The third and final stage of the men’s San Dimas Stage Race, the 90-minute Incycle/Cannondale Old Town Grand Prix was a controlled affair, well until the final lap that is. The Fly V Australia team of yellow jersey Ben Day kept a tight leash on things, keeping the pace high making sure that nothing threatened their 8 second lead.
Attacks flew immediately from the gun as riders tried their hands at getting into a break. Riders from Spidertech p/b Planet Energy, Trek Livestrong, Team Type 1, Jamis/Sutter Home, Bahati Foundation, BISSELL, Williams/SCVelo, UnitedHealthcare and Holowesko Partners all gave it a go but nothing stuck.
The 104-strong field was all together in time for the first HotSpot sprint at 60 minutes to go. Fly V Australia took no chances on this one and grabbed all the time bonuses.
“We had the first intermediate sprint after half an hour, the race had been pretty aggressive up until then. We weren’t able to find the right breakaway to let go up the road so we controlled that and I got the intermediate. The boys got second and third. It gave me a little bit of a buffer. This is what I had to do last year and the year before as well actually so it seems to be common place for this criterium for me to have a few seconds to be more comfortable at the finish.” said Day.
The only serious move of the day came soon after with six riders getting off the front. Riders in the move were Alex Howes (Holowesko Partners), Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Jorge Alvarado (Bahati Foundation), Tyler Wren (Jamis/Sutter Home), Lucas Euser (Spidertech) and Dan Holt (Team Type 1).
With Wren sitting at 45 seconds down, Fly V Australia held the gap at around 20 seconds. The six riders were re-absorbed with less than 25 minutes to go. François Parisien (Spidertech) went on a solo flyer but the teams would have none of it and he was reeled in with seven laps to go.
Fly V Australia was still manning the front, keeping the pace high while the sprinters moved up. Hilton Clarke, Rahsaan Bahati and their Bahati Foundation teammates stayed glued to the last rider of the Aussie train.
“I was playing bully as much as I could by sitting on the back of the Fly V guys. I pushed them around a little bit yesterday so I just thought I’d repay the favor and just guard them a little bit. So I sat on them, I got an easy ride all race.” said Clarke.
With two laps to go, parallel trains were being formed, in the center Fly V Australia now working for their sprinters, Bahati Foundation lined up behind them, on the right UnitedHealthcare. Jamis/Sutter Home, Holowesko Partners, BISSELL and more were all jostling to position their fast men.
“We were trying to take over with about three to go. Didn’t have quite enough guys to come over the top of Fly V. Fly V was still really strong so they were hard to get over the top. We couldn’t get everyone to get over the top of them so then our three sprinters, Karl, Jake and Pinner had to freelance which they’re really good at doing.” explained Brad White (UnitedHealthcare).
“Once again the boys were incredible. I didn’t hit the wind until two laps to go. At that point, it was my turn to do my part for the team. We were hoping to get the victory with Jonny, Charles, Aaron or Bernie, they’re all fast guys but I think we were just one rider short. Unfortunately we lost Rolfie to a crash yesterday.” said Day.
With one lap to go chaos ensued. The drag race was on between the first three men out of the final corner: Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis/Sutter Home) followed by Raymond Kreder (Holowesko Partners) and Clarke.
“I didn’t have a good position going into the last corner, third place but I took a really good line and had a really good run and just mowed them down.” said Clarke.
“It was very hectic, it was crazy.” said Kreder about the final lap. “I was coming in seventh position on the last two corners, I was coming fast second in the corner so that was good but another guy was faster than me.”
Clarke took the 3-up sprint to win the final stage with Borrajo in second and Kreder third.
“It’s a new team and we’re looking to gell together, I think this weekend we’ve shown it. We didn’t win the overall or anything like that but I think we were involved in everything in the race. We’re pretty happy. It was pretty chaotic at the finish and I was helping Rahsaan. That’s the beauty of our team, he got caught up at one stage and I just had to have a go for myself and it worked out.” said Clarke.
Day finished safely in the field to win the San Dimas Stage Race for the second year in a row. Sid Taberlay (CalGiant) finished second at 18 seconds, Paul Mach (BISSELL) was third at 21 seconds, Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) fourth at 24 seconds and Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) fifth at 29 seconds down.
“Coming into the finish, we were strong, we were the strongest team out there at the moment. We tried to take the bull by its horns and we just came up a little bit short with numbers. We had a great week and we secured the overall. It’s never easy to back up and do it a second time, we’re very happy, the boys did a great job and without it being a cliché, the team is incredible.” said Day.
White won the points competition. “This is my first time coming in and racing with UnitedHealthcare in this new team and everything yesterday worked to plan. Today everything didn’t quite work to plan, but we get the cobwebs out this week. San Dimas is a good preparation for next week. We learned from our mistakes today and take what we won yesterday, the jersey today and move on to Redlands now. ”
KOM went to Adam Switters of the new amateur team Yahoo! Cycling. “This is great. We didn’t come in with a lot of expectations but we really wanted results. I think this is the biggest result so far for the team. This is something I’ve been working for for awhile. We’re really excited and hopefully it means good things to come.”
With no KOM points in the final stage, Switters battled it out in yesterday’s road race. “We went into the stage with a goal of being aggressive. I was telling the guys that if I was in the breakaway I was going to go for the KOM. I thought I had it in the end, I wasn’t quite sure until the results came out, I was pretty happy.”
Finishing sixth overall put Andrew Talansky (CalGiant) in the white U25 jersey.
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