Charly Wegelius joins UnitedHealthcare as the team steps up in 2011
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Charly Wegelius joins UnitedHealthcare as the team steps up in 2011

by Ben Atkins at 2:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
British rider brings stage race experience as American team goes ProContinental

charly wegelius

The UnitedHealthcare team has added more European experience with the acquisition of British climber Charly Wegelius, as it looks to step up to Professional Continental level in 2011. The 32-year-old Finnish-born Briton turned professional with Mapei-Quick Step back in 2000, and has ridden for DeNardi, Liquigas and Omega-Pharma-Lotto, where he was been since 2009.

“Much like Robert Förster will be for our sprinters, Charly brings a wealth of experience and confidence to our stage race squad,” said Team Director Mike Tamayo. “He’s raced most of his career at the ProTour level, and he’s done pretty much every race that we expect to do in Europe. Plus he’s started over a dozen grand tours, including all three in 2009.

“When we get to the high mountains, we expect him to be able to lead by example, whether it’s in European races, or big races in the U.S. like the Amgen Tour of California, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah or the new Quiznos Challenge in Colorado,” Tamayo added. “His experience with positioning for climbs and initiating or following moves will be particularly beneficial for our younger climbers like Max Jenkins and Chris Jones.”

As one of the most hardworking domestiques in the peloton, Wegelius’ only professional victories have come in team time trials; but, as Tamato notes, “on a Team like ours, we expect him to get plenty of opportunities to get results of his own next year.”

Wegelius himself is looking forward to working with his new team, particularly in lending his eleven years experience at the top of the sport to his new, less experienced colleagues.

“I’m looking forward to being part of a new project and hoping to help the younger riders in the team develop and improve,” he said. “I’m also hoping that the experience will be something new and exciting for me after many years racing a very traditional calendar of events. I hope to be a part of the team growing and expanding over the coming years, and that is big motivation for me.”

Wegelius is not the only British recruit to the expanding American team, as it will ride Boardman bikes in 2011.

“When I was still at college and just starting out as a cyclist, Chris Boardman was at the height of his career and was an example and inspiration to all British cyclists of my age,” said Wegelius. “This was a time when there were few British riders competitive on a world level, and he proved to us that it was possible. With that in mind, a Boardman bike is more than just a tool for me. It’s a reminder of where I started out, and the dreams I had as a teenager.”

UnitedHealthcare roster for 2011

Returning Riders:
Rory Sutherland, Karl Menzies, Hilton Clarke, Jonny Clarke, Adrian Hegyvary, Max Jenkins, Jake Keough, Andrew Pinfold, Morgan Schmitt, Brad White

New Riders:
Charles Wegelius (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Robert Förster (Milram), Christian Meier (Garmin-Transitions), Boy Van Poppel (Rabobank), Davide Frattini (Team Type 1), Chris Jones (Team Type 1), Scott Zwizanski (Kelley Benefit Strategies)

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