The Blue Train rolls into this weekend’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship with a full head of steam following a series of recent podium-topping performances throughout May and early June. On Thursday, June 2, Robert Förster (GER) and Hilton Clarke (AUS) took first and second place respectively, in Northern New Jersey’s BaseCamp International in Basking Ridge. Just two days earlier, veteran Karl Menzies (AUS) finished second in Central New Jersey’s historic Tour of Somerville. And less than 10 days prior to the Team’s one-two punch in Basking Ridge, the lightning fast Jake Keough (USA) continued his rapid ascent up the men’s standings in the USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) by winning the omnium at the Wilmington Grand Prix in Delaware.
After the Team’s dominant performance at the BaseCamp International, Team Director Eric Greene said, “Our goal is to consistently have eight guys on the same page, racing and giving everything they’ve got to win. Our plan for this race was to follow the attacks and look for a field sprint and work to put Robert in a position to win and the Team was able to execute that here in Basking Ridge.”
Greene continued, “Riding as a unit, the guys covered every move that was made in this race. We were able to have two or three, sometimes four riders in any kind of break and never allow the main break to get more than 15 – 20 seconds ahead of the field. When the Team massed together at the front with eight laps (approximately 15km) to go, they were able to take control of the race while continuing to ramp up speed all the way through the finish. Overall, the boys did an excellent job.”
Following his BaseCamp victory, Förster was asked about racing in Germany versus racing in the US. The first-year UnitedHealthcare Team member, who is also a former Pro Tour veteran and has raced on the world’s biggest stages, responded graciously saying, “It’s different, yes, but this race suited me well. Lots of corners, lots of fighting all the time and most likely a sprint finish which suits me. It’s only my second American criterium and I’m very pleased to finish it off for the Blue Train.”
Hilton Clarke, praised his Teammates, saying, “The selflessness these guys display week in and week out is just incredible. I’m proud to be part of a Team with such tremendous character and dedication. Without them, Robert and I would not be looking at first and second place tonight. It’s an honor to repay them by getting on the podium here.”
HEADING INTO PHILADELPHIA – WHAT TO EXPECT
The squad’s recent winning efforts combined with a top 10 Team performance in the Amgen Tour of California, provide it with some solid momentum as the boys prepare to take on what promises to be a world-class field in Sunday’s (June 5) TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship.
Scheduled to race for the Team in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend are siblings Hilton Clarke (AUS) and Jonny Clarke (AUS), Robert Förster (GER), Jake Keough (USA), Karl Menzies (AUS), Andrew Pinfold (CAN), Boy Van Poppel (NED), and Davide Frattini (ITA).
Philadelphia native and hometown hero, Scott Zwizanski (USA) who suffered two broken bones in his left hand during a late April crash in Belgium) is not able to race, Zwizanski’s hand was evaluated over the weekend by Team doctors;.
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Roster for the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship
- Hilton Clarke (AUS)
- Jonny Clarke (AUS)
- Robert Förster (GER)
- Boy Van Poppel (NED)
- Karl Menzies (AUS)
- Jake Keough (USA)
- Davide Frattini (ITA)
- Andrew Pinfold (CAN)