Dominique Rollin Wins KOM Competition; Ivan Dominguez Places 2nd in Stage 6
Team Racks up 66 victories and 146 podiums in 2008
Team Wins 162 Races and 355 Podiums in its Three-Year Existence
Bend, OR - In what was the teams final official team race under the Toyota-United moniker, the boys in red, white and blue didn't disappoint as they fought hard all week to keep their stage win streak alive, currently holding the record at 9 stages in America's largest grand tours; Amgen Tour of California, Tour de Georgia Presented by AT & T and the Tour of Missouri, the most stage wins of any team world wide. Unfortunately, the team came up a little short with Ivan Dominguez placing 2nd in Saturday's stage 6, losing to Mark Cavendish (Team Columbia), arguably the world's fastest man with four stage wins at this years Tour De France and three stage wins at this year's Tour of Missouri. "I tried so hard to beat Mark on Saturday, my boys set me up perfectly, but when we arrived at the finish Mark hesitated with 200 meters to go due to the headwind sprint and I waited on him when I should have jumped him instead and he beat me to the line" said Dominguez.
Toyota-United's strongman Dominique Rollin from Canada won the King of the Mountain competition wire to wire which was a particularly impressive feat considering he weighs 185 lbs and the KOM is typically won by a much lighter, slightly built rider who has a high power to weight ratio to excel up the hills. "Dominique told me on Sunday night before the start of the race the team was going to make me proud this week by giving it their all since it was the team's last race together after three years" said Team Owner Sean Tucker. "I can honestly say after watching the race live each day on the internet that they fought so hard this week for the KOM and a stage win, they had such consistency in results that the team left little doubt as to why they are considered by most to be the best domestic team in North America and certainly made me very proud" continued Tucker.
In the end, Toyota-United placed 1st in the KOM competition (Rollin), 2nd place in Stage 6 (Dominguez), 4th place in Stage 7 (Dominguez), 5th place in Stage 5 (Rollin), 6th place Overall (Ben Day), 9th place overall (Rollin), 9th place Stage 2 (Rollin), 10th place Stage 3 (Day) and 10th place Stage 4 (Day) and 5th place in the Team GC the best of all domestic teams, slightly behind teams with budgets 600% larger.
Meanwhile, in the past few weeks, the team has continued to win, win and win some more with stand out performances by Ivan Stevic who after returning from competing in the Olympic Road Race in Beijing, China won the Serbian National Criterium Championships on August 27th.
Heath Blackgrove of New Zealand won the 1st Annual Texas Tough Grand Prix in Dallas, TX. The 75 minute plus 5 laps race was held on September 11th around the American Airlines Arena in hot conditions. Blackgrove bridged up to a break of four riders that included teammate Justin England and then jumped the group of four when they rested after sprinting for a prime and the rest was history as Blackgrove came in solo ahead of Ricardo Escuela (Successful Living) and Chad Cagle (Mercy).
Team co-captain Henk Vogels won the four-day Gateway Cup omnium in St. Louis, MO on Labor Day weekend. Vogels won stage 4, and placed 2nd, 5th and 6th to secure his 1st place overall besting Chad Cagle (Mercy) and Carlos Vegas (Hotel San Jose) 2nd and 3rd place overall respectively. "This was a great week of racing for me in preparation for the Tour of Missouri. The fan turnout was fantastic and the courses were challenging" said Vogels after winning the weekends races.
Rounding out the win column with win number 66 of the season was Jonny Clarke who won the Asheville Grand Prix Criterium in North Carolina Sunday ahead of Tim Henry (Jittery Joes) and Jon Hamblen (Time Pro Cycling). "I was pretty heavily marked, so I had to wait for a break to get established with most teams represented and gain half a lap and then I bridged to the breakaway by myself and was lucky enough to be the fastest on the day" said Clarke.
Team members of Toyota-United will continue to race the remainder of 2008 in such races as the USA Crits Finals in Las Vegas September 25th and the Herald Sun Tour in Australia October 12-18 as they seek to break the 70 win mark for 2008.
"I want to thank all of our sponsors, especially Toyota, our families, our fans, the race promoters, the press, the riders, staff and management that have worked here over these past three and a half years for their contributions and support. Without all of these people, none of this would have ever been possible and I will always be grateful" said Team Owner Sean Tucker.
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team Continues Search for Title Sponsor in 2009
As previously announced on August 15th, the team is in discussions with potential Title sponsors for 2009 and beyond, but no deal is signed as of yet.
Toyota-United consists of 14 riders from seven different countries, with representation from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Cuba, Serbia and Mexico. The team includes current UCI B World Road Race Champion and 2008 Olympian Ivan Stevic, from Serbia. Also on the team are riders Dominique Rollin, the 2008 Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 winner and overall sprint jersey winner from Quebec, Canada, Ivan Dominguez Stage 1 winner 2008 AT & T Tour De Georgia and wearer of the yellow jersey for two days and Jose Manuel (Chepe) Garcia, the 2008 National Time Trial champion from Mexico.
"We are looking forward to securing a new partner for the 2009 season that can benefit from and build their brand by being associated with our world class organization. We are confident another sponsor will capitalize on the value United Pro Cycling Team generates with our 26,000 registered fans, eight-figure annual measurable media exposure, 3.3 million annual onsite spectators and the charitable work our team does in the communities we race in."
In addition to winning races, Toyota-United has emphasized giving back to the communities they race in. As showcased on Larry King Live last July, Toyota-United currently sponsors endurance cyclist and amputee Dan Sheret on his Ability Trek, a global bike ride around the world to raise money and awareness for victims of limb loss through land mine explosions. The team also supports the Wounded Warriors Project and most recently the Chrysalis organization in Los Angeles, who aids homeless through providing job training and placement with a 93% success ratio.
Photo copyright Lyne Lamoureux