The men and women of Rally Cycling will race on two continents this weekend as the road racing season heats up. The men’s team heads to France to compete in the prestigious Tour de Normandie, March 20-27. The seven-day event features several tough, rolling stages through the Normandie region of Northern France. A popular event on the European calendar, it has become a showcase for up-and-coming riders as well as sprinters and rouleurs. With the men's team in Europe, the women of Rally Cycling kick off their season today under the Arizona sun at the Tucson Bicycle Classic. The three-day stage race has become one of the premier early season events on the domestic calendar.
After his stage win in Chico, Emerson Oronte will lead the team in France
"This will be our first time competing in the Tour de Normandie,” said Performance Manager Jonas Carney. “We've heard great things about the race and have always wanted to attend. Each year, we provide our riders with opportunities to compete in Europe to gain experience and fitness. Normandie is ideal because it offers a level of difficulty that you just cannot find in North America at this time of year.”
Headlining Rally Cycling for the Tour de Normandie will be Emerson Oronte, recent winner of stage two of Northern California’s Chico Stage Race. Following the race,Oronte and the rest of the Normandie-bound squad spent an extended period training in Northern California. The result was a sweep of the podium at Merced’s Snelling Road Race. Tom Soladay took the win ahead of Jesse Anthony and Oronte. Sprinters Brad Huff, Shane Kline and Pierrick Naud round out the Tour de Normandie roster.
“I have never competed in Northern France, so this will be entirely new to me," said Oronte. "Having been able to pull off a stage win at Chico, I feel confident in my form and hope to be able to do the same on the roads of France. The squad heading to France just completed a pretty serious block of training in Northern California, and the fitness is there for a lot of the guys to pull off a result. Jesse Anthony and Tom Soladay looked exceptionally strong.”
The women of Rally Cycling are ready to start the season
Back stateside, the women of Rally Cycling start their season at the Tucson Bicycle Classic in Tucson, Arizona, March 17-19. The team is coming off its second training camp of the year and will use the event to fine-tune strategy and teamwork. Olympic Bronze medalist Kirsti Lay will anchor the squad, joined by Katherine Maine and new team members Amy Benner, Sara Bergen, Kelly Catlin and Caitlin Laroche. Also on the roster is Emma White, who returns to the tarmac after a season of cyclocross racing.
“After a lot of hard work in the off-season, it will be good to get racing,” said Team Director Zach Bell. “We are looking forward to demonstrating the strength of the team. The Tucson Bicycle Classic will be a good extension of our training camp and allow the new riders a chance to work together in a race situation.”
Rally Cycling will be without climbing specialist Sara Poidevin for the first few races of the season after she was injured in a training crash earlier in the week. The accident occurred during the squad’s team time trial practice. Poidevin struck a pothole and was pitched forward over the handlebars. As a result, she suffered a fractured arm. She has returned home to recover and undergo further examination.
Tour de Normandie Stages
Stage 1: Bourg-Achard – Gonfreville-l'Orcher (143k)
Stage 2: Neufchâtel-en-Bray – Forges-les-Eaux (153.5k)
Stage 3: Duclair – Elbeuf-sur-Seine (165k)
Stage 4: Le Neubourg – Argentan (163k)
Stage 5: La Ferté-Macé – Bagnoles-de-l’Orne (158.8k)
Stage 6: Fleury-sur-Orne – Ducey-lès-Chéris (166k)
Stage 7: Sourdeval – Caen (144.5k)
Tour de Normandie Roster
Tucson Bicycle Classic Stages
Stage 1: Old Tucson/McCain Loop Time Trial (5.1k)
Stage 2: Garrett Lemire Memorial Road Race (98k)
Stage 3: TUCSON Shoulder Elbow + Hand Circuit Race (50k)
Tucson Bicycle Classic Roster