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Optum tops 2015 UCI America Tour, Skujins takes individual honours

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Tom Zirbel leads the Optum team in the final kilometres

Tom Zirbel leads the Optum team in the final kilometres
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Toms Skujins (Hincapie) taking the win.

Toms Skujins (Hincapie) taking the win.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich)
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Orange Is The New Black as Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies takes control up front, but Eric Marcotte is taking a head-count.

Orange Is The New Black as Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies takes control up front, but Eric Marcotte is taking a head-count.
(Image credit: Marco Quezada/nyvelocity.com)
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Optum Pro Cycling's Michael Woods wins stage 5 at the 2015 Tour of Utah.

Optum Pro Cycling's Michael Woods wins stage 5 at the 2015 Tour of Utah.
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Eric Young (Optum) wins the White Spot Delta Road Race

Eric Young (Optum) wins the White Spot Delta Road Race
(Image credit: Optum Pro Cycling)

US Continental team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies ended the 2015 season with a surprise ranking at the top of the UCI America Tour, while US-registered Hincapie Racing’s Latvian Toms Skujins took top individual honours.

Optum relied on consistent performances throughout 2015 to climb to the top of the season-long America Tour calendar, which encompasses Western Hemisphere races in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The US team finished ahead of Funvic-Sao Jose Dos Campos of Brazil and Hincapie Racing. US Pro Contnental team UnitedHealthcare was fourth.

“The UCI America Tour wasn’t really an objective entering the season because we had no intention of chasing points in Central America, South America or the Caribbean,” said Optum Performance Director Jonas Carney. “Winning the overall without racing south of the border didn’t seem like an achievable goal, but somehow the guys pulled it off. It really highlights how strong our team is and validates our 2015 season.”

Optum’s Michael Woods, who signed with Cannondale for 2016, led the charge in UCI points for Optum after winning a stage at the Tour of Utah, leading the 2.HC race for a day and finishing second overall.

Woods, who finished third in the individual rankings behind Skujins and Team Ecuador’s Byron Guama, added to his Utah performance with a second place at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. He also had strong rides at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado and the Tour of Alberta.

Optum also got UCI points from Ryan Anderson, Guillaume Boivin, Eric Young and Tom Zirbel.

The majority of Skujins’ UCI points came from his performance at the Tour of California, where he won stage 3 and wore yellow for three days. He also won the Winston-Salem Classic, was third in Philadelphia, second overall at the Tour de Beauce, eighth overall at the USA Pro Challenge, seventh at the Tour of Alberta and second at the Reading 120. Skujins also topped the final rankings of USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar. Skujins will join Woods at Cannondale this year.

Results

UCI America Tour Top 10 Team Rankings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)494pts
2Funvic Sao Jose Dos Campos (Bra)481
3Hincapie Racing Team (USA)400
4United Healthcare Pro Cycling (USA)343
5EPM-UNE-Area Metropolitana (Col)332.2
6Team SmartStop (USA)315
7Team Ecuador (Ecu)293
8Orgullo Antioqueno (Col)200
9Jamis-Hagens Berman (USA)190
9Silber Pro Cycling (Can)190

UCI America Tour Top 10 Individual Rankings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Toms Skujins (Lva) Hincapie Racing Team208.4
2Byron Guama (Ecu) Team Ecuador198
3Michael Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies179
4Daniel Diaz (Arg) Funvic Sao Jose Dos Campos158
5Oscar Sevilla (Spa) EPM-UNE-Area Metropolitana136.6
6William Chiarello (Bra)135
7Migeul Ubato Aponte (Ven)129
8Manuel Rodas Ochoa (Gua)126
9Kiel Reijnen (USA) United Healthcare Pro Cycling124
10Josue Gonzalez (CRC)120