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Americans in the 2013 Tour de Taiwan

March 18, 2013
Mike Tamayo, General Manager and Sports Director at the UnitedHealthcare team, and Danny Summerhill in Aspen at the 2012 USA Pro Challenge

Mike Tamayo, General Manager and Sports Director at the UnitedHealthcare team, and Danny Summerhill in Aspen at the 2012 USA Pro Challenge

Six Americans are scheduled to start the Tour de Taiwan, a seven day stage race that begins on March 18th on the island of Taiwan. While three UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team member names will be familiar, the remaining three Americans likely represent new faces for many road cycling fans.

Tour de Taiwan overview

The Tour de Taiwan is part of the UCI Asia Tour calendar and rated 2.1. The stage profiles look jagged, but the elevation gains are small and the total 890 race kilometers take the riders at or just above sea level. Cycling IQ provides a helpful race overview including maps and profiles all on one page.

Huon Salmon-Genesys rider Nathan Earle described the parcours in an interview with Cyclingnews.

“There’s nothing super decisive really but it’s just going to be fast racing. I sort of know what I’m in for, there’s no huge hills and we will probably only have one or two opportunities where we can put pressure on climbs. The first day is probably going to be the most important. It’s usually the hardest because there’s no pecking order.”

Strong all-around riders have won in the last six years of the race which started in 1978.

2007 USA United States Milne, Shawn Health Net-Maxxis
2008 USA United States Murphy, John Health Net-Maxxis
2009 POL Poland Jezowski, Krzysztof Merida Europe Team
2010 IRL  Republic of Ireland McCann, David Giant Asia Racing Team
2011 AUT Austria Eibegger, Markus Tabriz Petrochemical Team
2012 AUS Australia Pollock, Rhys Drapac Cycling

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The six Americans in Taiwan

Luke Keough, Danny Summerhill, and Brad White will take on Taiwan as part of a five-man UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Keough is 21 years-old and a strong sprinter. He recently won the USA Criterium calendar opener, the Old Pueblo Gran Prix. Summerhill is a strong all-arounder with a fast sprint. White is the veteran American at age 31 and also an all-arounder.

Young riders Robert Bush and Joshua Berry both joined the French continental Team La Pomme Marseille this season and previously rode for the Chipotle-First Solar Development team. In 2012 Bush made the U23 U.S. road world championships team, won U23 road nationals, and finished fourth in the U23 Paris-Roubaix. He’s 23 years-old. From Kentucky, he attended the cycling powerhouse Marian University.

Berry is a 22 year-old from Idaho who has fought back from injuries to continue to build a pro-cycling career. In 2010 he suffered a training injury from a head-on collision with a truck. In 2012 an injury at the Baby Giro cut a season short that included a third place at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and ninth place in Stage 4 of the Circuit des Ardennes. Also an accomplished cyclo-cross racer, Berry attended the 2009 Euro Cross Camp in Belgium.

The sixth American in Taiwan, Robert Gitelis, is 45 years-old. He is a member of an eight-man first-year continental team; CCN Cycling Team is based in Brunei. The majority of teams competing in Taiwan come from Asia.

Scenic and warm

As this story gets published Stage 1 has already concluded; Taiwan is fourteen hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time in the U.S. and the stages start early. It’s warm there at about 29 degrees Celsius, sunny, and humid. It appears the riders should be spared rainy stages this week.

According to a story in the Want ChinaTimes, the riders will race through five “national tourism areas,” including Siraya National Scenic Area, Southwest Coast National Scenic Area and North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area.

2013 Tour de Taiwan startlist, via Cycling IQ.

For race updates, follow Champion System Pro Cycling Team and MTN Qhubeka on Twitter.

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