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Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Unveils 2013 Roster – 6 Canucks on Board

by pedalmag.com

December 05, 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) —  Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, entering the heart of the cyclo-cross season and with the 2013 road racing season rapidly approaching, announced expanded and revised rosters today for its men’s and women’s programs, featuring key re-signings, important new additions, and the retention of three national championship jerseys holders.

“Both the men’s and women’s teams had a lot of success in 2012 and we didn’t want to change the formula too much. We worked hard to keep the core together and make a couple of strategic additions,” said Performance Director Jonas Carney. “Last year the men’s team was able to win both the KOM jersey at the Tour of California the USPRO Criterium Championship, two vastly different races. The women’s team was equally as balanced, winning time trials, difficult stage races, and dead flat criteriums. We want to continue to be that well rounded. Our goal is to be competitive in every race we start.”

The NRC championship women’s team sees the return of Jade Wilcoxson, who recorded a spectacular season in 2012 as a first-year rider, and should prove even more dangerous for the rest of the peloton after a successful year on the road and a fall of ‘cross racing under her belt. Together with 2011 NRC champion Janel Holcomb, Wilcoxson will make the team a force to be reckoned with in any stage race. Also returning to Performance Director Rachel Heal’s team are Canadian star duo Joelle Numainville and Denise Ramsden. Both riders rode for Team Canada in the 2012 London Olympics, and Ramsden claimed her country’s national championship in the road race discipline earlier this summer

Four new additions will join the women’s team in 2013, including two-time US track national champion Lauren Hall, to round out Heal’s eleven woman roster. Heal’s team will register alongside the men’s team as a UCI Continental outfit this season for the first time.

“We had a phenomenal year in 2012 and I am happy that we’ve retained the core strengths of our team for 2013,” said Heal. “We’ve also added some great riders – Lauren (Hall) is an experienced and versatile road racer, and we have some great up-and-coming talent joining the ranks. Upgrading our status will also allow us to compete in bigger events around the world, which is very exciting. We have a great balance of experience and youth, and we are all looking forward to building on the successes of 2012.”

Carney took a similar approach to shaping his 2013 roster – maintaining key strengths on a men’s team that amassed 100 podiums and 48 wins last season, and bolstering soft spots with strategic signings. Key to this strategy was the re-signing of Ken Hanson, whose nine UCI stage wins put him in the same category as some of the world’s top riders. Hanson, a pure sprinter, also added the King of the Mountains jersey at Canada’s grueling Tour de Beauce and the US Pro Criterium Championship to his considerable palmares. His leadout train is again bolstered by veteran team captain Alex Candelario, who enters his sixth year with the Optum p/b KBS team. Joining the formidable leadout for 2013 is pure sprinter Eric Young, who won the US Criterium Championship in 2011 before handing the stars and stripes off to Hanson.

“The addition of Eric Young means we have the last two national criterium champions, and this will make our team even more dangerous in field sprints,” said Carney. ” Hanson did a fantastic job this year, but we cannot expect him to attend every race and be on form for nine months straight. Eric is going to give us depth at that position. When it comes to field sprinting, it’s always better to have a dual-pronged attack. Those two guys will be hard to beat with Cando and (Mike) Friedman leading them out. When the sprints are more selective, Cando and Friedman will get their chances as well.”

Another important signing comes in the acquisition of Minnesota native and former ProTour rider Bjorn Selander, who joins the orange and black after a stint with Team Spidertech. Selander, an experienced stage racer and climber, will add considerable depth to the team’s already formidable stage race attack.

Also returning for ’13 – last year’s Nature Valley Grand Prix and time trial guru Tom Zirbel, ’12 Amgen Tour of California KOM winner Sebastian Salas, and Ian Moir, who claimed another national championship for Optum p/b KBS on the track, winning this summer’s U.S. championship scratch race.

2013 Men’s Roster
Jesse Anthony  –  USA
Alex Candelario  –  USA
Marsh Cooper  –  CAN
Mike Creed  –  USA
Jeremy Durrin  – USA
Mike Friedman  –  USA
Chad Haga  –  USA
Ken Hanson  –  USA
Mitchell Hoke  –  USA
Ian Moir  –  USA
Sebastian Salas  –  CAN
Bjorn Selander  –  USA
Mike Sherer  –  USA
Tom Soladay  –  USA
Eric Young  –  USA
Tom Zirbel  –  USA
Scott Zwizanski  –  USA

2013 Women’s Roster
Grace Alexander  –  USA
Annie Ewart  –  CAN
Amber Gaffney  –  USA
Lauren Hall  –  USA
Janel Holcomb  –  USA
Leah Kirchmann  –  CAN
Courteney Lowe  –  NZL
Joelle Numainville  –  CAN
Denise Ramsden  –  CAN
Brianna Walle  –  USA
Jade Wilcoxson  –  USA

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