Ken Hanson and the rest of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies closed out the Amgen Tour of California today with another big effort in the field sprint, claiming fifth place in downtown Santa Rosa against some of the world’s top sprinters. Amgen podium stalwart Peter Sagan (Cannondale) claimed the final sprint of the eight day race, with Hanson receiving another solid leadout from his teammates on the classic Santa Rosa finishing circuit.
Chad Haga, who battled through 100-plus degree heat, grueling category one climbs, and a final push to the summit of Mt. Diablo, captured the team’s first top ten overall placing in their five year history of racing the event. It was further proof of Haga’s prowess as a stage racer, and his ability to adapt to the extreme conditions riders faced during the week of racing. Haga’s ability as both a time trialist and climber proved crucial to his high placing on the overall standings, coming against some of the top riders in each discipline. Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing took home the overall victory.
“Chad has had a phenomenal year. He has reached the podium in almost every stage race he’s done so far. He’s proved himself against the domestic peloton and in a 2.2 race in Portugal. The Tour of California was an opportunity to see how he stacks up against even tougher competition and he really stepped up.”
The final day of racing was a truly epic experience, beginning with the peloton heading across the Golden Gate Bridge and onto the beautiful, rolling Marin County course. The majority of the day was spent of Highway One, rolling through the most diverse terrain of the race, including tiny coastal towns, dense Redwood forests, and acres of open farmland. Performance Director Jonas Carney was thinking field sprint from the get go, and knew his athletes were itching for a final crack at the podium.
“Our guys gained lot of confidence when they were able to execute an almost perfect leadout against the World Tour Teams coming into Santa Barbara. It showed them that anything is possible if we race together as a team and they were keen to take another stab at it today. While the result wasn’t as good, 5th against this competition is still a solid result for our team. ”
Eric Young Sprints To Victory At Team’s Hometown Kelly Cup, Joelle Numainville Takes Second In UCI Ranked GP Gatineau
Both across the country and in another country, Optum p/b KBS claimed two more podiums this weekend, highlighted with Eric Young’s victory at sponsor Kelly Benefit Strategies’ hometown race in Baltimore, Maryland. It was the team’s first victory at Kelly Cup since 2008, when former KBS all-star David Veilleux (currently riding for French Pro Continental outfit Europcar) claimed the win.
Joelle Numainville, competing alongside four of her teammates in Quebec’s GP Gatineau, claimed second place on the extremely challenging course. Gatineau, one of the three UCI ranked women’s races in North America, covers 12 laps of a 10 kilometer circuit and traditionally finishes in a heavily contested bunch sprint. Another show of teamwork from Optum p/b KBS delivered Numainville to the line to contest the sprint, with leadout Lauren Hall finishing fourth.
Read Rachel Heal’s race report on the GP Gatineau race below:
Today was the 4th edition of the GP Gatineau, one of only three UCI races for women in North America. The race covers twelve laps of a 10 kilometer circuit and in its previous three editions, has always finished in a bunch sprint. With Annie out after her crash at Tour de Grove last weekend, we had just five riders, Joelle, Janel, Leah, Denise and Lauren, but we were confident we had a good team to either go with a breakaway or be right up there contesting the sprint.
From the get go, the Canadian national team and GSD Gestion were aggressive, and sending individual riders up the road. Together with Tibco we were happy to control the pace and keep the gaps in check. Halfway through the race, a break of three riders developed, two from the Canadian national team and one from GSD Gestion, but with the gap hovering around 20 seconds, and only reaching a maximum of one minute, it wasn’t a serious threat. Working with Tibco, Janel and Denise were able to bring it back inside two laps to go, and from then on it was full on for a bunch sprint finish. With Leah leading around the final roundabout, Joelle unleashed her sprint and was just beaten to the line by Tibco’s Shelly Olds, with Lauren coming in 4th, it was a pretty successful day for the team and a result of great teamwork by all!
The team heads next to the USPRO Championship Time Trial and Road Race in Chattanooga, Tennessee, taking place next weekend. Look for the team’s form developed at the Amgen Tour of California to serve them well at the national championship race series. Check out behind the scenes photo galleries from every stage from the Amgen Tour of California at optumprocycling.com.