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Kyle Murphy returns to happy hunting ground – Rally Cycling


After a star-spangled stint back home, the team returns to Europe to contest a trio of Spanish one-day races before making a return to stage racing in Portugal and Denmark.

First stop on the program is the Ordizia Klasika in the Spanish Basque Country on July 25. It’s a happy hunting ground for Kyle Murphy who was runner-up at last year’s rescheduled and rain-soaked edition, powering ahead of a Grand Tour stage winner and other top European pros in the sprint for second.

“Last year, a lot of things were in my favor,” Murphy said. “We’d just come from the Volta a Portugal which gave me a massive bump in form. The course is on a circuit which means we can effectively preview it during the first few laps – which is hugely beneficial for us Americans racing far from home – and when it’s go time, we’re ready.”

Murphy, who feels like Spain is a second home to him, is psyched that Europe is starting to reopen.

“Now that I’m vaccinated, I’m looking forward to returning to Europe as it starts feeling safer and opening up more. Racing last year without crowds because of COVID was one thing, but now it should be even more exciting. I love racing in Spain.”

Ahead of the European campaign, Murphy reflected on a successful National Road Championships, where the team helped Joey Rosskopf take the title.

“We really wanted to come away with the jersey, but we had to race as if we didn’t care whether we won or lost in order to put pressure on the other teams. Nationals is a strange race, always hard to predict, but we were all on the ball and I think it showed. Joey is such a deserving winner.”

Not only did Rosskopf secure the iconic national champ’s jersey, but Murphy joined him on the podium in third place. It was a huge moment for the family man.

“Nationals was the first time that my young family has seen me race. It was incredibly motivating. They were on the climb and every lap it gave me something extra. After I knew Joey had the win cinched I still raced for the podium because I wanted to take my son up there so badly.”

Rosskopf will join Murphy at Ordizia to start the European campaign. After the Spanish one-days, the program splits. With half the team off to Portugal, the others will travel north for the five-stage Tour of Denmark, which Rally Cycling last raced in 2018 with great results.

Ordizia Klasika roster
Stephen Bassett
Robert Britton
Ben King
Gavin Mannion
Kyle Murphy
Joey Rosskopf
Keegan Swirbul

Upcoming European calendar
Ordiziako Klasika (July 25)
Vuelta a Castilla y León (July 29)
Circuito de Getxo (August 1)
Volta a Portugal (August 4-15)
Tour of Denmark (August 10-14)

— Kit Nicholson to rallycycling.com

Ray scores hat trick at Intelligentsia Cup – Rally Cycling


Olivia Ray continued her winning ways at Intelligentsia Cup on Thursday night, claiming the sprint victory in South Chicago. The result netted Ray a rare hat trick of victories thanks to her previous success at the Tour of Lake Ellyn and the Winfield Criterium earlier in the week.

Honestly, I finally feel calm,” said Ray following the podium ceremony. “Returning to competitive races following my injury and being so hyped up on caffeine each race, it’s hard to be relaxed. But I’ve found a nice balance of chill and combativeness in the races that’s really setting me up nicely for the finales.”

The course was compared to a ‘Kermesse’ or a classic circuit, somewhere between a criterium and a road race.

“South Chicago was most like a road race out of all the events so I was pumped to race,” added Ray. “A less intense environment with a longer lap. It was easier to settle and become comfortable in the group.”

Ray has trusted teammate Madeline Bemis at her side and the duo have been working together increasingly well.

Maddie is ripping the legs off of the field,” said Ray. “We’re both getting fit, speedy, and more comfortable riding with each other. She made sure I had shelter going into 500 meters to go, we ramped it up, and unleashed our sprints. It was perfectly executed.”

The Rally Cycling duo face the Elgin criterium on Friday night before driving down to Minneapolis, MN to support the 10th Annual UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Century Ride.

“Seeing people that are so connected with the team is going to be wonderful,” said Ray. “The pandemic made things tricky with traveling to training camps and racing so I’m very excited to meet the rest of the team. It’ll be a really lovely weekend with a great dinner and enjoyable century ride supporting a great cause!”

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com

An Olympics like no other – Rally Cycling

The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games are just around the corner now, and two of Rally Cycling’s athletes are on their way to Japan (via Los Angeles) to compete on the velodrome.

Emma White and Lily Williams were hard at work at the USA Cycling training facility in Colorado all through the pandemic, and are now just days away from achieving their shared dream of being Olympians.

I’m absolutely thrilled that they’re going ahead,” says White. “That part doesn’t even feel real. We’d already accepted the fact that we could be Olympians, and then that kind of got destroyed.”

Emma joined the team in 2016 with extensive experience on the cyclo-cross circuit but had not set foot on a velodrome as an elite athlete.

As the Games have come closer and closer, the training load has naturally increased for the two former world champions.

“We’ve been working so hard in the last couple of months, and we’ve put our bodies through more stress than they’ve ever been under,” added White. 

Williams, too, is feeling the effects.

“It’s crazy how quickly it’s all of a sudden become real. We’re in the midst of our last huge training block, so we’re pretty worked.”

They are training in Los Angeles before flying on to Tokyo, to spend some time on the USA’s only 250-meter velodrome. After the camp, it’s a hop over the Pacific to Japan. 

All through their extended journey to this delayed Games, it has been inspiring to see the positive vibes emanating from the Olympic track squad via their social media accounts. 

“I think things have been really positive and I think we’re going into it with about as healthy of a mindset as you can, given the fatigue and the stress of something like this,” says Williams.

Lily’s athletic career started with running before transitioning to the road in 2017.

“We grew very close,” White adds. “I’ve lived with Megan [Jastrab, formerly of Rally Cycling] the whole time, and Lily’s just down the road so we’ve really depended on each other for the balance, to take our minds off things when they’re hard.”

This will not be an ordinary Games, of course. Athletes will be restricted in what they can do in Japan, and Williams and White (along with their teammates) will only spend around a week in-country. They’ll fly in after the opening ceremony and leave before the closing one.

It’s really bizarre to think that we’ve worked so hard and then yeah, we just go do our event, and then it’s over.

While White agrees it would have been nice to experience a ‘normal’ Olympics, she is focusing on the positive. 

I don’t think anything will take away from the fact that we’re Olympians for the rest of our lives.”

The qualifying round of the women’s Team Pursuit will take place on Monday, August 2 followed by the first round and medal events on Tuesday, August 3. Since Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of the team’s base in Minneapolis, MN, US viewers can catch all the action bright and early on PeacockTV.

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com

Olivia Ray wins Tour of Lake Ellyn – Rally Cycling


Kiwi criterium champion Olivia Ray claimed her first victory of the summer this Saturday, winning the Tour of Lake Ellyn as part of Chicago’s Intelligentsia Cup. Ray is currently making her comeback from a devastating crash in which she broke her ankle, requiring surgery, during Spain’s Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.

“This win felt weird if I’m honest,” said Ray. “I was having some negative thoughts about whether racing was for me during my recovery, if I’d lost the will to be aggressive, especially with a crash during the first night of Intelli. But, my ankle break is no excuse, just a setback, and it makes for an even better comeback!

Ray and teammate Madeline Bemis arrived in Chicago following the Boise Twilight Criterium where they had the opportunity to gel as a team.

“Madeline has been my saving grace,” added Ray. “Having her with me, the leading, the encouragement, and the support are unmatched. From the outside, you see her closing gaps for me but she contributes so much more.”

The Rally Cycling duo will take part in the first seven races of Intelligentsia Cup before traveling down to the team’s hometown of Minneapolis, MN for the 10th Annual UHCCF Century Ride.

“We’re here to take it day by day and have fun,” said Ray. “If we’re not having fun, what’s the point… but, also, if you’re not first, you’re last.”

For the latest updates from Intelligentsia Cup, check out their Instagram Stories.

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com

Why we custom paint bikes for charity – Rally Cycling

For the last 10 years, we’ve designed and hand-painted bikes to benefit kids in need. Our latest film dives into the inspiration for one of these builds, and how the young grant recipients of the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation inspire these amazing pieces of art.

Get to know Kaelyn, Aidan, Marissa, and Chloe, the kids behind the art for this bicycle.

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com

A sprint into Mortegliano with minds on Monte Matajur 🇮🇹 – Rally Cycling

We had a simple mission today; stay safe, save energy for tomorrow. The day began fast[4], with the leading GC teams unwilling to let anything go – and it took around half the race before a break finally went away. We battled hard to get into the move but ultimately missed out. The break was reeled in on the final finishing circuit by the main sprint teams. With the help of Poido, Clara was able to stay safe deep into the final, crossing the line in the peloton with the other general classification riders. Now, we refocus and get ready for tomorrow – the queen stage of the race. Mission accomplished.[6]

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com

Things we’ve learned at Giro Donne 🇮🇹 – Rally Cycling

TOP LESSONS

1 I’ve learned a lot about myself and how capable my body is to suffer. The most important thing I’ve learned is how important it is for recovery immediately. Shower, food, water, massage. – KATIE

2 Italian wine, cheese, and baked goods are delizio but the WiFi, not so bené – HOLLY.

3 I’ve learned that a good international SIM card is essential. – KRISTA

4 It’s important to go day by day and not be too upset if you had a bad day. You shouldn’t ignore the causes, but you should look ahead for the next days and opportunities, and stay positive and motivated! – CLARA

— Sam Wiebe to rallycycling.com

Mixed fortunes in the Donne mountain time trial 🇮🇹 – Rally Cycling

Today’s course took us high into the Formazza valley, settled by German-speakers in the 13th Century – and where Walser German[2] is still spoken by many . The race of truth gives you nowhere to hide, but our women dug deep and powered through a very difficult course. Our early best time was set by Poido who crossed in 30’35”, before Krista came through the line in a hot 28’58”[3]. Clara started last of our six riders, bringing it home in 29’07”. When the results were posted, we discovered Holly was outside the time limit by 16 seconds, and would not be allowed to start the following stage – a reminder of how cruel our sport can be.

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com

Analyzing the 2021 Giro d’Italia Donne – Rally Cycling

On Friday, July 2, Rally Cycling will begin the Giro d’Italia Donne in Fossano, Italy. 10 hard-fought days later, they’ll arrive in Cormons having completed an epic race across mountainous northern Italy via the shores of Lakes Garda and Como, with a smattering of fast and furious flat stages for the sprinters.

The ‘Giro Rosa’, as it is known, is the longest, toughest, and most exalted women’s stage race in the world, with a heritage dating back 30 years. It is women’s cycling’s only Grand Tour.

Team director Andrew Bajadali emphasized the importance of this prestigious race. 

“The significance of the race is huge for our program. This is world cycling on the big stage, and to be part of it with a strong capable team is great. The team is over the moon to be here!”

The Rally Cycling roster is not there to simply make up numbers in the peloton, Bajadali said. 

Our expectations for the Giro Donne are to be competitive in several areas, particularly stages with hard finishes for our climbers, Krista and Clara, and to hopefully be in there for a GC result at the end.”   

Bajadali also explained that the riders will seek out any opportunity to impress themselves upon the race. 

“It’s a long race and we will of course take it day by day, but we are ambitious and looking for every opportunity that comes our way.”

The stage-by-stage

Stage 1: July 2, Fossano – Cuneo (26.7km)
Divining the first maglia rosa of the race with a rarely-seen team time trial. 

Stage 2: July 3, Boves – Prato Nevoso (100km)
Holy mackerel, that’s a big mountain! Jagged up-and-down, followed by a stunning 10.8km ascent of Colle del Prel.

Stage 3: July 4, Casale Monferrato – Ovada (135km)
Wow, that’s a lot of GPMs. Breakaway bonanza or bunch kick in Ovada?

Stage 4: July 5, Fondovalle – Cascate de Toce (11.2km)
A hard climber’s TT in the northern Italian Alps. 11km, but all uphill.

Stage 5: July 6, Milano – Carugate (120km)
A pan-flat, guaranteed sprint on a 26km finishing circuit at Carugate.

Stage 6: July 7, Colico – Colico (155km)
A lumpy but utterly lovely lap around the shores of Lake Como.

Stage 7: July 8, Soprazocco Di Gavardo – Puegnago Del Garda (106km)
A hilly circuit race that sees the peloton come within a stone’s throw of Lake Garda five times. 

Stage 8: July 9, San Vendemiano – Mortegliano (129.4km)
The race reaches the north-eastern corner of the county and it’s another one for the sprinters.

Stage 9: July 10, Feletto-Umberto – Monte Matajur (122.6km)
Two major mountain tests, including a summit finish at Monte Matajur – it is here that the Giro Donne will ultimately be decided.

Stage 10: July 11, Capriva del Friuli – Cormons (113km)
One last dust-up with few opportunities for the GC to take further time. Could be one more for the break. 

Roster: Holly Breck, Katie Clouse, Krista Doebel-Hickok, Heidi Franz, Clara Koppenburg, Sara Poidevin.

Follow the race: For the very latest updates from the race, follow the official hashtag #girodonne on Twitter and Instagram.

You can also watch the race live in the USA and Canada on GCN+, Europeans can also see the race on Eurosport Player (Romania and Netherlands excluded).

— Tom Owen to rallycycling.com

Vive La Course – Rally Cycling

The women of Rally Cycling are lining up for La Course by Le Tour de France this Saturday, June 26. The one-day WorldTour event is in its eighth year and sends the peloton on a 107km journey through the Brittany region of northwest France.

This is the last year it will be held in its current format, however, as the organizers have promised an eight-day stage race will begin in 2022. 

The 2021 edition will follow a similar route to the men’s Tour de France départ, starting from Brest and heading through hilly terrain before a tough 14km loop around Landerneau. The loop features the Côte de la Fosse aux Loups climb which will provide some fireworks as the slope reaches a maximum of 14% over three km – a perfect springboard for an attack to the finish.

Charles Aaron, the team’s managing director shared his appreciation for Rally Cycling’s inclusion in the race: 

We’re incredibly pleased the team is returning to La Course, the world’s biggest one-day race. Our women have proven their strength in the races all year and we’re looking forward to continuing to spread the message of healthier living on the world stage.”

The race will be shown live starting at 1 am CST on Peacock Premium in the US and FloBikes in Canada. Race replay will be available on-demand following the event. In Europe, the race will be shown on Eurosport.

La Course roster
Holly Breck
Katie Clouse
Krista Doebel-Hickok
Heidi Franz
Clara Koppenburg
Sara Poidevin

— Rebecca Bland to rallycycling.com