Team UnitedHealthcare Announces 2015 Roster
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team earlier today announced its 2015 men's roster, building on a successful 2014 season and aiming to continue on the path of progress. The ambitious riders of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train expanded their European racing schedule in 2014 to participate in multiple WorldTour events.
The team often rode bravely in proud attempts at animating races, placing a rider in a breakaway or otherwise facilitating the day's action, signaling to fans that the United Healthcare team is aiming for a spot at the top of the sport with depth, talent and ambition.
The team expanded into new races while remarkably maintaining a high level of success throughout the American racing schedule, earning a repeat win at the Philadelphia Cycling Classic with Kiel Reijnen and multiple top-ten performances at the Amgen Tour of California and Tour of Utah. Validation of the hard work invested came at the 2014 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, when the team rode a tactically impressive opening stage, positioning Kiel Reijnen for the sprint victory.
Never content with the status quo, the team says it has raised the bar for 2015 with exciting new additions to the roster, creating a team that can not only animate races, but also compete for stage wins and overall results in stage races.
Slovenian rider Janez Brajkovic, who has previously ridden with Lance Armstrong on Team RadioShack, will be the new general classification threat of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Though his recent seasons have been less successful, Brajkovic joins Team United Healthcare with an impressive list of accomplishments, including overall victory at the 2012 Tour of Slovenia, 2010 Critérium du Dauphiné Libere, and 2007 Tour de Georgia.
Brajkovic started his professional career in 2005 after winning the U23 World Championship time trial in 2004, and confirmed his abilities as a top-level general classification contender when he rode to 9th place overall in the 2012 Tour de France. Fully recovered from injuries that plagued his 2014 season, his new team says Brajkovic is highly motivated to realize his full potential with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Winner of stage 13 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, Italian Marco Canola joins the UnitedHealthcare team from the Italian Bardiani – CSF Squad, with whom he also achieved victory in the king of the mountains classification at the 2014 Tirreno-Adriatico. With Grand Tour experience at the Giro d'Italia (2013, 2014), Canola adds depth to the 2015 roster.
Daniele Ratto also joins the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team for 2015 from the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team. Ratto surged to victory in stage 14 of the 2013 Vuelta a España, and with podium results at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Vuelta a Burgos, and Gran Premio Llodio, he has proven himself to be a top-tier all-round rider with the ability to win stages at the highest level.
Team management says the core of the 2014 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling remains intact and is thus ready to take on new challenges in 2015. Kiel Reijnen returns for 2015 following a repeat victory at the Philadelphia Cycling Classic and a triumphant opening stage win and the sprint points green jersey at the 2014 USA Pro Challenge. Reijnen has proved his ability to survive elite selections, making him a dangerous sprinter at the end of the hardest races and stages.
When the race routes tilt uphill, climbers Lucas Euser and Isaac Bolivar are back to apply their ascending abilities throughout the 2015 season.
The criterium squad of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is ready for another great season with Karl Menzies, Adrian Hegyvary, Brad White, Ken Hanson, Hilton Clarke, Carlos Alzate, and Luke Keough all back together to execute the legendary Blue Train lead out.
German pro cycling legend Robert Förster is back again, with experience racing in nearly every major European race and seizing three stage victories at the Giro d'Italia and one at the Vuelta a España, Förster is a true veteran pro.
John Murphy earned the Stars and Stripes of the National Criterium Champion late into the 2014 season, and will proudly wear the colors for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team in 2015.
All-rounders Danny Summerhill, Davide Frattini, Chris Jones, and team captain Jonny Clarke will continue their contributions in important races ranging from the spring classics to the big American stage races.
Italian sprinter and all-rounder Alessandro Bazzana completes the roster of returning riders, coming off of an outstanding 2014 season with consistent top-ten results in European stage races like the Tour des Fjords and Tour of Denmark.
Always looking to the future, the team has signed promising young talent in Tanner Putt and Federico Zurlo.
Young American Tanner Putt joins the team as the US U23 national road champion. He made his mark in the U23 World Championship road race, taking 13th in the finale for Team USA. With top-ten results at the 2014 Tour of Utah, 2014 U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and 2013 USA Pro Challenge, Tanner shows signs of a very bright future.
Federico Zurlo joined the team as a stagiaire for the 6-stage 2014 Tour of Denmark, where he managed 2nd in the King of the Mountains classification behind teammate John Murphy. With dozens of victories in the junior and U23 ranks, 20-year-old Zurlo has shown the drive and tenacity that the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team seeks in a young, up-and-coming rider.
Commenting on the United HealthCare team's line-up for the 2015 season, general manager Mike Tamayo told RoadCycling.com "We have a well-rounded and immensely capable squad assembled for 2015. When you have a sponsorship commitment into the future, like that of UnitedHealthcare, we have to think beyond results of today. We have hired some impressive talents for 2015 but also hired some young up-and-coming riders for the future. We're excited to hit the road and start racing."
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for 2015:
Janez Brajkovič (SLO)
Robert Förster (GER)
Hilton Clarke (AUS)
Kiel Reijnen (USA)
Lucas Euser (USA)
Luke Keough (USA)
Adrian Hegyvary (USA)
Alessandro Bazzana (ITA)
Brad White (USA)
Carlos Alzate (COL)
Chris Jones (USA)
Daniele Ratto (ITA)
Danny Summerhill (USA)
Davide Frattini (ITA)
Federico Zurlo (ITA)
Isaac Bolivar (COL)
John Murphy (USA)
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Karl Menzies (AUS)
Ken Hanson (USA)
Marco Canola (ITA)
Tanner Putt (USA)