Posted by Editor on 10/2/14
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies announces its first major signings for next year's road racing season today, coming in the form of three of Canada's top young talents. Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale Pro Cycling), Pierrick Naud (Garneau - Québecor), and Mike Woods (5-Hour Energy) will all don orange and black for the first time in 2015.
Boivin, a WorldTour level one-day and sprint specialist, adds further depth and experience to a leadout unit that had its most success ever in 2014.
"We are very excited to bring Guillaume to our team - he's a big talent that we tried to recruit when he was around 20 years old," said Performance Director Jonas Carney. "Now he's 25 and has several years of experience racing WorldTour events. That experience will be valuable during the big stage races here in North America - California, Utah, Colorado, and Alberta. We've always tried to put a focus on sprinting and our leadout train, and Guillaume gives us a lot more depth in that area."
For Boivin, a native of Montreal, the signing is also a chance to reconnect with fast friends and former teammates Will Routley and Ryan Anderson. All three are known for their strong work ethic and versatility on the road.
"I'm really happy to be back racing with my fellow Canucks. I believe we all share a similar outlook on racing, in how hard we will push ourselves to win, whether for ourselves or for our teammates," said Boivin. "Being a similar type of rider to Ryan (Anderson), I think we will be able to compliment each other like we did in the past to achieve success."
Boivin brings along an impressive list of results, most notably his third place finish in the 2010 World Under-23 Road Race Championships, where he finished in a dead heat for the bronze with BMC Racing's Taylor Phinney. After signing for Canadian Pro Continental outfit Spidertech in 2010, he began developing a taste for grueling one-day races: 6th place at the 2010 Philadelphia International Championship; 2nd at the 2010 Sparkassen Giro Bochum; 2nd at Ronde van Drenthe (UCI 1.1), 3rd at Tro-Bro Léon (UCI 1.1), and a pair of 4ths at GP Pino Cerami and Handzame Classic in 2012. His aggressive style and powerful finishing kick landed him a job with Cannondale Pro Cycling in 2013, where he played an important leadout role for Slovakian superstar Peter Sagan.
"Philly is still today one of the best memories I have racing my bike, so I'm really looking forward to go back there," said Boivin. "I also think the UCI America Tour will be a big focus for me this year, as I haven't raced primarily on North American soil for several years. I am very excited to see how things develop in 2015."
Joining Boivin will be fellow countrymen Naud and Woods, bringing the grand total of Canucks on the Orange & Black to five. Naud, also a native of Quebec, is another strong sprinter with a stage win at this year's Redlands Bicycle Classic and 2nd overall at the GP Cycliste Saguenay.
"Pierrick is a cagey young rider that we have been watching for a couple of years now," said Carney. "His performance at Saguenay was eye opening this year, and we hope he can contest select field sprints and be a big engine in the leadout train."
Woods, a pure climber from Ottawa, finished second in the punishing Mt. Megantic stage at this year's Tour de Beauce, and was selected by Canada to compete in Quebec's WorldTour series and the UCI World Championships, alongside a new teammate in Ryan Anderson. He played a pivotal role in both Quebec races, finding himself in the final breakaway in Quebec City and also making the elite selection in Montreal.
"Mike is another guy that we have been watching closely. He comes from a running background and has only been racing for a fews years, but in that short period of time he has become one of the most dangerous climbers in North America," said Carney.
The three hires continue the men's team's tradition of fielding a 100% North American roster, which it has accomplished for the previous seven seasons.
"We are an American team, and it's important to us that we support American cycling as much as possible," said Carney. "There is so much talent here that is often overlooked, and we have also had incredible success choosing riders only from the US and Canada. These three new recruits should add to that mix perfectly."
The rest of the 2015 Optum p/b KBS men's and women's rosters will be announced in the coming weeks.
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