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UnitedHealthcare tie up young stars Van Poppel and Keough for 2012

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Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare)

Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare) (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Teammates Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Jake Keough happy with the top two spots for the day.

Teammates Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Jake Keough happy with the top two spots for the day. (Image credit: Jonathan Devich)

UnitedHealthcare have locked up their young talent, with sprinters Jake Keough and Boy Van Poppel confirmed to be rejoining the American Pro Continental team in 2012.

Keough, 24, has enjoyed a breakout season with UnitedHealthcare, chalking up eight wins, including the overall series victory for the prestigious Speedweek Criteriums.

General Manager Mike Tamayo explained that he was excited to see just how far the young American can go in the sport, after watching his improvement over the last two seasons.

"When I first brought Jake on board in 2010 it was with the idea of making him stronger and faster, something that doesn’t happen in one year," Tamayo said. "He had a number of wins in 2011, but more importantly his strength and ability to handle harder races and a bigger stress load has taken a big step forward. Jake is one of the guys the sport will be talking about again next year and in 2013, as he starts to win on bigger stages. I am sure of that."

Dutch rider Van Poppel was one of the key riders in UnitedHealthcare’s European campaign, and Tamayo hopes the 23-year-old can continue to build on that next year – particularly with the help of new European Director Henrik Redant.

"Boy is still developing much like the team is developing," Tamayo said. "We saw glimpses of how strong he really is this year and we will only see him get stronger and smarter as we keep working with him. I think Hendrik Redant will actually be a great addition to his career, especially helping him read the Belgium style races."

Along with Keough and Van Poppel, Karl Menzies, Chris Jones, Adrian Hegyvary, Jonny Clarke, Hilton Clarke, Brad White, and Davide Frattini are all confirmed to be returning next year.

Full list of returning riders to UnitedHealthCare for 2012:

Rory Sutherland (Aus), Robert Förster (Ger), Jake Keough (USA), Boy Van Poppel (Ned), Karl Menzies (Aus), Jonny Clarke (Aus), Hilton Clarke (Aus), Adrian Hegyvary (USA), Chris Jones (USA), Brad White (USA), Davide Frattini (Ita)