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Gallery: Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team presentation

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Canadians Will Routley and Ryan Anderson take the front on a training ride.

Canadians Will Routley and Ryan Anderson take the front on a training ride.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Alex Candelario will again lead Optum as the road captain.
CarneyOptum214_009.jpg

Alex Candelario will again lead Optum as the road captain. CarneyOptum214_009.jpg
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Teammates Mike Friedman and Alex Candelario do some sprint work outside of Oxnard.

Teammates Mike Friedman and Alex Candelario do some sprint work outside of Oxnard.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Bjorn Selander and newcomer Carter Jones roll along under perfect California skies.

Bjorn Selander and newcomer Carter Jones roll along under perfect California skies.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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The women warm up on LeMond trainers before their TTT practice.

The women warm up on LeMond trainers before their TTT practice.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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The women's team put in a full 40 km TTT as part of their training camp.

The women's team put in a full 40 km TTT as part of their training camp.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Annie Ewart leads the team on the final stretch of a long team time trial run.

Annie Ewart leads the team on the final stretch of a long team time trial run.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Former Saturn rider and Olympic silver medalist Brian Walton was at camp to work with the team.

Former Saturn rider and Olympic silver medalist Brian Walton was at camp to work with the team.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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National champions Leah Kirchmann and Jade Wilcoxson battle a very steep grade during the training ride.

National champions Leah Kirchmann and Jade Wilcoxson battle a very steep grade during the training ride.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Jade Wilcoxson shows off her national championship kit as she flies down a descent.

Jade Wilcoxson shows off her national championship kit as she flies down a descent.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Women's team riders Leah Kirchmann, Denise Ramsden, Jade Wilcoxson, Janel Holcomb and Lauren Hall listen to the day's training schedule in the team condo.

Women's team riders Leah Kirchmann, Denise Ramsden, Jade Wilcoxson, Janel Holcomb and Lauren Hall listen to the day's training schedule in the team condo.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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The team crests the last summit of a long day of training.

The team crests the last summit of a long day of training.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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One of the advantages to a California training camp is surfing on your rest day, as Eric Young and Alex Candelario enjoy the time off.

One of the advantages to a California training camp is surfing on your rest day, as Eric Young and Alex Candelario enjoy the time off.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team preps for the 2014 season at its California training camp

The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team preps for the 2014 season at its California training camp
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Amber Pierce casts a long shadow as she starts the descent.

Amber Pierce casts a long shadow as she starts the descent.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Long-time Optum director Jonas Carney discusses the day's route.

Long-time Optum director Jonas Carney discusses the day's route.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Jonas Carney discusses the 2014 version of the team with Todd Gogulski at the team presentation at Optum headquarters in Irvine, California.

Jonas Carney discusses the 2014 version of the team with Todd Gogulski at the team presentation at Optum headquarters in Irvine, California.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Optum riders start the long climb off the Pacific Coast Highway into the San Gabriel Mountains.

Optum riders start the long climb off the Pacific Coast Highway into the San Gabriel Mountains.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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DiamondBack bicycles returns to the pro peloton with Optum this year.

DiamondBack bicycles returns to the pro peloton with Optum this year.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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DiamondBack's Podium Optum team bike outfitted with SRAM Red components.

DiamondBack's Podium Optum team bike outfitted with SRAM Red components.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Mike Friedman survived the cold winter in Colorado with a little facial hair, and brought it to training camp.

Mike Friedman survived the cold winter in Colorado with a little facial hair, and brought it to training camp.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Lauren Hall returns as one of the featured sprinters for the women's team.

Lauren Hall returns as one of the featured sprinters for the women's team.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Leading the team up a climb from the coast, former Jelly Belly sprinter Brad Huff is a welcome addition to squad.

Leading the team up a climb from the coast, former Jelly Belly sprinter Brad Huff is a welcome addition to squad.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Chatting on the training ride with Leah Kirchmann, long time pro Patrick McCarty has stepped in as assistant director for the women.

Chatting on the training ride with Leah Kirchmann, long time pro Patrick McCarty has stepped in as assistant director for the women.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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The beach environment in Oxnard makes for a nice day of washing bikes for mechanic Evan Mumford.

The beach environment in Oxnard makes for a nice day of washing bikes for mechanic Evan Mumford.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Janel Holcomb and national champion Jade Wilcoxson lead the women on a training ride in orchard country.

Janel Holcomb and national champion Jade Wilcoxson lead the women on a training ride in orchard country.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)
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Sprinters Eric Young and Brad Huff flash by in a series of two up sprints.

Sprinters Eric Young and Brad Huff flash by in a series of two up sprints.
(Image credit: Casey B. Gibson)

Both the men's and women's Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teams were presented on Friday evening in Irvine, California at a facility of team title sponsor Optum. All 14 members of the men's Continental team were in attendance while nine of the 11 women were on hand (Canada's Joelle Numainville plus New Zealand's Courteney Lowe were absent), all looking fit, tan and trim as their pre-season camp conducted further north along the California coast in Oxnard since February 13 would soon be coming to a conclusion.

There was first a celebration of what was accomplished in 2013, with the men's and women's teams combining for 76 victories including seven national titles (Tom Zirbel-US pro time trial, Eric Young-US pro criterium, Jade Wilcoxson-US pro road, Joelle Numainville-Canada road and time trial, Leah Kirchmann-Canada criterium and Courteney Lowe-New Zealand road race).

Executives from title sponsors Optum, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Acura and new bicycle sponsor Diamondback were all present as well as 1984 Olympic medalists Nelson Vails and Steve Hegg, with Vails relating how he and Hegg cut the ribbon at a Diamondback warehouse in southern California some 30 years ago.

After each of the riders were introduced a select few fielded questions from the evening's emcee Todd Gogulski, with Alex Candelario revealing that 2014 will be his final year in the professional peloton.

"I though a lot about it this fall and I think it's time for me to move on," said Candelario, just a few days of his 39th birthday.

"It's been a great career, and I definitely would have liked to win a lot more races. But we've won a lot of races as a team and that shows a lot about our program. I'm really excited and looking forward to the season. We have tremendous depth and talent on our team. It's going to be hard to make the Tour of California roster."

Fan favorite Mike Friedman fielded questions about his burly beard plus his nickname, Meatball ("I ride in a compact style, and I'm round and I'm shorter"), followed by new women's team director Kevin Field, who discussed the squad's plans for the upcoming season.

"It's important to be on top of the NRC and to retain our national championship jerseys, that's mission number one," said Field. He then discussed the team's European ambitions, with a spring block of racing highlighted by The Women's Tour, the first women's UCI stage race in Great Britain, for which they've just received an invitation. Their second European block is built around the team time trial at the world championships, with the squad hoping to improve on their 8th place result from 2013. "They can create a big surprise in Spain in September," said Field.

Finally, men's director Jonas Carney discussed the men's team's goals for the 2014 season.

"We just try to set the bar extremely high for these guys and give them the confidence that they can win any race we start," said Carney.

"This past year we had a lot of success in the big races - podiums in Europe, USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the Tour of California - and we just need to turn those second and third place efforts into first place efforts. It's just a matter of getting a little bit better, executing a little bit better, and the guys know they can do it."

The men will make their season debut shortly at the Vuelta Mexico, a UCI 2.2-ranked stage race taking place March 5-9.