A brief update on what is happening with Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team riders following the weekend of April 23-24.
Three riders from Axeon Hagens Berman are competing this week for USA Cycling's Under 23 team in the 50th edition of the Tour de Bretagne Cycliste in France.
Adrien Costa, Greg Daniel and Colin Joyce comprise half of the six-man roster for the race which often acts as a showcase for upcoming riders. The week-long event started Monday and is comprised of seven road races through the Bretagne region in the northwest region of France.
Mike Sayers, head coach of USA Cycling's Under 23 Development Program, said he expects all three Axeon Hagens Berman riders to take on a leadership role.
"Will Barta proved last year that racing aggressively can get you a top 10 overall finish here," he said. "I think Adrien and Greg are capable of that. I also think that Colin could look for some solid stage finishes. Overall, the race suits Colin best because of its up-and-down nature and the fact that the weather can be iffy at times. But Adrien and Greg are also on excellent form."
Sayers said he annually circles the race on the team's calendar because of its importance.
"We have a saying in the national team that you get 'Bretagne Strength' out of this race that will serve you well all season," he said. "Some big riders have performed extremely well here including (multi-time grand tour champion) Alberto Contador. He has sent his development team to this race for exactly the reasons we come: Bretagne Strength. This race might as well be a French National Cup race and the start sheet proves it."
Barta finished eighth overall at Tour de Bretagne Cycliste last year, but is not competing this week.
On the strength of his overall victory Sunday at the Joe Martin Stage Race, Neilson Powless is expected to become the new leader of USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour (PRT).
The PRT includes more than two dozen races across the country from April to September, awarding points by event length, UCI level and other factors to score individual riders and teams.
Powless had been sitting third in the standings before the weekend. But he scored points in all but one stage in the race in Arkansas to overtake previous leader Travis McCabe (Holowekso-Citadel Racing Team presented by Hincapie Racing).
Irish Under 23 national road champion Eddie Dunbar said he expects to be back to training this week following successful surgery to repair his broken collarbone.
Dunbar crashed last Wednesday while training near his home in Banteer, Ireland. He underwent surgery at the Santry Sports Clinic in Dublin on Friday.
The 19-year-old said he will spin on his Specialized S-Works Tarmac on a trainer first.
"If it feels OK, I will progress a bit more each day and then hopefully be on the road in just over a week," he said.
Axeon Hagens Berman is next in action at the 30th edition of the Tour of the Gila. The five-stage UCI event in Silver City, New Mexico, consists of three road races, an individual time trial and a criterum. It begins May 4.