With the field breathing down their necks, Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Baci) outsprinted her breakmates for the win at stage 2 of the San Dimas Stage Race. After spending most of the 90 km (56 mi) race in two breaks Alexi Rhodes (Team VBF) finished second. Kim Anderson (HTC-Columbia) rounded off the podium.
The 5 rider break with Anne Samplonius (Nanoblur-Gears), Amanda Miller (TIBCO/To The Top), Rhodes, Anderson and Benjamin had 50 second on the field coming into the last lap. Or so we think.
“That was pretty crazy. It was actually really odd, I knew that we were going to play cat and mouse and you lose time but when we got to the top of the climb, to the KOM, the motorcycle said that we had 50 seconds. On the last lap then we’re done, that’s an eternity were a couple of k from the finish line. Then literally we go down the hill, we’re on the flat and we’re really messing about but he comes up and says ‘so I can see the field in my rear view mirror just so you know’. So we all turned around at once and there they were, just like that. Either they give us the wrong time, it more like 20 seconds or we really messed about.” explained Benjamin.
On the final flat straightaway to the finish line, the break had the field breathing down their necks.
“It as clear nobody wanted to take the front, after all the hard riding everybody was tired, everybody wanted to win, just cat and mouse. We had dropped Ann earlier in the lap with Amanda and she had caught back on on the descent. She came up to me and said ‘I’m really a fourth anyway but I might as well go to the front’. Alexi and Kim had sort of pushed me to the front so I’m glad that she came along because I got to sit behind her. But I still wasn’t where I wanted to be at all, in second wheel I couldn’t see either one of them so I was not happy about that.” said Benjamin.
Then it was time to go for Benjamin. “Anne got up there, we weren’t going really fast she was just riding. I was basically just riding with my head turned around. I didn’t want them to get the jump on me even if you are the better sprinter, if someone gets a jump it’s really difficult and Alexi and Kim are so strong. You can’t really let that happen which is why I went from forever away because I turned around with 300 meters to go and I though I saw Alexi do some sort of movement and I just went, I’m not going to let them get the jump.”
Mara Abbott finished safely in the pack driven by her Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 team to keep her yellow jersey. She still has 16 seconds on Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia). Robin Farina (Team VBF) moved up to third spot at 1:03 down.
Abbott was quite happy with the combination of the break. “Having Kim in the breakaway was to our advantage actually because she’s much less dangerous in terms of the GC than either Ina or Evelyn. So that was a pretty good situation for us and my teammates were up there, they were controlling, they were keeping the gap down to a reasonable distance and we really turned it on in the last couple of laps especially Kat, Olivia and Coryn, all the girls were amazing. They made it a really safe race. We were able to bring it back to just within a few of the break. We’re really happy with it.”
It is the first time racing with her new team as she did not join them in the earlier Northern California races and enjoyed working with the younger riders on the team.
“It’s the first time that I’ve seen younger girls taking responsibility and I think it’s so cool because Ruth and Coryn are so talented and they are so strong. I think people don’t necessarily look to juniors, if they get something it’s great, it’s very opportunistic but for them to be given a responsibility role I think is great and it is equal to what they deserve because they’re really worthy of that.”
With no radios, Abbott was counting on her teammate Kat Carroll to call the shots on the road. “I’ve raced this course a couple of times and I know that gaps do tend to come down towards the end and I have Kat Caroll up there and she’s really smart, she’s been racing for a long time. She’s someone I’ve always wanted to race with and to have her up at the front, she was keeping an eye on what was going on and it was her call whether we were to chase or not.”
Story of breaks. The attacks started on the first of eight laps, with Farina, defending champion Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) and more trying to get a break going. On the second lap, the break was formed when three riders went for the KOM points and kept on going. Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita/Baci), Rhodes and Best Young Rider Rebecca Much (TIBCO/To The Top) got a gap.
“We all wanted to get into a break today that was pretty much the team plan. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.” said Rhodes went spent most of the race at the front.
The trio was working well together for the next two laps getting a gap of over one minute to the field, and then Teutenberg and Stevens attacked. Boy that got a reaction in the field.
“That was not good.” said Abbott. “Basically what happened is that I saw them going up and Ina’s very tricky pack rider and she’s a good one to be on her wheel. I didn’t get there in time but I was able to get to the front and Kat was already there. Colavita helped us a bit and we were able to shut down the group. That was a moment.”
The HTC-Columbia duo did bridge up to the break but the riders were reeled back into the pack with Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 and Colavita/Baci chasing. The inevitable countermove went immediately.
“A counter-attack went with Kim Anderson. I was on the front so I jumped on that. It had the right numbers, everyone was pretty happy with it except for HTC, Kim unfortunately wasn’t allowed to work. We managed to stay away it was great.” said Rhodes who made her way into another break.
Benjamin had not participated in the chase saving herself in case of a bunch sprint. “It was my turn I was the one that was the freshest. The other girls were tired from the chase and I was right there, I was third wheel. Kim, Alexi and Amanda went up the road and I looked up there and ‘mmm somebody needs to be up there and I’m the one who’s fresh’ so I jumped across. Anne came across later.” said Benjamin.
“A couple of people came across like Kelly a sprinter and I thought ‘oh this isn’t good’. So at that point I was telling Rene on the side ‘this isn’t good’ but it stuck.” commented Anderson.
Not everyone was working in the break. “Kim Anderson wasn’t working so I said well I’m not working then, I’m only going to work if Kim works. Most of the work was being done by Alexi, Amanda and Anne.” said Benjamin.
“The last two laps, Rene was like ‘work with them’. I feel bad sitting on and then attacking, I always have a hard time with that, I want to race fairly.” said Anderson.
“On the last lap, Kim got word from her director, we’re not going to catch go for it. From that point on, we worked equally and on the last lap it was attack.” said Benjamin.
Rhodes picked up most of the HotSpot sprints and has a commanding lead in the sprints competition. “It was definitely a lot of fun so hopefully we can carry the form through Redlands and get some reinforcement from Alison Powers which will be nice.”
Logan-Sprenger wins KOM with no points on the line in the final stage tomorrow. Much retained her white best young rider jersey.
The San Dimas Stage Race concludes on Sunday with the 55 minute criterium in downtown San Dimas with more time bonuses on the line of course.
Part of a late race 5-rider attack on the final climb, Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) timed his move perfectly to win the in 135 km (84 mi) San Dimas Hospital Road Race. Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation) was second and Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) third.
It looked like it might come down to a field sprint as the field was all back together, or let’s call the remainder of the field as the pack shattered under the big tempo set by the Fly V Australia team to bring back the break with three laps to go. But on the twelfth and final lap, on the final time up the climb Sutherland made his move.
“The boys set me up well on the last climb. In the last couple of years I’ve always tried with two laps to go or three laps to go, same as with Nature Valley, if you go really late and just go with one big attack, it seems to better than going with three little ones, you end up killing yourself.” said Sutherland.
“I went over the climb and got to the top first. Amaran got on just behind me, he said come on let’s go. I wanted to ride, he’s high on GC and wanted to ride so that’s perfect, we’re at least got two guys that want to keep it going. If you hold the momentum all the way down the hill, there’s a tailwind all the way to the finish…” said Sutherland. Amaran was sitting at 16 seconds down on GC in fourth place. The duo was joined by Davide Frattini (Team Type 1), Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Grajales.
Everybody worked hard to get a gap and then the games started.
“They kind of started messing around and I pulled over because no one was pulling through. Grajales went and Amaran went after him. He’d done a lot of work, he was going for GC you could tell. Davide was pretty dead by the end. I was sitting fifth wheel at that point. But the other two were one hundred meters ahead of us. Grajales had a gap to Amaran and then a bigger gap to Davide, Shirley on his wheel and me. I’m sitting there thinking we’re not going to get them because Davide wasn’t bringing it back and everyone is going as hard as they could and it’s basically me and Shirley. If you go too early you’re never going to make it but… I’ve been training hard all winter, I’ve been training hard on speedwork and sprinting the last few weeks in the racing so I can finish it off. I hit out with 350 to go, slowly reeled them in, reeled them in. I had a big gear, got around them both and had enough to put the hand up which has been a long while.” smiled Sutherland.
“It felt really good, a new sponsor, a new team, we’ve made a few mistakes the last few weeks.” said Sutherland about the win. The team miscalculated at the Merco Cycling Classic. “So many guys getting to know each other and getting everything going again so that’s what we needed to really push through and get them all going. The longer it takes to get your win the more frustrating it becomes.”
With his Fly V Australia squad manning the front of the race every lap, Ben Day (Fly V Australia) survived all attacks to keep the yellow jersey. After getting a time bonus on the first intermediate sprint, Sid Taberlay (California Giant/Specialized) moved up to second at 8 seconds. Paul Mach (BISSELL) now sits in third at 14 seconds from the leader.
Once the second break went and looked good, Day and his team were quite happy to let the four riders dangle off the front and they worked to keep the gap steady at 50 seconds until it was time to reel it back.
“I’m not the world’s best sprinter, that’s not my job. Our goal was to let the break eat up those time bonuses. The boys rode an incredibly strong race, worked really hard from start to finish. Coming down the last lap, I didn’t have the best legs in the world, just a little bit lack of racing. Doing a 10-minute time trial up hill is one thing, and another thing jumping around and powering away on a flat, there’s a little bit more work to be done there. I think I’m still looking okay at the top of the leaderboard.” said Day.
With three laps to go, the field such as it was came back together. Under pressure from the Fly V Australia pace, the peloton splintered leaving a lead group of around 50 riders. And that brought the last HotSpot sprint and its time bonus and guess who went for it.
“I actually sprinted for two of them but the first was such a bad sprint.” laughed Day. “Sid Taberlay got second on the first time bonus and I got second on the last one, that kept him behind me the little cheeky Autralian bugger.”
Day was sitting 10 or 15 riders back when Sutherland attacked on the final lap. “Safety in numbers, we put a big effort coming into the finish and closed a lot of that time gap back.”
Day concluded, “Good racing by all, good to see Rory get the win for UnitedHealthcare. It means that there are strong teams in the US and that the racing is going to be good and interesting. We don’t walk on the top of everybody, we want to do our best and we want to see the other teams get a successful year as well. The US cycling scene gets stronger and stronger. “
The breaks. By the second lap a group of 5 riders had a gap of 20 seconds on the field but were brought back by the next lap just in time for the first HotSpot sprint and its associated time bonuses.
Sitting second on GC at only 8 seconds down, Taberlay went for it and got second behind Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) who was working to protect his leader Day. With his 6 second time bonus, Taberlay leapfrogged into second spot.
The next lap brought the second KOM and another move. Adam Switters (Yahoo! Cycling) attacked and was quickly followed by Brad White (UnitedHealthcare) and Lucas Euser (Spidertech). Nathan O’Neill (Bahati Foundation) bridged up to the break and the four riders worked together to get some time.
“Straightaway we worked pretty good together, Nathan was giving some pretty good hard pulls and kind of hurting a couple of guys but then once everyone settled in, everyone worked really smoothly together. We were keeping it steady. “ said White.
With two laps to go, Dan Ramsey (Williams SCVelo) took a solo flyer. Jorge Alvarado (Bahati Foundation) bridged up to him but the duo was brought back.
Baldwin crash. With two laps to go, UnitedHealthcare GC leader Chris Baldwin crashed.
From the team press release: Shortly after finishing the stage, Baldwin was taken to the hospital by team directeur sportif Gord Fraser to have the damage assessed. Fraser reported that x-rays of Baldwin’s elbow were negative and he ended up with eight stitches in his leg.
Tied on points, Adam Switters (Yahoo! Cycling) wins the KOM. Brad White (UnitedHealthcare) is the sprints leader and Andrew Talansky (CalGiant) still leads the best young rider classification.
The San Dimas Stage race concludes with the 90-minute criterium on a 1.2-mile course in San Dimas on Sunday.
Top 10 Women Pro/1/2 Stage 2 Results
1. Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Baci) 2:32:12
2. Alexi Rhodes (Team VBF) s.t.
3. Kim Anderson (HTC-Columbia) s.t.
4. Anne Samplonius (Nanoblur-Gears) @0:05
5. Anna Drakulick (Herbalife La Grange) @ 0:12
6. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) s.t.
7. Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita/Baci) s.t.
8. Heather Pryor (webcor/Alto Velo) s.t.
9. Jazzy Hurikino (Third Pillar) s.t.
10. Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) s.t.
Top 10 Men Pro/1/2 Stage 2 Results
1. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare)
2. Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation) s.t.
3. Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) s.t.
4. Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefit Strategies) s.t.
5. Davide Frattini (Team Type 1) @ 0:04
6. Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) s.t.
7. James Williamson (Bike Religion) s.t.
8. Cody Stevenson (Adageo Energy) s.t.
9. Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare) s.t.
10. Nicholas Walker (Holowesko Partner) s.t.
Women pro/1/2 Photo Gallery (Click for larger images)
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Men pro/1 Photo Gallery (Click for larger images)
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