We're incredibly excited to announce our new partnership with Rally UHC Cycling, which will see us serve as the team's equipment sponsor for the next three racing seasons. Both men’s and women’s contingents of the American-based, Pro Continental squad will ride the Felt FR Disc in road racing events and the Felt DA in time trials.
Rally UHC Cycling is one of the longest running, best organized, and most inspiring pro cycling teams in the sport, having most recently been under the previous banners of Kelly Benefits Strategies and Optum. It has served as the development launch pad for some of the sport’s top North American talent, including Michael Woods, Chad Haga, Sepp Kuss, and rising star Brandon McNulty, among others. Starting as a modest regional team and growing to a winning group of Men’s and Women’s racers knocking on the door of the highest level, Rally UHC Cycling is stepping it up in a major way with full programs in the United States and Europe for the 2019 season.
“Rally UHC Cycling has steadily and impressively progressed over the years in terms of race results and how it measures success, all in a very holistic way thanks in large part to its dedicated fanbase,” says Jake Duehring, Felt’s Director of Sports Marketing. “We’ve always admired their approach to competition and community engagement, and we’re incredibly proud to be able to support the organization.”
“Rally UHC Cycling’s goal is to punch tickets to some of the biggest races in the world, including World Tour events, and to do so with a North American roster,” says Eric Sakalowsky, Felt’s VP of Global Marketing. “They are a motivated team. They are a talented team. And, they represent both a freshness and an open perspective that really resonate with our identity and character. We’ve been with teams like Garmin-Slipstream and Argos-Shimano, teams who have punched above their weight class, landing stints in the yellow jersey, maglia rosa, and multiple stage victories across the race calendar. The hunger that a younger, upstart team brings to the sport represents our fighting spirit and willingness to innovate, and to take some chancy flyers off the front.”
"Felt will play an integral part in our team's performance at the world's biggest races,” says Charles Aaron, Managing Director of Rally UHC Cycling. “They've proven themselves year after year by making some of the best performance-driven bicycles on the planet and we can't imagine a better bicycle brand to be partnered with."
One of the most important aspects of Rally UHC Cycling is its steadfast commitment to women’s racing. Felt has a long history of supporting some of cycling’s most accomplished female athletes, including reigning triathlon world champion Daniela Ryf and Olympic time trial icon Kristin Armstrong.
“Supporting a Women’s program alongside the Men’s team is extremely important to us,” says Duehring. “We’ve long supported female riders and teams, but to have an entire program that brings together both men and women under one banner really reflects our culture, as well as our commitment to supporting women’s cycling.”
Having already achieved incredible success both in North America and across the globe, Rally UHC Cycling has now set its sights on the next level of competition. The team will race Felt bikes from a North American service course, as well as a European base set up in Girona, Spain.
"This is our 14th year of racing and the most exciting yet,” says Aaron. “With a long history of incredible partners, we're excited to bring our shared mission of health and wellness to a global audience week in and week out. The 2019 roster is filled with the most talented group of men and women we've ever assembled and it's sure to be a landmark year. I'm a firm believer that you need to learn to walk before you can run, and last year's debut in the UCI Professional Continental ranks proved that. It took our program a dozen years to get there but when we did, we had success. I think our performances at the Arctic Race of Norway, Amgen Tour of California and the Deutschland Tour are just the beginning.”
The FR is Felt’s flagship race bike, one that has already achieved multiple wins since its release under the Holowesko-Citadel and Veranda’s Willems-Crelan teams. It’s the evolution of Felt’s famed F Series platform, which carried Argos-Shimano riders Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb to multiple Grand Tour stage wins and several days in both the yellow jersey of the Tour de France and the red jersey of the Vuelta a Espana, respectively. The DA is one of the most celebrated time trial platforms in the world, most notably having been the bike of choice for two of icon Kristin Armstrong’s three consecutive Olympic gold medals. It has also won several national titles, including a few Canadian National Championship victories under veteran racer and new Rally UHC Cycling team member Svein Tuft. All of the Rally UHC Cycling team bikes will be equipped with Time pedals, which is one of Felt’s fellow brands within the Rossignol Bike Group; HED wheels, one of Felt’s partners in the radical, asymmetric TA FRD track super-bike project; Easton components; and SRAM drivetrains.
Brandon McNulty Il Giro di Sicilia in spectacular fashion on Saturday, with Rally UHC Cycling successfully defending his leader’s jersey on the legendary slopes of Mt Etna. McNulty finished fourth on the final stage after his teammates, one by one, sacrificed themselves en route to the greatest GC triumph in team history.
With tough early season contests in Spain and Oman under their belt, Rally UHC Cycling enters a second block of European racing with renewed strength and confidence. The team lands in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport Friday for a five-week campaign that begins in France and ends with England’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of cross-country mountain bike racing, or you’re looking to try your hand at your very first off-road race, your primary concern will undoubtedly be which bike to ride. Should you choose a full-suspension bike with both a suspension fork and a rear shock, or a hardtail with only a suspension fork?
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