Following the same scenario, Rock Racing won the second race in the Merco Cycling Classic, with a surprise win by 18-year old Iggy Silva in a bunch sprint ahead of Taylor Tolleson (BMC) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell).
Taking advantage of the presence of teammate Freddie Rodriguez to force other teams to chase, Silva sat on and timed his move to take the win, his first win since upgrading to Cat 1 from juniors.
“It was pretty cool because of the big teams out here and I get to show myself. The last lap was pretty tempo because they were bringing a breakaway that had been up the road for a couple of laps and then we caught towards the end. We got them, and one guy and Freddie went so I sat on third wheel and then a BMC guy went and I countered, we got to Freddie and there was no one behind me, so it was all good.” said a beaming Silva.
Flurries of attacks were the norm for the five loops of a rolling 24-mile course and the threatening sky opened up in the final lap but that didn’t deter the attacks.
“We stacked every break. We had two in a break, I was by myself in a break and we had 4 in a break, and in the last break, we had two. We were making sure that we were heavily represented, we had nine guys here today, we had the numbers to be able to use up some guys, we had no excuse for not having more guys up the road than anybody else. We never wanted to get outnumbered in any situation. ” said Jacques-Maynes about his Bissell team racing aggressively.
With only 3 riders in the race, BMC also raced aggressively and aimed on getting into a break. “The plan was to be in the move.” said Tolleson. “None of the moves stuck which is incredible. I was in the first move on the first lap and then I was in the second move on the next two laps and then Chad Beyer was in the move in the final two laps and then we caught them. I couldn’t believe that nothing stuck.”
Playing with numbers, the big teams managed to get at least one rider in each break but the solo operators or smaller-in-number teams would always manage to reel them in.
“Mostly it was amateurs, like 6 or 8 guys not even on the same team that were chasing, chasing… ” said Tolleson.
Jacques-Maynes agreed. “All the teams were sure to get guys in the breaks so it was all the solo operators or 2 or 3-man team, so one of their guys would just sell out and bring it back pretty close and then the whole field would sprint across. And so it was just heroic individual effort that would bring back every break. ”
To get ready for the finale, CalGiant used its numbers and came to the front to reel in the remaining six or seven guys and get ready for the bunch sprint and Jacques-Maynes jumped on the train.
“CalGiant did a great team effort to pull everything back [in the last lap] and all we did was post up right on their wheel, had a free ride, it was sweet. I was the guy sitting there going ‘this feels familiar’.” said Jacques-Maynes who raced with the CalGiant team for the two previous years.
Silva started racing track in San Diego and has won National Titles in Endurance Track event and is now “trying to build better towards the road.” I’d say that Merco was a good start.