Mike Tamayo video interview: UnitedHealthcare pushing hard for Giro d’Italia ride
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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mike Tamayo video interview: UnitedHealthcare pushing hard for Giro d’Italia ride

by Shane Stokes at 2:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia, Video
 
Team hoping world track champion Irvine’s presence will help secure place at Irish Grande Partenza

UnitedHealthcarePushing for what would be its first-ever wildcard invitation to one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, the UnitedHealthcare team is hoping that the re-signing of world scratch race champion Martyn Irvine may help to secure a slot in next year’s Giro d’Italia.

Several Irish riders could be in next year’s race, including Saxo Tinkoff pro Nicolas Roche, Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin and future Sky rider Philip Deignan.

However Irvine, who in February became the first Irish rider to win a world track championship gold medal in over 100 years, is the only one of those riders from the region around Belfast. He hails from Newtownards, which is less than twenty kilometres from where the Giro will start on May 9th.

His link to the Giro route also materialises on stage three, a road race stage crossing the border into the Irish Republic, as he now lives close to Balbriggan and Lusk in north county Dublin.

“It looks good, it is as close as home as I will ever get. It passes both doorsteps…from where I was young until where I live now. So it is going to be unbelievable,” Irvine told VeloNation in this video interview.

UnitedHealthcare general manager says the team will put together a strong squad of riders to compete if it secures a wildcard, but also recognises that Irvine’s presence gives the team extra leverage.

“There has been some interest,” he told VeloNation in the video interview below. “Obviously we are an American team and Italy wants a big presence in the US. It is important for RCS. But also we have an Irish world champion, the first one in over 100 years. So that helps a bit with the Giro starting in Ireland.

“The first three days are there. The fact that they are flat as well – Martyn is a track rider and a sprinter and we will focus solely on that.

“We also have got some new talent with Martijn Maaskant, who would be an excellent addition for us at the Giro. And we have riders have Giro experience like Robert Förster, who has won stages at the Giro before. So we have a good team to perform.”

The team had a solid season in 2013, showing that it is able to go shoulder to shoulder with WorldTour squads in races such as the Tour of California and USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Wins include stage victories by Jake Keough and Robert Förster in the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Keogh’s stage ten triumph in the Volta a Portugal, Kiel Reijnen’s success in the Philadelophia Cycling Classic plus the Bucks County Classic, and Philip Deignan’s overall honours in the Tour of the Gila.

In addition to that, the team had top ten overall finishes in California and the US Pro Challenge in Colorado.

“In 2013 we had a world champion, we got a lot of results that we are very proud of. There is more to come…not only next year, but 2015 is going to be a big year for us,” Tamayo said.

If the team does indeed secure an invitation to the Giro d’Italia, that too will help in its development. Momentum is building, ambitions are increasing and a Grand Tour ride would continue that progression.

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