UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis broke out of its winning slump this weekend when it captured double victories on opposite sides of the country. Karl Menzies took top honours at the famed Athens Terrapin Twilight criterium held in Georgia while his teammate Rory Sutherland won two stages at La Vuelta de Bisbee in Arizona.
"Sometimes you have all the right tools and you just have to put them together right," said the outfit's directeur sportif, Mike Tamayo. "We've been trying and trying so, it hasn't been for a lack of trying, that's for sure. We've done consistent leadouts and have consistently been second or third."
"These wins were much needed," he added. "We didn't change anything, it just finally clicked. We got the wins and hopefully that will start the winning streak that we are looking for."
Sutherland won the opening 1.8km uphill Mule Pass time trial and took the early lead at the four-stage La Vuelta de Bisbee. After falling behind in the overall classification to Darren Lill (Fly V Australia) in stage two, he captured his second win in stage three's 7.2km Warren time trial.
Lill won the overall classification ahead of Roman Kilun (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) who placed second and Christian Helmig (Metro VW) in third
"Rory's been training hard in the time trial and really trying to gear up for California and he is showing that he is getting his form," Tamayo explained.
The USA Crits Speed Week, a seven-criterium series kicked off at the Terrapin Twilight in Athens, Georgia on April 24. Menzies won the final sprint from a breakaway of six riders to take the victory ahead of Alessandro Bazzana (Fly V Australia) and Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation).
"That was an awesome race," said Menzies. "It's an historical race to win and I'm pretty happy to get the feather in the cap, I guess. This series is great for us because we get a good block of racing in to practice breakaway, sprints and leadouts."
"We got a win to start off so that's great," he added. "A few more wins would be great too. They are all extremely well-run races and everything is going good so far."
The racing continued at the Historic Roswell Criterium held in Roswell, Georgia on April 25. Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) claimed the top spot on the podium ahead of Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) who placed second.
There are five more events on the US Crits Speed Week series that include Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic in Beaufort South Carolina on April 27, Downtown Walterboro in South Carolina on April 28, Spartanburg Downtown Criterium in South Carolina on April 30, Dilworth Criterium in North Carolina on May 1 and Global BMW Sandy Springs Challenge in Sandy Springs, Georgia on May 2.
"We aren't pursuing the overall crit series title," Tamayo said. "We will be doing all of the speed week races and our goal is to just win each race. We are focused on the individual days of winning and we will go from there."