After a long hard-fought 175 km (109.2-mile) and overcoming his own body, Team Type 1’s Shawn Milne outsprinted his breakmates to win the US Air Force Cycling Classic, UCI race on the USA Cycling Pro Tour series event in Crystal City, Va. Canadian Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia) was second and Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit) took third.
“I didn’t feel good all day,” an overjoyed Milne said. “In fact, I felt miserable. With two laps to go, I was supposed to be ready to lead out Ken (Hanson) and I told him I didn’t think I had it in me.”
“It went really well and I would have like to have won. He [Milne] came from behind and came around me with 150 meters to go. I waited a bit too long but I was starting to be dehydrated after all the effort put in during the day.” said Dionne who added that his team could only count on five riders instead of eight.
On the second of the fourteen laps of the 12.5km (7.8-mile) circuit, BISSELL’s Ben Jacques-Maynes and Planet Energy’s Andrew Randell rolled off the front of the peloton, slowly gaining a gap and rotating through the KOM and Sprints points. The duo would stay out front for the next five laps until joined by a chase group of Jonathan Garcia (BMC) and Waylon Woolcock (Medscheme).
With three laps to go, the break was brought back by the pack. A flurry of counter attacks followed until a new 15-rider break was formed, one that included Milne and his teammate Matt Wilson, BMC’s Chad Beyer and Garcia, François Parisien (Planet Energy), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell), Dionne and Zwizanski.
“Matt was feeling well, so I was taking more pulls, trying to keep everyone working together,” Milne said.
“A few teams had two riders [in the break] so they were taking turns attacking I covered moves up to three times but after that I couldn’t and it was at that time that five riders broke away. They worked well together. It was a course that was really conducive to breaks because it had a lot of turns.” said Parisien.
When the lead group was reduced to just five with a little more than one lap of the course remaining, Milne said he started sizing up his chances of earning his first victory since the Exeter (N.H.) Criterium last July.
“I was a little worried because I didn’t know everyone I was riding with,” the 27-year-old Milne said. “I knew Davide Frattini of Colavita and Jeremy Vennell of Bissell. But I didn’t recognize Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia) and for some reason, I thought Kelly Benefits’ Scott Zwizanski was Zach Bell. So I thought I had to watch out for him for sure.”
Zwizanski twice tried to jump the group inside the final mile and Vennell made what looked like the winning move with 800 meters to go. But both attacks were brought back, allowing Milne to bide his time before beginning his own sprint from the 200-meter mark.
Frattini finished fourth and Vennell came in a further two seconds back for fifth. A group of eight chasers rolled through a further 13 seconds back.
Jacques-Maynes won the KOM, Randell the Sprints points and Garcia was awarded the Most Aggressive prize.
Now all eyes turn to next Sunday’s race, the most prestigious single-day event on the U.S. racing scene, the TD Bank International Championship in Philadelphia.
Check out more photos from Mark Blacknell