The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling women’s team united for an opening training camp in Tuscon, Arizona, this week. Newcomers Lizzy Banks and Leah Thomas joined the team for warm-weather training rides that included climbing the notorious Mt. Lemmon.
The team camp gave riders the opportunity to train and bond ahead of the new season, which started for UnitedHealthcare's women in Tuscon at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race.
"From cooking together and sharing meals, to spending hard days in the saddle, the team was excited to be together," the team said in a press release about the camp. "The new additions of Lizzy Banks and Leah Thomas fit right in with the close-knit team."
Also in attendance for the camp were Janelle Cole, Katie Hall, Lauren Hall, Lauretta Hanson and Diana Peñuela. A few riders from the men's team also joined in on some of the rides.
Rushlee Buchanan was not at camp as she is training for UCI Track World Championships with the New Zealand national team. Shawn Morelli was also unable to attend camp as she was competing at the US Paralympics Track Cycling Open, where she earned a selection for the 2018 Para-cycling Track World Championships with team USA.
Part of being at camp meant riders had time to dial in their new equipment: Orbea Orca road bikes and Orbea Ordu TT bikes.
"Training at the Tucson camp focused on both fitness and camaraderie. Each day involved a training ride, usually a rub from the team soigneur, and a shared meal. The whole Tucson area was fair game for the daily training rides, but some favorites were up Mt. Lemmon and to the Colossal Caves.
At Valley of the Sun, Thomas won the overall title, showing that she will be one of the top riders to watch on the US women's circuit. Thomas won the opening stage 1 time trial, Lauren Hall won stage 2, and Lauretta Hanson was third in stage 3.
"It was great to begin the season with a strong showing at Valley of the Sun. The team demonstrated unity and teamwork thorough out the weekend that allowed me to keep the leader's jersey and gave UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling stage wins and podiums through out the race. Team camp and this first race has laid a strong foundation that will be exciting to build upon through out the season," Thomas said.
Director Rachel Heal said in a team statement, "With the overall GC win, two stage wins, and a stage 3rd place, Valley of the Sun was a great way to start the season. The teamwork and momentum that we built during camp in Tucson showed through from the start and sets the stage for a great season."
To view images from the team camp, click on the gallery above.