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UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis will open its 2011 European campaign with a series of short stage races and a one-day semi-classic in Portugal, Spain and Italy. Team manager Mike Tamayo confirmed to VeloNews that the team would make its debut on the continent at the Volta ao Algarve February 16.
“Something that we’re making sure we’re really careful with is … a lot of teams that are heading over the pond at the Pro Continental level get excited about doing Roubaix or Tirreno-Adriatico or whatever it might be,” said Tamayo. “We’re taking it one step at a time.”
UnitedHealthcare-Maxxis early European starts
Volta ao Algarve 2/16-20
Clasica de Almeria 2/27
Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia 3/4-6
Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 3/24-26
The various incarnations of the UHC team — Healthnet-Maxxis, OUCH-Maxxis and its current composition — have been on the front of the U.S. peloton for nearly a decade. The program stepped up to Pro Continental status for the second time this year. Tamayo told VeloNews in late 2010 that the European efforts for the program this year would be geared toward preparation for runs at the general classification at the Amgen Tour of California and Quiznos Pro Challenge.
“We want to be successful in the races we can compete in and we’re focusing on a lot of .1 and .HC events,” he said Wednesday. “We’d love to be included in some of these races, but at the same time, barely being able to survive or finish these races isn’t going to do the team or anybody any good.”
After the team’s debut in Portugal, it will contest the Clasica de Almeria, Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia and the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. Tamayo said that additional European starts are in the works.