• 2013/04/01 Success Continues In Spain for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
    • Success Continues In Spain for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
      Anthony takes Sprint Prize While Hanson Grabs Another Podium
      This past weekend, the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Men continued their spring European race campaign with a pair of UCI 1.1 ranked events in Spain. The historic duo of Gran Premio Indurain and Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja were in the cards as the team swapped out some of the riders who began their trip in Portugal. Tom Zirbel and Chad Haga departed for U.S. soil to prepare for the upcoming Redlands Classic in California and the remaining euro crew were joined by Eric Young, Mike Friedman and Marsh Cooper.

      Saturday's GP Indurain featured many difficult climbs while Sunday's Vuelta a la Rioja would be more suited to the sprinters such as Ken Hanson and Young. With the success and form that Hanson has shown thus far, the team elected to focus on a win on Sunday while trying to keep the team from going too deep into its reserves over Saturday's course.

      Over the difficult terrain of the GP Indurain, team director Jonas Carney instructed his crew to establish themselves in an early move and go for a win in one of the special categories. If this were successful, the remainder of the team could reduce their efforts and save energy for Sunday's sprint finale. As planned, Jesse Anthony jumped into the breakaway and took enough points to secure the Special Sprint Classification. While exhausted from the effort, Jesse hung on to finish and claim his prize on the podium.

      In Sunday's Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja, Carney placed all cards on the table, gambling on the sprint finish. The bet paid off as the team bided its time, awaiting the final kilometers to set up their own leadout. Overtaking some of the world's top teams into the final stretch, Scott Zwizanski led Mike Friedman, Eric Young and Ken Hanson into the final corner. The boys dropped off Hanson in great position, and he was just barely outdueled to the line by two other world class sprinters from Caja Rural and Orica-GreenEdge. Hanson finished 3rd, Young stormed to 4th despite leading out Hanson and Friedman also placed in the top 10, grabbing 9th.
      The team rests up for a few days now until April 7 when they compete in the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta (UCI 1.1) and finish the euro campaign with the 3 day Castilla y Leon (UCI 2.1) April 12-14.

      GP Indurain:
      1 Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 6 pts
      2 Karol Domagalski (Pol) Caja Rural 3  
      3 Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia 2  
      4 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 1  

      In addition to the race victory, Spilak would also take the day's mountain classification while two other riders in the break made good on their stint off the front: Wilson Marentes (Colombia) won the sprint classification while Jesse Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) secured the special sprint prize. - cyclingnews

      Vuelta a la Rioja:
      1 Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural 3:55:50  
      2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
      3 Ken Hanson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
      4 Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
      5 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge    
      6 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
      7 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team    
      8 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge    
      9 Michael Friedman (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies    
      10 Unai Iparraguirre Azpiazu (Spa) Euskadi