Rally Cycling heads into its hometown race, the North Star Grand Prix, and Canada’s Tour de Beauce with strong momentum after dominating the North American calendar for the first half of the season. To date, the men and women of Rally Cycling have tallied 37 wins, including two stages of the WorldTour ranked Amgen Tour of California, and stepped onto the podium on 78 occasions. Most recently, Erica Allar took three straight podiums, including a win, at this past weekend's Tulsa Tough in Oklahoma.
After consistently landing on the podium throughout the first half of the season, the team gathers in Minneapolis for the North Star Grand Prix, June 14-18. The event has a rich history for the Twin Cities community and the team. First held in 1998, the North Star Grand Prix has become one of the top stage races on the US calendar. As the team’s hometown event, Rally Cycling returns home motivated to race in front of family, friends and local team partners Borah Teamwear, HED, Kinetic and Park Tool.
The 2016 North Star Grand Prix podium: Brad Huff, Evan Huffman and Tom Zirbel
Last year the team dominated the North Star Grand Prix, holding the leader's yellow jersey from start to finish, taking three stages and sweeping the podium with Evan Huffman, Brad Huff and Tom Zirbel. This year, the team will look to keep its win streak alive with a strong team led by defending champion, Huffman. Junior World Time Trial Champion Brandon McNulty and Danny Pate will join Huffman on the start line as general classification contenders. Targeting individual stages will be National Criterium Champion Brad Huff and Colin Joyce. Lead-out specialist, and recent Minneapolis transplant, Tom Soladay will deliver them to the line.
“I'm excited to head back to the North Star Grand Prix as the defending champion, and hope to repeat my overall victory,” said Huffman. “I've had a nice break at home after the Tour of California, relaxing and recovering after all the team’s success, so I'm ready to get back to racing.”
Erica Allar returns to lead Rally Cycling and defend her Queen of the Hills title
The dynamic trio of Erica Allar, Kirsti Lay and Emma White will lead the women of Rally Cycling in Minnesota. Allar is coming off a strong showing at Tulsa Tough, and although known as a sprinter, will head to North Star looking to defend her Queen of the Hills title from last year. Another rider with a notch in the win column is White, who earned her first UCI stage victory at the Tour of the Gila in May and will relish North Star’s time trial and three criteriums. Climbing sensation Sara Poidevin and fellow Canadians Allison Beveridge and Katherine Maine will join them. The North Star Grand Prix will see the return to competition of Sara Bergen, who suffered a broken collarbone at the Tour of the Gila. Caitlin Laroche completes the roster.
“The North Star Grand Prix has always been one of my favorite stage races,” said Allar. “It doesn't cater only to climbers, as there are plenty of stages offering opportunities for various types of riders to do well. It was the race where I first received recognition as a member of the first collegiate all-star team while attending Penn State. I placed second on the Cannon Falls stage that year, so this race holds a lot of personal value for me. I am feeling strong and confident coming into this event, especially after three podium finishes in Tulsa. This race is a huge goal for our team, and we have the perfect combination of riders to have a great week.”
Rob Britton will lead the team north of the border at the Tour de Beauce
As Rally Cycling defends its home turf in Minneapolis, the other half of the team will be north of the border competing in the 32nd edition of Quebec’s Tour de Beauce, directed by three-time Canadian Olympian and 1995 Beauce champion, Eric Wohlberg. The team will take to the start line with five riders capable of winning the general classification. Headlining the squad is Rob Britton, who is coming off an incredible Tour of California that saw him finish second to Huffman in stage four, power the breakaway in stage seven and ignite the race with a bold solo move in stage five. His efforts in the race's fifth stage garnered him the Most Courageous Rider jersey, which he wore for three days. Matteo Dal-Cin, Adam de Vos, Sepp Kuss and Emerson Oronte will join Britton as riders capable of claiming overall victory. Sprinters Eric Young and Quebec native Pierrick Naud will round out the roster.
In addition to overall victory, Kuss will be looking to repeat his win from last year on the infamous Mont Megantic. Kuss’s stunning win added to the team’s long history of success at the Tour de Beauce. The team took overall victory in 2009 with Scott Zwizanski and has claimed several stage wins along the way including an unlikely KOM jersey via former team sprinter Ken Hanson. In 2014, future Rally Cycling rider Britton finished second overall and was eighth in 2015. The team will look to build on its impressive record in the 2017 edition.
North Star Grand Prix Stages
Stage 1: St. Paul Time Trial (8 km)
Stage 2: St. Paul Criterium (W: 28 laps / M: 40 laps)
Stage 3: Cannon Falls Road Race (W: 104 km / M: 146 km)
Stage 4: Minneapolis Criterium (W: 45 min / M: 60 min)
Stage 5: North Mankato Road Race (W: 98 km / M: 130 km)
Stage 6: Stillwater Criterium (W: 14 laps / M: 23 laps)
Men’s North Star Grand Prix Roster
Women’s North Star Grand Prix Roster
Tour de Beauce Stages
Stage 1: Saint-Georges - Saint-Georges (185 km)
Stage 2: Lac-Mégantic / Mont-Mégantic (170 km)
Stage 3: Saint-Georges (19.7 km)
Stage 3b: St-Georges - Beauce Art (77 km)
Stage 4: Ville de Québec (70 km)
Stage 5: Ville de St-Georges (122.4 km)
Tour de Beauce Roster
Adam de Vos