UnitedHealthcare announces eleven returning riders for next season
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

UnitedHealthcare announces eleven returning riders for next season

by Xylon van Eyck at 5:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Team looking to improve on 2011 results and development

United HealthcareThe UnitedHealthcare cycling team has so far welcomed back eleven riders to its roster for next year as they look to improve on a total of 21 wins this season. Among those returning is Jake Keough, who had a number of impressive victories domestically in America this season, plus the talented youngster Boy van Poppel.

General Manager and Directeur Sportif, Mike Tamayo believes he’s an important part of the future of the team. “When I first brought Jake on board in 2010 it was with the idea of making him stronger and faster, something that doesn’t happen in one year,” he said.

“He had a number of wins in 2011, but more importantly his strength and ability to handle harder races and a bigger stress load has taken a big step forward. Jake is one of the guys the sport will be talking about again next year and in 2013, as he starts to win on bigger stages. I am sure of that.”

The team will keep its strong sprinting force with the German Robert Förster, Karl Menzies and Hilton Clarke all making a welcomed return. Chris Jones will keep acting as a domestique for these leaders with Tamayo singling him out as a great workhorse.

“Whether it’s helping Robert move around before a big sprint or climbing with Rory [Sutherland] at the biggest races, he is one of our more versatile riders and knows what it takes to put our guys in a position to win. And Karl has been with us for several years. Menzies has such raw power and ferocious strength. Every sprinter would love to have that much strength taking him to the line.”

The young Boy van Poppel made the move to UnitedHealthcare last year from the Rabobank Continental team. Although he has not had any victories this year, the team has showed great confidence in his ability to grow towards a good future.

“Boy is still developing much like the team is developing,” Tamayo said. “We saw glimpses of how strong he really is this year and we will only see him get stronger and smarter as we keep working with him. I think Hendrik Redant [the Team’s new European Director] will actually be a great addition to his career, especially helping him read the Belgium style races.”

He is the son of Jean Paul Van Poppel, a nine-time Tour de France stage winner and the 1987 Maillot Vert.

Marc de Maar will be returning to the team after spending the current season with Quick Step while one rider missing from the list is Charly Wegelius who earlier announced his retirement as a rider. He spent his last season with the American team after riding for European teams for the majority of his career.

UnitedHealthcare are expected to make an announcement soon on new rider signings.

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Returning Riders for 2012:
 Rory Sutherland (Aus)
Robert Förster (Ger)
Jake Keough (USA)
Boy Van Poppel (Ned)
Karl Menzies (Aus)
Jonny Clarke (Aus)
Hilton Clarke (Aus)
Adrian Hegyvary (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
Brad White (USA)
Davide Frattini (Ita)


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