
The team will have its annual training camp in late January before embarking on a string of races in Portugal, including the Volta ao Alentejo, Volta a Costa Vicentina, the Classica de Loulé, and the Grande Premio do Guadiana.
"Racing in Europe during the early portion of the season is critical to our yearlong success," Carney said. "The racing is hard and intense, it helps us quickly build chemistry as a team, and it prepares us well for difficult blocks of racing later in the year."
The team will continue to focus on stage wins in the North American UCI races and the overall UCI Americas Tour, but also intends to defend its National Racing Calendar team title.
The 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia is on the squad's radar, but they will need to finish high up on the UCI Americas Tour to qualify for the team time trial.
"Having the world championships here in America is a rare opportunity for a North American team like ours," Carney said. "We have competed in two world championship TTT events with the men's team, and having another shot at it with some 'home advantage' could be very exciting for the program."
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies for 2015:
Ryan Anderson (CAN)
Jesse Anthony (USA)
Guillaume Boivin (CAN)
Phil Gaimon (USA)
Brad Huff (USA)
Pierrick Naud (CAN)
Will Routley (CAN)
Bjorn Selander (USA)
Tom Soladay (USA)
Curtis White (USA)
Michael Woods (CAN)
Eric Young (USA)
Tom Zirbel (USA)
Scott Zwizanski (USA)