Optum Pro Cycling Announces 2015 Lineup
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies officially announced their men’s team for the 2015 season and there are five Canadians on the roster. Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies is an American based Continental team that races primarily in North America. The team looks set to have a strong season in 2015 with the ability to win stages and overalls.
“On paper this should be our strongest and most well balanced team yet. We will have more depth on the climbing side thanks to some of our new signings, and we’ll maintain a great core of time trialists, sprinters, and leadout guys,” said Performance Director Jonas Carney. “That being said, there are very high expectations for this group based on our results in 2014. Our goal is to exceed those expectations.”
Three Canadians are amongst the five new signings for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies which is headlined by Phil Gaimon (he wrote a book). Gaimon, an American, returns to the Continental level after a season with Garmin-Sharp where he failed to earn a contract for 2015 due to the merger with Cannondale.
Gaimon is joined by fellow former World Tour rider Guillaume Boivin. The Canadian is also a casualty of the marriage between Cannondale Pro Cycling and Garmin-Sharp. With two teams merging there was only room for so many riders and with one less World Tour team there was only so many contracts available. Despite the lose of Boivin, Canada is still well represented at the World Tour level.
Boivin is joined by fellow Canadians Pierrick Naud and Michael Woods. Woods finished 4th at the 2014 Canadian National Championship in the road race and was a respectable 26th at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal. At 23, Naud looks like a good option for the future for Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.
Boivin, Naud and Woods join Will Routley and Ryan Anderson on the American Squad. 2015 will mark Anderson’s third season with the team coming off a season were he finished an impressive 5th overall in the Tour of Alberta. Routley returns for his second season with the team after winning the Mountains Classification at the Amgen Tour of California, picking up a stage win on the way.
The remained of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies 14 man squad is filled out by American making it the eight consecutive year that the team has been made up completely of North American riders. By building a squad of American and Canadian talent, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies has shown a commitment to developing North American’s impressive talent pool. With that focus in mind, the squad will be making the US and Canadian national championships a main target this season.
Although Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies races at the Continental level, the team presents an excellent opportunity for Canadian riders to gain experience and compete in North America’s biggest races against World Tour teams. Hopefully 2015 will be a chance for these five Canadians to show what they’ve got and earn a shot at the top level.