May 11, 2014, Sacramento, CA – No sooner had the Amgen Tour of California men’s field started the first stage of their eight-day journey from Sacramento to Thousand Oaks, than the UnitedHealthcare women’s Blue Train took to the start line to compete in the first of two women’s events at this year’s race. In the shadows of the iconic California state Capitol building, US national criterium champion, Alison Powers, collegiate champion, Coryn Rivera, New Zealand national champion, Rushlee Buchanan, and defending Giro Rosa champion Mara Abbott lined up to do 60 minutes of battle with a selection of the world’s best racers on a 1.25 mile, four-corner circuit.
From the outset, the UnitedHealthcare team set the tone for the race, with Alison Powers bringing back any attack that dared try to escape the peloton. Abbott and Buchanan shared the work of making pace on the front, keeping Rivera sheltered from the wind as much as possible.
With two laps to go, the team had accomplished their first goal for the day: to keep the field intact and bring the finish to a sprint. Abbott took her turn on the front, stretching the field and ensuring that no additional attacks had a chance. Her turn in the wind completed, Abbott handed the lead to Powers, who put her head down and kept the pedals churning to lead out the sprint for teammate Coryn Rivera. With just under 200 meters to go, Rivera came around Powers on the left, accelerating to the line for a second place finish, opening the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team account for the 2014 Amgen Tour of California.
Racing action continues on Monday morning, with both the men’s and women’s time trial events in Folsom, California.