• 2013/05/28 2 USPRO ROAD NATIONAL TITLES won on CHALLENGE STRADA 25mm tubulars !
    • 2 USPRO ROAD NATIONAL TITLES won on CHALLENGE STRADA 25mm tubulars ! 2 USPRO ROAD NATIONAL TITLES won on CHALLENGE STRADA 25mm tubulars !

      OPTUM TEAM Driven by CHALLENGE !

      On STRADA 25mm tubular tires

       

      Tom Zirbel A truly fantastic weekend for the Optum p/b KBS program taking 2 out of 4 possible national titles. It began on Friday when Tom Zirbel outpaced the entire field in the Men's Time Trial, grabbing the gold medal he has pursued for much of his racing career. Teammate Chad Haga rode a sterling time, less than 5 seconds from the bronze, while Scott Zwizanski took 9th on the day. The women continued to show their strategy is overall team strength, placing 3 riders in the top ten also with Jade Wilcoxson in 5th, Janel Holcomb in 7th and Brie Walle in 10th.

      Today's battle for the road race titles proved to be epic and the Optum p/b KBS women began with a bang! After numerous selections of Lookout Mountain, a lead group of 8 formed including Wilcoxson and Lauren Hall. Wilcoxson showed the tenacity and cunning of riders with a decade's experience as she leapt from the group in the closing miles, only joined by Exergy's Kristin McGrath. Sensing she needed to arrive to the line alone, Jade put in one final effort in the last miles to distance herself from McGrath and claim a fabulous solo victory. Teammate Lauren Hall bided her time in the group and eventually struck out with Alison Powers who had no choice but to try a last desperate gasp to reel in the leaders. The pair passed McGrath in the final km and Lauren was able to take the silver medal, stamping the team's authority over the women's peloton.

      The men's race showed the world today how strong Tom Zirbel is. After his impressive display in the TT, Zirbel placed himself in a break of 5 riders that escaped very early in the race. Dwindling to 4 after the numerous climbs of Lookout Mountain, Tom remained in the break until it was absorbed by a front group of 15 on the final ascent. Matthew Busche, one of our team alumni from 2009 and current Radioshack rider, tried to go solo over the top of the final KOM but the group brought him back including the stellar Zirbel, who was having a remarkable ride. Bissell's Phil Gaimon went for a long solo effort to try and grab the stars and strips but the remaining leaders managed to reel him in with just 1km to go. Zirbel had one last bullet to fire and tried to time trial to the finish but the group knew he couldn't receive any leash. Tom was brought back in the final 500 meters and finished 11th on the day.

      However 2 U.S. Professional National Titles out of a possible 4 is a great performance for our men and women and a testament to the depth and composition of this program.
      Congratulations to all of our riders and staff this weekend and to you, our incredible partners, for helping to make this happen.

      Check out optumprocycling.com on Tuesday for more reporting and race galleries from the weekend's events. The racing continues very quickly as both squads now head to Philadelphia for the UCI ranked Philly Cycling Classic on Sunday.

      Race Report from Director Rachel Heal:

      Wow, wow, wow, today was one of those perfect days where the whole team raced amazingly, everyone played their part flawlessly, and it all came together for an absolutely awesome result.

       

      The race was fast and aggressive from the start, with riders attacking and counter attacking until finally NOW's Maura Kinsella broke the elastic and moved clear, however she wasn't allowed to gain more than 30 seconds before she was reeled back in before the race left the small circuits and headed out towards the climb.

       

      As expected the race started to blow apart as soon as it hit the Lookout Mountain climb, and the front group was quickly whittled down to 20 and then 15 and then 10 riders, before Exergy's Mara Abbott and Specialized Lululemon's Evie Stevens finally broke clear over the QOM. Behind them a very small select chasing group of 7 riders formed including Jade, Janel and Lauren. Heading back into town the chase group caught the leaders, and as they headed out across the bridge, more groups caught back on swelling the front group to 35 riders. Almost as soon as the group grew in size, a break of 8 riders formed off the front, with Jade and Lauren in there for us. The composition of the group seemed to be the right one, and pretty quickly the gap grew to 30 seconds, then 1 minute and then 1:30 as they hit the base of lookout mountain for the 2nd time. The group stayed pretty much together just losing 1 rider, and holding the gap over a minute over the chasing bunch for most of the climb. As they neared the QOM line Abbott had attacked out of a splintered chasing group to bridge to the leaders. Realizing her teammate had been dropped from the break, Alison Powers used her downhill skier descending skills to bridge up to the front group, and almost immediately they hit the flat run into town the attacks started. Small groups would get off the front and then get caught until Mara Abbott managed to break clear, building up a 20 second advantage before the group realized the danger and started to chase. With 3 of the 10 rider group being teammates of Abbott, there weren't many riders willing to contribute to the chase, and so Jade decided to attack to try to bridge rather than just dragging the group along. She'd closed to within 10 seconds when Abbott suffered a rear flat, and suddenly Jade was alone in the lead with 2 1/2 laps to go. Exergy's Kristin McGrath set off in pursuit and as she caught Jade and as the 2 started to work together this was starting to look nail bitingly like the race winning move. In a way that tested everyone's nerves, the gap hovered around 15 seconds, coming down to just 5 seconds with a lap to go, before going back out to 10 and then 15 seconds.

       

      With just 2km to go, Jade sensed a moment's hesitation from McGrath and attacked hard into a corner getting a gap, and from that point on she never looked back, soloing to the line for an incredible victory. Alison Powers (NOW) and Lauren broke clear from the chasing pack inside the final kilometer, catching a tiring McGrath, and launching a well timed and powerful sprint, Lauren made it 1-2 for Optum. An incredible day for the whole team.

      Women's Road Race Results

       

      1

      127.63

      Jade Wilcoxson (1 - Pro)

      Talent, OR

      2:46:39

      255887

      11

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      2

      130.80

      Lauren Hall (2 - Pro)

      Dolores, CO

      2:46:50

      262479

      13

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      3

      133.98

      Alison Powers

      Pinecliffe, CO

      2:46:50

      98704

      40

      NOW and Novartis for MS

       

      4

      137.15

      Kristin McGrath (3 - Pro)

      Boise, ID

      2:46:50

      247577

      6

      Exergy TWENTY16

       

      5

      140.32

      Jacquelyn Crowell (4 - Pro)

      Maitland, FL

      2:46:56

      185441

      4

      Exergy TWENTY16

       

      6

      143.49

      Amanda Miller (5 - Pro)

      Fort Collins, CO

      2:46:56

      228513

      31

      Team TIBCO/ To the Top

       

      7

      146.67

      Carmen Small (6 - Pro)

      Durango, CO

      2:46:56

      229709

      20

      Specialized-lululemon

       

      8

      149.84

      Andrea Dvorak (7 - Pro)

      Crozet, VA

      2:46:56

      190817

      5

      Exergy TWENTY16

       

      9

      153.01

      Tayler Wiles (8 - Pro)

      Murray, UT

      2:47:26

      289582

      23

      Specialized-lululemon

       

      10

      156.19

      Mara Abbott (9 - Pro)

      Boulder, CO

      2:50:58

      198735

      2

      Exergy TWENTY16

       

      11

      159.36

      Evelyn Stevens (10 - Pro)

      Dennis, MA

      2:50:58

      272861

      21

      Specialized-lululemon

       

      12

      162.53

      E Scotti Wilborne (1 - Cat1)

      Little Rock, AR

      2:50:58

      301155

      117

      Mellow Mushroom Racing

       

      13

      165.70

      Janel Holcomb (11 - Pro)

      San Diego, CA

      2:51:08

      255006

      10

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      14

      168.88

      Megan Guarnier

      Mountain View, CA

      2:51:08

      210981

      121

      Rabo Women Cycling Team

       

      15

      172.05

      Lauren Stephens

      Dallas, TX

      2:51:08

      288678

      94

      FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore

       

      Men's Road Race Results

       

      1

      172.71

      Thomas Zirbel

      Boulder, CO

      38:16.04

      209308

      3

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      2

      179.67

      Brent Bookwalter

      Asheville, NC

      38:33.32

      171977

      2

      BMC Racing Team

       

      3

      186.63

      Nathan Brown

      Covington, TN

      38:57.15

      188123

      18

      Bontrager Cycling Team

       

      4

      193.59

      G Lawson Craddock

      Austin, TX

      38:57.92

      194685

      19

      Bontrager Cycling Team

       

      5

      200.55

      Chad Haga

      Colorado Springs, CO

      39:02.11

      248479

      20

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      6

      207.51

      David Williams

      Grand Rapids, MI

      39:04.94

      225765

      10

      5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda

       

      7

      214.47

      Matthew Busche

      Wauwatosa, WI

      39:09.96

      226346

      9

      RadioShack Leopard

       

      8

      221.43

      Benjamin Jacques-Maynes

      Corralitos, CA

      39:40.20

      23057

      16

      Jamis Hagens Berman

       

      9

      228.39

      Scott Zwizanski

      West Chester, PA

      39:54.64

      131248

      7

      Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies

       

      10

      235.35

      Joseph Rosskopf

      Athens, GA

      39:56.68

      223318

      13

      Hincapie Sportswear Development Team

       

      11

      242.31

      Ian Burnett

      Durango, CO

      39:57.32

      191725

      12

      Jelly Belly Cycling

       

      12

      249.27

      Nathaniel English

      Berkeley, CA

      40:02.82

      258309

      4

      5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda

       

      13

      256.23

      Carter Jones

      Boulder, CO

      40:13.88

      222644

      14

      Bissell Cycling

       

      14

      263.19

      Adrian Hegyvary

      Asheville, NC

      40:13.97

      148088

      35

      UnitedHealthcare

       

      15

      270.15

      Benjamin Wolfe

      Old Lyme, CT

      40:16.47

      260405

      22

      Jelly Belly Cycling