What's Cool In Road Cycling

Episode 3: Meet The Team

– By Rusty Beall –

I am starting to feel a bit like a pinball bouncing around California, in fact the other night I woke up in San Francisco and needed to go to the bathroom only to find myself in a closet because I thought I was still in San Diego. The last week I spent in the hills around Piedmont, California at the first official Health Net Cycling Team training camp, graciously hosted by one of the team owners and his family, Greg Raifman. Hosting twenty cyclists in one house is usually a fairly difficult thing to do, but the Raifman’s beautiful house, adorned with some of Hurst Castle’s gates and doors, gave us around ten-thousand-square-feet to bond, eat, shower, watch movies, and eat some more (we’re talking 120 eggs in the first three days).

I have been mentioning the Health Net Cycling Team for several weeks now without really giving you the whole picture, so it’s time I go ahead and give you the lowdown on the program in a nutshell and introduce some of the guys. Health Net (www.healthnet.com) is one of the largest publicly traded managed healthcare companies in the nation, providing benefits to about 5.3 million people nationwide, so cycling is a natural fit and they are psyched to be a part of it all. We are being managed by Kevin Klein, who raced for several years as a professional himself and knows what it takes to make this program to work. Mike Sayers, who was a member of the Mercury Cycling Team for many years, will be our team leader. He has a ton of road experience and is able to run things like the true professional he is; he gets things done and people listen. We then have Russell Stevenson (formerly of Prime Alliance), Chris McGovern (former Jelly Belly), and John Hunt (formerly of Sierra Nevada), to name a few.

Then there is the Belarusian assembly, which is a very important (apparently) distinction between being Russian. We have three Belarusian’s, Alex Ivanov (aka “Hollywood”) who is twenty-years-old, looks like a cross between Evgeni Berzin and Val Kilmer and has three life goals: 1) to be in a Hollywood movie, 2) to win the 19th stage of the Tour de France, and 3) to “have a kiss with Cameron Diaz.” He is a member of the Belarus National Team, has good climbing legs, and has established himself as the comedian of the group. Next is Alex Koslov, a twenty-three-year-old member of the Belarus National Team, who was seventh at the U-23 Paris-Roubaix and has a build like Johann Museew. Finally, last but not least, there is Yauheni Seniushkin, a twenty-five-year-old, who has completed the Giro twice and the Vuelta once, so you know he is all business. They fit in really well and I can already tell that we are going to have a lot of fun with them on the team. These guys are for real; vodka drinking Belarusian’s who know how to race their bikes.

Now that camp is over and another week of hard training is under the belt, I am back in Nevada City partaking in what is sometimes the most difficult part of good training… resting. Thankfully Mother Nature has been good to us these last couple days, easing the course of action by throwing down buckets of water in an apocalyptic deluge that makes hanging out at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters sure look good.

– Check back soon for more news about Team Health – Net

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.