UnitedHealthcare announces new signings for 2014
Three new riders have joined the UnitedHealthcare men’s team for 2014, the squad announced.
American Ken Hanson, the Netherlands’ Martijn Maaskant, and Colombian Isaac Bolivar are now members of the UCI Pro Continental team. They will ride with a group of six key veterans who will return for next year — Kiel Reijnen, Lucas Euser, Hilton Clarke, Robert Förster, Carlos Alzate, and Marc de Maar — and several other riders on the team known as the “Blue Train.”
“Teamwork is the spirit of the Blue Train and every member of our organization buys into and delivers on that promise,” general manager and team director Mike Tamayo said in a press release. “And with Team UnitedHealthcare, we don’t just talk the talk — we walk it. We work hard to find the right people who are selfless in their effort to produce wins for the team and our sponsors — both on and off the bike.”
A sprinter, Hanson comes from Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies and registered two top-10 finishes at the Amgen Tour of California this year, including a runner-up finish in stage 4. He was the 2012 US Pro Criterium champion, and has several podium finishes at races both in the U.S. and abroad.
“Ken has had some good results this year and caught my eye as well as that of [team director] Hendrik Redant, when he landed on the podium at the Amgen Tour of California,” Tamayo said. “He is an easy plug and play into our Blue Train.”
A classics rider, Maaskant made a name for himself by finishing fourth at the 2008 edition of Paris-Roubaix. The next year, the former Garmin-Sharp rider placed fourth at the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). He’s also completed four grand tours.
“We have always done quite a few spring races in Belgium and with the addition of Martijn to the team, we now we have a leader with experience and results in those races,” Tamayo said. “He is a winner and has proven it in the past.”
Bolivar, 22, joins a number of Colombian riders in the professional peloton, most notably Nairo Quintana of Movistar. Bolivar won the Colombian Under-23 time trial championship this year and had several other podium finishes.
“Isaac is a young rider, but we expect good things from him next season,” Tamayo said. “We are seeing a strong showing of Colombian athletes emerging on the global cycling stage and it our hope that we will see some great rides from this young talent, especially in the high mountains.”