Optum Pro Cycling’s six-woman team blazed their way through this weekend’s three-day Tucson Bicycle Classic, sweeping both the stage podiums and the overall classification. Janel Holcomb took home the yellow jersey by 39 seconds over teammate Denise Ramsden. Lauren Hall rounded out the overall podium, 1:45 back. Beginning with Friday’s time trial, carrying through Saturday’s road race, and finishing on Sunday’s downtown circuit, the Orange and Black successfully gathering steam for Holcomb’s overall lead while using aggressive team tactics to deliver a different rider to the top of the podium each day.
“We’re excited to start the year with a solid team performance,” said Performance Manager Patrick McCarty, who directed the team at the race. “It is good to build up confidence and work things out tactically at some smaller races before we start focusing on our bigger goals. To see how the team shared the work and defended yellow is a great sign.”
Leah Kirchmann, the 2013 Tucson Bicycle Classic champ, took the win in the prologue time trial, covering 5.4km in nine minutes flat. The team placed five riders in the top ten, and they continued to race hard in Saturday’s 61 mile road race, using four riders to form the breakaway of the day and deliver Holcomb to a solo victory. Denise Ramsden finished things off with a win on Sunday’s closing circuit, once again with three teammates taking 2nd through 4th.
They used Sunday’s technical, 39-mile, 7-lap circuit to solidify Holcomb’s overall win.
“This week of training and racing in Tucson couldn’t have gone better – we set up a mini-camp for the women in Tucson so we could keep legs fresh before we start the National Racing Calendar,” said Performance Director Kevin Field. “It was great to have them compete in the Tucson Bicycle Classic, which in its 28th year is really a historic event. Our Diamondback TT bikes worked flawlessly in the opening prologue, and that set us up nicely to defend yellow for the rest of the week.”
The team heads next to the classic NRC season opener, California’s Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Tucson Bicycle Classic Roster