US Continental team Rally Cycling parlayed its invitation to the inaugural Tour of California last month into two stage wins for Evan Huffman. The team found success off the bike as well, raising $32,000 for the UnitedHealthcare Children's Foundation by auctioning off eight custom bikes used in the men's and women's races.
Each bike was inspired a UHCCF grant recipient who filled out a survey about their favourite things and future aspirations. Then the Rally Cycling design team created a theme and custom name badge. Themes included favourite school subjects, animals, family activities and even a few super powers. The UHCCF medical grants are awarded to families who need financial assistance to help pay for their children’s health care treatments, services or equipment that is not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plans.
"Rally Cycling's support of the UHCCF is remarkable and inspiring," said Rob Britton, winner of the most courageous jersey on stage 5. "The entire peloton was jealous of the amazing bikes we were riding. Knowing the bikes were being auctioned off for such a good cause provided extra motivation for us, and it's something the entire team will remember. It made for a few stressful moments knowing how important it was not to crash and scratch one of the frames."
On the final day, the team hosted UHCCF grant recipient Nathan, who inspired the 'Snake' bike ridden by sprinter Eric Young. Although Young was forced to abandon the race on stage 2, Nathan was able to witness Huffman's second stage win of the week as the Rally rider sprinted from a small breakaway group in Pasadena.
"Nathan thought is was the coolest bike ever," said his mother, Stephanie Ellinger. "He was so excited and said that it was even better than he could have ever imagined. It was a special day, a lot of kids with health issues like Nathan, their lives are spent in and out of a hospital. Getting a chance to do something normal, like go to a bike race, is not an everyday occurrence."
Theuns misses time cut at Criterium du Dauphine
Trek-Segafredo lost its sprinter Edward Theuns on stage 2 of the Criterium du Dauphine with the Belgian unable to make contact with the peloton after suffering a mechanical with 20km to race. Theuns underwent surgery to remove hardware from his spine last month and then suffered a heavy crash on his return to racing at the Belgium Tour. Sports director Alain Gallopin suggested a combination of the two could have resulted in the 26-year-old missing the time cut.
"Edward was not feeling good yesterday, and again today. We are not sure why – maybe it is still from his crash in [the Tour of] Belgium, or maybe it's from his surgery after the Classics, but today was not a good day, and he did not make the time limit," Gallopin said.
Following the stage, Theuns provided his own explanation via Twitter.
"After 100k before the voiture balai, one flat with 20k to go, the @dauphine is done for me. OTL. A hard one to take. But the only way is up!" he tweeted.
With no sprinter left in the race, Trek-Segafredo are solely focused on the general classification with Spaniard Alberto Contador.
BMC to tune up for Tour de Suisse at GP du Canton d'Argovie
American-Swiss team BMC Racing will warm up for the Tour de Suisse WorldTour stage race, starting Sunday, with an ambitious squad for the 1.HC GP du Canton d'Argovie. With three Swiss riders in the squad, Tom Bohli, Silvan Dillier and Stefan Küng, sports director Jackson Stewart believe the win is well within reach.
"We are always excited to race in the home country of our title sponsor, BMC Switzerland and for some of our riders, it is the perfect opportunity to finalize their preparation for the Tour de Suisse," Stewart said. "We will mostly look to Silvan Dillier and Stefan Küng to be our primary finishers as they are very familiar with the race but, as a one-day race, and with the depth of our team, we will have a varied race strategy."
Despite not making the Tour de Suisse squad, Dillier makes his return to racing at the GP du Canton d'Argovie following a short period of rest after claiming a stage win at the Giro d'Italia.
"I came out of the Giro d'Italia feeling in good condition and with a lot of confidence, so I am really looking forward to GP du Canton d'Argovie. I want to put in my best performance possible as the race practically takes place on my doorstep in Gippingen," said Dillier, who was second in 2014 as a first year neo-pro.
BMC Racing for the 2017 GP du Canton d'Argovie: Tom Bohli (Sui), Damiano Caruso (Ita), Silvan Dillier (Sui), Stefan Küng (Sui), Samuel Sánchez (Esp), Manuel Senni (Ita), Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel), and Loïc Vliegen (Bel)
Criterium du Dauphine Stage 2 video highlights