Photo Essay: 2014 Road Racing Retrospective

With high profile stage wins and podiums at races like the Tour of California, the Tour of Utah, and La Course by Le Tour de France, the 2014 season will go down in history as the most successful yet in the program’s 8-year history. This photo retrospective captures a special year in and out of the saddle for the Orange & Black.

Training Camp | Oxnard, California

The team began its season with a training camp in Southern California, with rental houses a short spin to the gorgeous (and grueling) climbs of the Santa Monica Canyon. The team has called Oxnard it’s preseason training home for the past five seasons.

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Turning Wheels For Kids with the san francisco 49ers | santa clara, california

The Orange & Black ended their off-season by teaming up with the San Francisco 49ers to build and distribute bicycles for at-risk youth in the Bay Area. After a few lessons and test drives, each child went home with a bicycle, helmet, and lock to begin a new two-wheeled adventure.

49ers star wide reciever Anquan Boldin builds a bicycle with his son. For some players, the bike build is a chance to have some alone time with family members on one of the team's important rest days.

49ers star wide reciever Anquan Boldin builds a bicycle with his son.

A 49ers offensive linemen shows off a feat of strength for 2014 Criterium National Champion Eric Young.

A 49ers offensive lineman performs a feat of strength for 2014 Tour of Utah stage winner Eric Young.

A Turning Wheels For Kids mechanic does a final check up on 49 Diamondback bicycles.

A Turning Wheels For Kids mechanic does a final check up on 49 Diamondback bicycles.

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Tom Soladay helps one young rider with a new bike and helmet through an obstacle and safety course.

Tom Soladay helps a young rider through an obstacle and safety course on the day of the giveaway and fair.

Silver City’s Tour of the Gila | Silver City, New Mexico

Carter Jones got a season’s worth of momentum rolling at New Mexico’s hot, climbing heavy SRAM Tour of the Gila. It would foreshadow an incredible year in the mountains for the young climber.

Will Routley was instrumental in keeping Jones safe on the race's hot, steep slopes.

Will Routley was instrumental in keeping Jones safe on the race’s hot, steep slopes.

Climbing ace Carter Jones kicked off the season in style with the overall win at the Tour of the Gila.

Gent-Wevelgem | Flanders, Belgium

Lauren Hall took the win at Belgium’s Gent-Wevelgem, one of Europe’s most storied one-day Classics. It was the biggest win of her career, and helped Hall’s selection to represent Team USA in the road race at the 2014 UCI World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

Lauren Hall takes the win at the Gent-Wevelgem in Belgium, one of the biggest wins of her career. Hall was also chosen to represent Team USA in the road race at the 2014 World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

Tour of Britain | United Kingdom

The inaugural Women’s Tour of Britain was England’s most widely televised women’s stage race in history. After five days of racing, the Orange & Black held the special honor of the race’s top ranked team. The result would be a major determining factor to the team’s invitation to La Course by Le Tour de France later in the year.

Fans young and old came out to cheer on the riders on a daily basis at the Tour of Britain.

The amount of roadside fans in the UK was truly something to behold. Hundreds of thousands, young and old alike, turned out to cheer the peloton.

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Rainfall and slick roads made crashing a very real possibility in England. Here Leah Kirchmann battles back from a spill early on in the week.

Fans young and old came out to cheer on the riders on a daily basis at the Tour of Britain.

British police tend to be a little more easygoing than their American counterparts. Here the Orange & Black swap hats with the local constables.

Lauren Hall and Janel holcomb sign a young fans Union Jack at the Tour of Britain after finishing the inaugural Tour of Britain.

Lauren Hall and Janel Holcomb sign a young fan’s Union Jack after winning the best team prize. The race was proof to young woman around England that being a star athlete is a very real possibility.

Janel Holcomb, Leah Kirchmann, and Lauren Hall celebrate on stage after winning the Best Overall Team Classification at the inaugural Tour of Britain.

Janel Holcomb, Leah Kirchmann, and Lauren Hall cut a rug onstage along with the rest of the Women’s Tour podium finishers.

Amgen Tour of California | California

The Amgen California has been one of the team’s most important goals since its inception in 2007. The team reached unprecedented levels of success at the first of America’s “Big Three” races in ’14, winning a stage and its first jersey classification in team history.

Amgen Tour of California, 2014

Will Routley outfoxed his breakaway companions at the Tour of California to win the team’s first-ever UCI 2.HC ranked stage. Routley also went on to win the coveted King of the Mountains jersey four days later marking the most successful tour in the team’s history.

Amgen Tour of California, 2014 Will Routley outsprinted his breakaway companions at the Tour of California to win the team’s first-ever UCI 2.HC ranked stage. Routley also went on to win the coveted King of the Mountains jersey four days later marking the most successful tour in the team’s history.
Brianna Walle took 2nd place in the time trial and 3rd in the criterium race at the Tour of California women’s races.

Brianna Walle took 2nd place in the time trial and 3rd in the criterium race at the Tour of California women’s races.

North Star Grand Prix | Minneapolis, MN

With a title sponsor and a front office both located in Minnesota, the state’s North Star Grand Prix is a significant part of the race calendar. Coming into ’14, the team had been dominant at the race, winning numerous stages and three straight general classification wins for the men.

North Star Grand Prix, 2014

Anderson took yellow in an uphill sprint at the Cannon Falls Road Race and never looked back.

Ryan Anderson wins yellow jersey and celebrates the best overall team prize with his teammates on the final podium.

Each year at the North Star Grand Prix, the teams heads over to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House to visit with families, tour the facilities, and help host a lemonade stand fundraiser.

Tom Zirbel and Scott Zwizanski help man a lemonade stand at the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House. While visiting the Ronald McDonald House the team visits with families and their children, and raises money with the lemonade stand.

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A young fan proudly displays his new trading card of Tom Soladay during the team visit to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House.

A young fan proudly displays his new team trading card during the team’s visit to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House.

Canadian Road National Cycling Championships

Leah Kirchmann became the first Canadian in history to sweep the road titles at this year’s Canadian Road Championships.
A hat-trick for Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)

Kirchmann stands atop one of her three Canadian national championship podiums with teammate Denise Ramsden. Kirchmann became the first Canadian in history to sweep the road titles.

Kirchmann stands atop one of her three Canadian national championship podiums with teammate Denise Ramsden.

BC Superweek | British Columbia, Canada

Canada is known for its enthusiasm for cycling and robust racing scene. With a team of almost entirely North American athletes, BC Superweek and the Tour de Delta are a focal point for the team, hosting big crowds and loads of prize money. The Optum p/b KBS women had a dominant run at Superweek this year, taking wins and podium spots at the majority of the races.

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Kirchmann takes the win at the Gastown Grand Prix, winning North America’s largest single day prize purse in the process.

Later that evening, Ryan Anderson missed the same win by a bike throw. Luckily, even second took home a hefty prize pot to share with the team.

Later that evening, Ryan Anderson missed the same win by a bike throw. Luckily, even second took home a hefty prize pot to share with the team.

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The  Orange & Black dominated at the Tour de Delta this year. Leah Kirchmann won both the road race and Brenco criterium while Jesse Anthony won the road race for the men and Denise Ramsden won the MK Delta Criterium.

The Orange & Black dominated at the Tour de Delta this year. Leah Kirchmann won both the road race and Brenco criterium while Jesse Anthony won the road race for the men and Denise Ramsden won the MK Delta Criterium.

La Course by Le Tour de France | France

The inaugural La Course, on the final day of Le Tour de France in downtown Paris, saw the best female cyclist’s in the world compete on the Le Tour’s famed Champs-Élysées circuit. The team shined in one of the world’s biggest ever spotlights for a one-day women’s race.

A long look down the course on the Champs-Elysees at La Course by Le Tour de France.

The final circuit of the Tour de France features cycling’s most famous finishing straight on the Champs-Élysées.

Kirchmann sprinted to a third place finish on the Champs-Elysees at the historic La Course by Le Tour de France.

Kirchmann sprints for third for an elite lead group on the Champs-Élysées. World champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) took the win.

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Tour of Utah

With over 60,000 feet of climbing and unforgiving temperatures and terrain, Utah is called “America’s Toughest Stage Race” for a reason. A nasty course profile couldn’t stop the team’s dynamic leadout train from doing what it does best.

Eric Young catapulted off of a hard charging leadout to win stage five of the Tour of Utah.

A picture perfect bike throw captures Young the biggest win of his life in Utah.

Eric Young riding along side team captain Alex Candelario is congratulated by a member of Optum’s sister UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling’s team after his stage five win at the Tour of Utah.

Eric Young and Alex Candelario are congratulated by Chris Jones of Optum’s sister team UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling after his stage win.

USA Pro Challenge | Colorado

The last of the America’s Big Three stage races offers up some of the country’s biggest cycling fanatics and some of its most historic mountain towns. It was a race almost purely for the climbers – namely, Carter Jones, who’s confidence and ability in the mountains continued to grow as the season progressed.

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Carter not only stayed with the most selective lead groups in Colorado, he was active in them. Here he puts the hurt on the likes of Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Danielson.

Carter Jones was an integral part of what made the 2014 season the most successful to date. Jones finished 7th overall at the Tour of Utah and 8th overall at the USA Pro Challenge.

Carter Jones was a big part of the team’s success in 2014. Jones finished 7th overall at the Tour of Utah, 8th overall at the USA Pro Challenge, and 11th overall at the Tour of California.

Performance Director Jonas Carney is joined by Maura Kinsella, Eric Jellum, Tom Zirbel, Carter Jones, Ryan Mele, and his wife XXX gave away XXX bikes to XXX children at the XXX school for having a perfect attendance record.

Performance Director Jonas Carney is joined by Maura Kinsella, Eric Jellum, Tom Zirbel, Carter Jones, Ryan Mele, and his wife Justina to donate 25 bikes to kids in the Denver Public School system who recorded perfect attendance for the 2014 school year.

Tour of Alberta | Canada

Back in the North, the Tour of Alberta was the final chance for the men’s team to compete against the WorldTour on North American soil. A favorite of Alberta native Ryan Anderson and a sprinter friendly profile meant the team would be especially hungry for a result. Anderson finished fifth overall and sprinting to second on the final stage, and won the red Top Canadian Rider jersey for the second consecutive year. Anderson won a similar prize at the WorldTour ranked Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec. The Top Canadian was also chosen to represent Team Canada in the road race at the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.

Tour of Alberta, 2014

Edmonton Oilers team captain Andrew Ference presents Ryan Anderson with a game jersey at the Tour of Alberta. In case you didn’t know, that is a really big deal if you are Canadian.

Ryan Anderson finished fifth overall and  won the red Top Canadian Rider jersey for his second consecutive year the Tour of Alberta. Anderson won a similar prize at the WorldTour ranked Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec. The Top Canadian was also chosen to represent Team Canada in the road race at the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain.
Anderson narrowly misses the stage win against Orica-GREENEDGE's Daryl Impey in a rain soaked sprint in downtown Edmonton.

Anderson narrowly misses the stage win against Orica-GREENEDGE’s Daryl Impey in a rain soaked sprint in downtown Edmonton.

UCI Road World Championships | Ponferrada, Spain

The final major race of the season was also one of its most important, and something the women’s team had prepped for their entire season, with several dedicated training camps. The team time trial is one of the sport’s most demanding and technically challenging events.

Jade Wilcoxson, Janel Holcomb, Annie Ewart, Lauren Hall, Brianna Walle, and Leah Kirchmann await their start at the UCI Road World Championships Team Time Trial in Ponferrada, Spain. The team finished with their best result to date finishing 6th just seven seconds behind team Astana Bepink.

Jade Wilcoxson, Janel Holcomb, Annie Ewart, Lauren Hall, Brianna Walle, and Leah Kirchmann await their start at the UCI Road World Championships Team Time Trial in Ponferrada, Spain.

UCI Road World Championships, 2014

The team blazed to a fourth place finish, greatly improving on its first run at the Worlds TTT in 2013. They finished just six seconds off of the podium.

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