March 17, 2013 (Tampa, FL) – The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Hilton Clarke won the 2013 Cigar City Brewing Criterium earlier tonight in Tampa, Florida, making it back-to-back wins for the Australian speedster in the race perhaps best known as the Tampa Crit. Thanks to the help of teammates Davide Frattini, Adrian Hegyvary, Karl Menzies, and Carlos Alzate, Clarke was able to secure top honors on the night ahead of runner up Bruno Langlois and third place finisher Michael Chauner, both of Team Garneau Québecore. Alzate finished in 5th place, just behind Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis’ Frank Travieso.
Tonight’s victory held special meaning for Clarke and his teammates. Racing on behalf of the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF), the five men agreed to donate 100% of their prize to the charity. Following their winning efforts on the lightning fast circuits through the streets of downtown Tampa, Clarke, the 2012 National Criterium Calendar (NCC) champion, spoke about his team and its cause in a post-race interview with race announcer, Chad Andrews.
“It wasn’t easy tonight but our team works really hard,” said Clarke. “These guys are so good when it counts, especially knowing we were riding for a good cause tonight, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation. We’re really happy to support the Children’s Foundation and had the opportunity to meet a couple of its grant recipients earlier this evening. It was both great and inspiring to spend time with the kids and their family. We presented them with a couple of bikes and helmets and are happy to show our overall support by donating our prize money to the (UnitedHealthcare Children’s) Foundation.”
Reflecting on the race and the team environment that the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train is known for, Clarke continued, saying, “We have a great atmosphere on this team and always have a good strategy going into each race. It really isn’t about one rider, we have a great group and I’m happy to help us get the win tonight.”
In early race action, a breakaway of seven riders was able to about 20 seconds up the road on the main field. In that initial break were Team UnitedHealthcare members Alzate, Menzies and Hegyvary. But the group of escapees proved to be too big and started to lose steam and was eventually absorbed by the field. There were a lot of attacks after that and Carke waited for a perfectly timed attack of his own. Picking his spot, he went with Team SmartStop/Mountain Khakis’ Frank Travieso in a well-timed move that proved successful as the two got away together. Shortly afterward, the guys from Garneau Québecore bridged across and all riders representing multiple teams rode together to lap the field.
Pleased with the effort of his troops, Team UnitedHealthcare’s General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “Tonight we saw another perfectly executed race by the guys. Once they were half a lap ahead on the field, we knew we wanted to get Hilton back around to his teammates and from there it was all about teamwork to the finish line. There is no substitute for teamwork. It is instrumental in winning any race, especially these criteriums, and I saw the boys give everything they had to give one rider the win.”
“We’re now seeing the hard work from our December and January training camps and early season racing starting to pay off. Some of our guys like Davide Frattini and Adrian Hegyvary who are racing here in Tampa, have already done 14 to 15 days of racing in Europe and they are showing it in their legs. This was a good win tonight. More importantly, it was for an even greater cause,” Tamayo concluded.
This week Team UnitedHealthcare will see racing action on three continents as it takes to the start line at the Tour of Taiwan (March 18-24), Settimana Coppi e Bartali (March 20-24) and the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium (March 23).
1. Hilton Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
2. Bruno Langlois (Can) Team Garneau Québecor
3. Michael Chauner (USA) Team Garneau Québecor
4. Frank Travieso (USA) Team SmartStop/Mountain Khaki
5. Carlos Alzate (Col) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling