Incycle-Predator hopes to challenge in 2014

The Incycle-Predator team may be new to the UCI ranks in 2014, but the Southern California team, which was formed from a merger of two elite teams, Predator Carbon Repair and MRI-Monster Media, is hoping to challenge the top American team, UnitedHealthcare, in the domestic races.

Team owner Micah Cloteaux is counting on experienced riders like Andres Diaz, Sergio Hernandez and directeur sportif and rider Emile Abraham to mould the team into a cohesive unit, capable of being competitive in the USA Crits Series and other UCI races in South America, Central America, Asia and the Caribbean.

"I really focused on putting together a team that could at least compete with UHC, because they're just so good," Cloteaux said. "Our problem last year was that we'd have a couple of guys flying, but we didn't have the depth to go side by side with them and bring our guys to the front."

While the team will mainly focus on the US criterium scene, it will have opportunities in stage race classifications with the addition of Diaz, who was second overall in the Nature Valley Grand Prix last year.

"I'd like to see Andres move one step up at Nature Valley," Cloteaux said. "I'd like to see him do that, and I think we have a good chance at races like Joe Martin."

Sergio Hernandez, 28, is another rider the team can count on, especially for stage wins.

"He was on another level last year, and I think this year he's going to be even better," Cloteaux said. "He's definitely a breakaway guy. In a bunch sprint he's maybe top 15, but he's an engine. He's like a 90-pound engine."

In addition to the experienced riders, the team will focus on developing young talent. Seven out of the 16-rider team are under 23: Jacob Arnold, Orlando Garibay, Diego Sandoval, Christian Leandro Tamayo Saavedra, Tyler Schwartz and Jonah Tannos.

The team is especially excited about Saavedra, a 21-year-old Colombian who is one of South America's fastest men on the track.

"He's got some good track results back Colombia, and I've heard from guys who've raced in Europe on the ProTour that he's the real deal," Cloteaux said.

In addition to the UCI squad, the organisation will also field a junior development and elite men's team.

Incycle-Predator Components for 2014: Emile Abraham, Jacob Arnold, Calixto Manuel Bello, Andres Diaz, Samuel Hunter Grove, Franco Font, Orlando Garibay, Stephen Hall, Sergio Hernandez, Rudolph Napolitano, Michael Olheiser, Diego Sandoval, Christian Leandro Tamayo Saavedra, Tyler Schwartz, Jonah Tannos, Euris Vidal

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