Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies brought fireworks to British Columbia’s Tour de Delta this weekend, combining for four wins and eight podiums at the opening 3-day series of BC Superweek, which offers some of North America’s biggest prize pots across nine events, with $125,000 of total winnings split between the men and women.
After a win for Denise Ramsden and Leah Kirchmann and a 2nd place finish for Ryan Anderson over the first two days of racing, the ultimate test came on Sunday in the technical White Spot Delta circuit race, which garnered a UCI 1.2 ranking for the first time ever in 2014.
Kirchmann began the day of racing for the team by sprinting for her second consecutive win from a small group, finishing a Tour de Delta sweep started by Ramsden’s win in Friday’s criterium opener.
Later that evening, Jesse Anthony attacked his competitors in the closing moments of the men’s race and sped away for a solo win, while teammate Ryan Anderson won the ensuing sprint for second for his second consecutive podium.
Performance manager Eric Wohlberg, who accompanies the team for the block of racing along women’s director and fellow Canadian Kevin Field, was happy with the team’s early success in British Columbia.
“BC Superweek has challenging courses and great fans, and we always really enjoy competing here,” said Wohlberg. “The prize money available can make things very interesting, so its great to see this much success early in the series.”
Kirchmann’s historic hot streak continues
The White Spot win gathered precious UCI points for both teams and completed a Tour de Delta sweep for the women after an opening pair of wins for Denise Ramsden and Kirchmann at the MK Delta Lands and Brenco criterium races. Kirchmann thanked her teammates for their hard work.
“I set my hopes high (for BC Superweek), I wanted to win,” she said. “I really can’t thank my team enough and it’s great that I have total trust in them. I don’t have to do as much during a race because I know I can rely on them to help control the race and set me up, put me in the best position at the finish line.”
With three straight top five finishes to start this year’s BC Superweek, the current Canadian road race, criterium, and time trial national champion looks forward to the rest of the summer.
“After BC Superweek, we’re heading over to Europe and doing the women’s Tour de France race and then I’m headed to Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games after that.”
Bold solo attack from Anthony leads to first UCI win of ’14
Jesse Anthony displayed some of the aggressive late-race tactics he is known for in capturing the solo victory, but gave credit to the team’s all-around performance on the technical course.
“We came here with a really strong team and we were on point all day,” said Anthony. “We rode at the front, were aggressive, and rode smart. We have a really experienced team and when the race is constantly shuffling, going back and forth, everyone just knows what to do. We were all just on point today, and that makes a big difference.”
In addition to the four wins, North Star Grand Prix champion Ryan Anderson claimed two second-place finishes at Delta.
“Friday, I just used it as a bit of an opener, I tried racing hard in the beginning and kind of shut down near the end. Saturday was good and Sunday was the ultimate goal and we rode fantastic,” said Anderson. From the beginning this morning, we wanted to be all hands on deck with everyone contributing to forcing the move and I think that made all the difference in the end.”