The 2012 road season has come and gone, with the newly minted cyclocross program in full swing heading into the National Championship next month in Madison, WI. The incredible success of 2012 left nothing but great memories for everyone at Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, and after the latest issue of Velonews hit newsstands this week, the good vibes continued for Optum p/b KBS, with the team claiming a near clean sweep of the domestic categories of the 25th annual Velonews awards.
The incredible accolades including Best Men’s Team, Best Women’s Team, Breakthrough Racer of the Year (Jade Wilcoxson), Women’s Stage Racer of the Year (Carmen Small) and Men’s Criterium Racer of the Year (Ken Hanson). Women’s Performance Director Rachel Heal shared her thoughts on the accolades.
“I am really proud of how the team performed in its first year. We surpassed most people’s expectations and by any and all measurements, it was a great year,” said Heal. “To have it recognized with multiple VeloNews awards is icing on the cake. To be awarded both best female stage racer and breakthrough rider of the year (is this just for the femmes?) shows the depth and versatility of the team, and to be awarded best women’s team is even sweeter as every result we got this year was the result of teamwork and dedication by all.”
Time and time again, Optum p/b KBS proved they were the team to beat. In every race across every discipline, the riders consistently proved they belong at the highest levels of the sport. Men’s Performance Director Jonas Carney saw the plethora of awards as a testament to the power of teamwork.
These four awards are something everyone in our organization can be proud of. Our athletes, our mechanics, our soigneurs, our directors, our sponsors, and everyone back in the office in Minneapolis. Everyone involved gives 100% for the team every day, and it is paying in dividends.”
With the holiday season upon us, 2012 is rapidly drawing to a close, with the horizon becoming the foreground for Optum p/b KBS. With the lion’s share of both the men’s and women’s teams returning and the addition of several new and promising athletes (including former Pro Tour rider Bjorn Selander and Velonew’s Rider to Watch in 2013 Lauren Hall) expect big things from Optum p/b KBS in the second year of Optum’s title sponsorship.