Orange and Black victorious on multiple continents in build up to world championship
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies completed two stage races on two continents Sunday, with Ryan Anderson winning the Best Canadian Jersey at the inaugural Tour of Alberta (UCI 2.1) and the women’s team winning best overall team at France’s prestigious Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l‚Ardeche.
Women Impressive in Team European Debut
Although most of the athletes have raced with their respective national teams in Europe at some point in their careers, the 6-day stage race in Ardeche was the first chance for the team to ride “together” ‚Äì as the Optum p/b KBS unit, and show off its incredible teamwork on the international stage. The five-woman roster gathered multiple podiums, featuring a 1-2 finish from Joelle Numainville and Lauren Hall, and capped things off with the team classification prize. Numvainville closed out with another second place finish in stage six, coming a few meters behind two-time world champion Georgia Bronzini. She finished 5th on general classification.
“With a stage win, multiple podiums, and winning the team classification, the team definitely showed that they are a force to be reckoned with on the international stage,” said Performance Director Rachel Heal. “It is a great sign for the rest of the trip that we were able to open things up with so much success. Sometimes all the chaos of travel and lost training opportunities because of it can make a team come out a bit flat, but everyone bounced back incredibly well.”
The women travel next to Italy to content the Giro della Toscana, a five day stage race is Tuscany, near the world championship venue in Florence.
Ryan Anderson Claims Honorable Prize On Home Soil
Optum p/b KBS’ newest team member and Vancouver native Ryan Anderson rolled into downtown Calgary yesterday with the red Best Canadian rider jersey in tow. It was an honor for Anderson, who competed against a list of the top Canadian cycling talent in the country’s inaugural UCI ranked stage race in Alberta. Anderson, who has been explosive for the team since nearly winning a national title on the road in his debut and battling with Peter Sagan at the USA Pro Challenge, was honored to take home the jersey. Anderson finished 8th overall after five days of racing.
“It’s definitely special for the team, and for me as well. Being the first year of the race in Alberta, to be able to come and be on the podium for the last three days, in front of all the crowds, is something special for me. I was glad to continue the great cycling tradition in Canada, and taking home this jersey is representative of that,” said Anderson.
Anderson was happy to see such big turnouts at the races and thinks it bodes will for the future of premier stage racing in Canada.
“I’m not too surprised about the great crowds ‚Äì I expected them to be good, and they were. Even the school kids came out to cheer, and it was fantastic. Alberta has always been known for supporting and rallying behind big events, and this race was no different. It is great racing on ‘home turf’, and I everyone on our team is motivated to compete at this stage race in the future.”
Performance Director Jonas Carney and the six-man roster for the Team Time Trial World Championship will depart this week for Italy to begin preparations for the final race of the season.