UnitedHealthcare announced their 2017 men's roster that has been revamped to cater to week-long stage races, doing away with their focus on North American criteriums. New recruits include climber Janier Acevedo and sprinter Sebastian Haedo, who join the American Professional Continental outfit after their current team, Jamis-Sutter Home, announced they would fold at the end of this season. Also bolstering the team's sprint side will be Travis McCabe from Holowesko-Citadel.
"The riders we have selected are a mix of young and experienced," said manager Mike Tamayo."The youthful enthusiasm is very important for us, as it drives us to give it our all in every race. The older riders serve the purpose of bringing real-world racing experience to the table. This will be critical in the multi-day racing, where every effort and every move needs to be thought out."
Acevedo, who spent two seasons with Jonathan Vaughters' WorldTour Garmin program, will no doubt add strength to the team in mountainous stage races. He won a stage at the Tour of California, a result that has eluded UnitedHealthcare in the previous years, and he was third place on the general classification in 2013.
UnitedHealthcare had already confirmed to Cyclingnews the signing of WorldTour sprinter Greg Henderson. Haedo and McCabe will add to the team's sprinting capacity in one-day races and stages at targeted multi-day events.
Haedo, who has also spent time on the WorldTour with teams Saxo Bank and Cannondale, has won a stage at the Tour de San Luis and has been on stage podiums at the Tour of Poland and Eneco Tour. He has also been a familiar face on the podiums in one-day races and stage race across North America.
McCabe is one of the most promising young sprinters coming out of the US, having raced for Team SmartStop (2013-15) and Holowesko-Citadel (2016). He has won stages at the Tour of Utah, Joe Martin, Tour of the Gila and the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
"A stalwart on the podium in recent years, McCabe's fast finish will be dangerous when paired with the leadout prowess of Henderson," read the team's press release. "With the versatility to mix it up not only in bunch finishes, but also in smaller breakaway situations, McCabe will be the perfect stage race sprinter to complement the hard work of the rest of the team."
Newly signed riders also include Gavin Mannion from Drapac. Mannion was fourth overall at the USA Pro Challenge and third overall at the Tour of the Gila, both in 2015. Also moving over from Drapac is Lachlan Norris, sixth overall at USA Pro Challenge and Tour of Utah, both in 2015. Both riders will add to the team's goal of making a mark in mountainous stage races. Alex Cataford joins the team from Silber Pro Cycling, after placing fifth overall at Tour of Alberta this year.
A core of nine riders will be returning to the team, including Tanner Putt, who won a stage at Tour of Alberta, and Daniel Jaramillo, who won the final stage at Tour of the Gila. Other returning riders are Jonny Clarke, Daniel Eaton, Adrian Hegyvary, Chris Jones, Luke Keough, Carlos Alzate and Danny Summerhill.
"The team has been built around stage wins and general classification victories at competitions such as The Tour of the Gila, The Tour of California and The Tour of Utah," the team press release read.
"We've had great successes over the last few years, and that has come from focussing on what we're good at. As we now approach the stage racing world, we'll look to do the same. We're driving hard to be the strongest team in the United States, and I'm certain that the group of athletes that we have assembled can achieve that."
Not returning to the team this year is Brad White, who announced his retirement on Facebook. And not included on the 2017 roster are Karl Menzies, John Murphy, Matthew Busche and Ty Magner, who are rumoured to have signed with American Continental teams for next year. Janez Brajkovic and Marco Canola will also not return next year.
Kirsten Frattini has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level all the way to the World Cup. She is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. Kirsten has worked in both print and digital publishing. She started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006, and was responsible for reporting from the US and Canadian racing scene. Now as a Production Editor, she produces international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits global news and writes features.
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