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“The team worked well this week and truly showed the character of the Blue Train at the front of the race. Janez finished 14th in general classification and today Ken sprinted with the full support of the team."









27.01.2015 @ 19:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team set the tone for another successful season of racing with a promising first campaign of the year at the 2015 Tour de San Luis. Coming off of a focused and productive sponsor summit and team training camp in North Carolina in December, followed by further intense training around the world, the men of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train united in Argentina to race seven difficult and varied stages against top-level international competitors.


Stage 1 began in San Luis and took the riders 186.8 kilometers to Villa Mercedes for the finish. With a relatively flat profile and extremely strong winds, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team made no attempt at a breakaway and instead planned to support sprinter Ken Hanson. When Blue Train sprinters Kiel Reijnen and Ken Hanson were caught in a crash in the final 10 kilometers, the team reset their plan, with Carlos Alzate and new addition to the team, Marco Canola, contesting the sprint. Canola was successful in securing 8th place on the day, Reijnen and Hanson were uninjured, and the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team was ready to fight again on stage 2, covering 185.3 kilometers and finishing with a 5-kilometer ascent to Mirador de Potrero. After bad luck plagued Janez Brajkovic in the final 30 kilometers, his teammates came quickly to his aid, working to regain his position before the final climb. Janez Brajkovic was able to climb to 14th place on the day with his teammate Marco Canola just two positions behind him. Sporting Director Roberto Damiani commented, “I am very impressed by the teamwork of this squad– they work hard with happiness and professionalism. We’re on a good path for important results this year.”

On the 176.3-kilometer third stage from Concaran to Juana Koslay, where the women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team won a Grand Prix the week prior, Kiel Reijnen raced his way into the breakaway of the day, which would build an advantage of four minutes before being caught by the peloton in the final 20 kilometers. The riders fought on through harsh winds and crashes, with team captain Jonny Clarke staying alongside Janez Brajkovic to protect his overall placing while the rest of the team moved up to contest the sprint. In the chaotic final sprint, Marco Canola racked up another top-ten result, taking 7th place.


The team continued to grow stronger on the 4th stage, a 142.5-kilometer race from Villa Dolores to Alto El Amagao. They worked hard to protect and position Brajkovic for the final climb, on which he was able to ride to 12th place. Eager to test their time trial abilities for the first time in 2015, Marco Canola and Janez Brajkovic were focused for the 17.5-kilometer time trail through San Luis (stage 5), yielding times within one minute of the stage winner and earning 19th and 20th position on the day, respectively. The performance moved Brajkovic into 10th overall after stage 5. Damiani commented, “The condition of Marco and Jani is strong for the first race and first time trial of the year.”



The team continued to ride well together through the difficult 6th stage, a 117.5-kilometer course finishing with a 16-kilometer climb to the mountaintop finish at Filo Sierras Comechingones. Marco Canola was successful in making the day’s breakaway and was the last rider to be caught with just 8 kilometers remaining.


The seventh and final stage was a mostly flat, 122.4-kilometer course around the host city of San Luis. Given the profile, the team planned to position Ken Hanson for the final sprint. When a breakaway formed 20 kilometers into the race, teammates Janez Brajkovic and Jonny Clarke set the pace at the front of the field with the help of other teams to bring the race back together. After a regrouping and a counterattack from Canola and three other riders, the field was all together for a sprint finale. The team did an excellent job positioning Hanson through the last two kilometers, enabling Hanson to sprint for 6th place on the final stage, just missing the podium.



In addition to the several top-ten results, Janez Brajkovic finished the race 14th in general classification, making the Tour de San Luis an outstanding first campaign for the 2015 UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. New riders Janez Brajkovic and Marco Canola integrated seamlessly into the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train and contributed massively to the team’s success. Sporting director Roberto Damiani concluded, “The team worked well this week and truly showed the character of the Blue Train at the front of the race. Janez finished 14th in general classification and today Ken sprinted with the full support of the team. January is the start of the season and I am very happy with the condition of the team.”



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