June 25, 2009 (Vancouver, BC) – BC Superweek continues its connection to cycling superstar and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong with news Thursday the Land Rover-ORBEA team is making the trip north to take part in Western Canada’s biggest weekends of cycling.
In addition to raising funds for Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, and its ongoing fight against cancer as part of its mandate, the Vancouver, Washington-based Land Rover-ORBEA team can also boast of besting Armstrong in a race this year.
In early May, Roman van Uden, who will make the trip north to BC Superweek, beat the largest pro men’s field in the 23-year history of the criterium stage at the Tour Of The Gila in New Mexico, finishing ahead of both Armstrong and eventual overall winner Levi Leipheimer, who will both race this year’s Tour de France on their Astana team. (There is a low-resolution photo of the win pasted below and attached; and a high-resolution image is available upon request).
Now van Uden, a talented 20-year-old from New Zealand, is coming to BC Superweek, where an up-and-coming Armstrong was also once victorious. And van Uden is bringing eight teammates from the Land Rover-ORBEA, a squad whose mission statement is to “raise funds and awareness for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and help develop some of the best young cyclist the globe has to offer…. and have loads of fun doing it!”
That means BC Superweek, which starts with three races at the Tour de Delta July 10 to 12, and wraps up with three more at the 30th anniversary of the Tour de White Rock from July 17 to 19, should be a perfect fit when the Land Rover LR2s start rolling into town.
“We love the crowds and events,” said Norrene Godfrey, director and cofounder of the team, which has raced BC Superweek in the past. “Half our team is from New Zealand and their parents are flying in to watch their sons race so it’s a big deal to us. And BC Superweek is also the start of our preparation for Tour of Utah (in August), so it will be a key race for us to get the guys going for ‘phase three’ of our race season.”
The list of young talent from this first-year UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Land Rover-ORBEA Team that is coming to BC is impressive, including top under-23 riders like Mike Northey, a former New Zealand National Criterium Champion who spent four years in Europe, and Bobby Sweeting, a Florida native with a long list of podium finishes, including second at the 2008 under-23 USA Criterium Championship. They will be joined by Kiwis Logan Hunn and Aaron Tuckerman; and Americans Josh Bartlett, Carson Miller, and Jim Camut, who came from the famed Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy based in Belgium.
Leading the way on the bike will be road manager Evan Elken, who at 32 years of age is the veteran of the squad, and has piled up several top-10 finishes over the years at BC Superweek while riding previously for the Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling team.
“When it comes to decisions and guidance of our young team, there is nothing better than actually having a senior rider within the peleton talking to the guys and telling them what to do,” Godfrey said of Elken, an Oregon native in his fifth year as a professional.
As impressive as their accomplishments on the bike have been during their first season as a UCI team, Land Rover-ORBEA’s work off the bike leaves a lasting impression too.
“We race around North America raising funds and awareness of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and sending cancer survivors to the LIVESTRONG Challenges,” Godfrey says. “We sent one to Seattle this weekend and five to Philadelphia last month. The guys also visit children’s hospitals and cancer centers when they are on the road prior to racing, and we’ll have LIVESTRONG wristbands for the crowds at the criterium.”
BC Superweek starts with the $25,000 Tour de Delta from July 10 to 12, kicking off with the MK Delta Prologue, continuing with the Brenco Criterium Saturday, and the gruelling White Spot Road Race on Sunday. Superweek wraps up with the 30th Tour de White Rock July 17-19, a challenging three-event weekend that starts with the Homelife Realty Hillclimb Friday night and Maximum Collision Criterium Saturday, before wrapping up with the scenic and storied Peace Arch News Road Race on Sunday.
For more BC Superweek information visit www.bcsuperweek.ca