For the second weekend in a row, the Fly V Australia team defended the yellow jersey of Ben Day against all to win the overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the traditional NRC opener.
The tough 94.1 miles (151.4 km) Sunset Road Race came down to a sprint finish as a select group of 44 riders zipped around the short finishing circuit, rubbing elbows for position. Sprinters were eyeing the stage win and the GC contenders were aiming for the time bonuses on the line.
The first rider out of the first corner Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis/Sutter Home) held his line to take the win. In second place was Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia) and third was Raymond Kreder (Holowesko Partners).
“The race was hard.” said Borrajo who had four teammates with him on the finishing circuits. “My brother did the perfect work with one lap to go, he dropped me in a very good position with three hundred meters to go, I did my job.” smiled Borrajo.
Seconds do matter. Going into the tough Sunset Road Race, Day has a lead of six tenths of a second on Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), between one and four seconds to the Jelly Belly trio of Will Routley, Carter Jones and Kiel Reijnen, six seconds on Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealhcare) and twelve seconds on Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home). With a total of sixteen seconds available in time bonuses on the stage the word of the day for the Australian team was control.
“The boys controlled the stage so well that it was a pretty steady tempo all day and it wasn’t jump, jump, they controlled it so well I could just sit on the wheel, relax and save it for the finale just to make that these other guys didn’t nip up up the road, they tried but thanks to having pretty good legs at the finish I was able to cover them.” said Day.
The GC gaps were shuffled when Sutherland got the jump to get the intermediate time bonus of three seconds the first time around the brutal, rolling, tight Sunset Loop. Right behind him were Reijnen and Day. That move gave Day a lead of one second on B. Jacques-Maynes, two on Routley and four on Sutherland.
The strategy was simple for many teams with a GC contender: stack a break, force Fly V to chase and hit them with a counter-attack once the break is caught.
“I had to go probably three or four times and finally it stuck. Actually we got caught and we had to go again. The next time up the hill we got caught and all the same guys left.” explained Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL). The break went at the feedzone after the battle for that first KOM on the first of the twelve laps around Sunset.
The 11 riders in the break were A. Jacques-Maynes, Tyler Wren (Jamis/Sutter Home), Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare), Pat McCarty (Yahoo!), Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia), Dan Bowman (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Michael Matthis (RideClean), Jesse Moore (CalGiant), Davide Frattini (Team Type 1) and Corey Collier and Jason Donald (Bahati Foundation). Also making the move was 17-year old Lachlan Morton (Holowesko Partners) riding junior gears.
Andy or Ben? That question was asked by many as to which Jacques-Maynes brother was in the break. And the twin brothers actually encouraged the confusion.
“I have a Bike Pure band on, we wore these black socks which I can pull up to hide my tattoos, I took my earrings out. Every little bit.” smiled A Jacques-Maynes. “Last year at Joe Martin, Ben was second on GC, OUCH had to ride the front for the whole crit, they wound on the left side the whole time because I have tattoos on my left leg. So if one of us attacked, they’d be able to tell. And I was at the bar with them that night, and they’re like ‘yeah totally we wound up on that side’, and ‘the only reason you wound up on the left the whole day is because I have tattoos on this leg?’ ‘yeah’. People worry about it so we’re going to make them worry about it.”
“The boys”. By virtue of their teammates in GC contention, both A. Jacques-Maynes and Pinfold sat on while the other riders rotated in a cohesive group. Next time around the gap grew to 30 seconds making A Jacques-Maynes the virtual leader on the road. Zajicek then dropped back to help control the gap. By lap 5, the gap was up to two minutes.
“We let a fairly large group up the road but we spoke this morning about making sure that we stick together, even though it’s an incredibly hard stage, very undulating, twisty and tight, the safety is always in numbers.” said Day.
The whole Fly V squad manned the front lap after lap, setting a tempo to keep the gap hovering around two minutes to two and a half minutes. Behind were sitting the GC contenders, waiting, biding their time. Then Day had a minor crash in the feedzone which increased the gap to three minutes.
“It got up to the maximum amount of time because the yellow jersey actually crashed in the feedzone so they gained an extra forty-five seconds probably because everyone slowed down and waited for him to get back in the group.” said Routley.
The Fly V team then upped the pace to close the gap back down. With three laps to go, Jelly Belly put in an attack.
“We wanted to start picking up, Mike Friedman got on the front and just blasted up the climb with three of us behind him so there was four of us lined up. It split the field and there was probably only fifteen guys but then as we came over the top it all came back together, I think guys were still just too fresh.” said Routley.
With one lap to go on Sunset Loop, the gap was down to 55 seconds for the seven riders as Collier, Matthis and Pinfold had dropped back. On the final climb up Sunset, the gap was 26 seconds. What if the break made it to the finish?
“I never really thought it would [stick],” said A. Jacques-Maynes about the break. “only on the last lap, I was like ‘it’s still a minute, oh let’s ride this’. And so I set the pace going up the hill, going as hard as I could, ‘sorry guys I have to roll’ and I didn’t attack them, I knew I needed their help on the descent. I had a few guys that I knew pretty well in the group, my coach was in the group so a couple of guys helped me out.”
The riders flew down from Sunset back to the finishing circuits. “Seriously it was tooth and nail the whole way in, Ben Day was having to ride the very last bit himself. “ said B Jacques-Maynes.
“It wasn’t for a lack of trying, we went all out. From the firehouse to the line we lost about four seconds on the group. We had a gap about fifteen seconds coming into the circuit.” said A Jacques-Maynes.
The break was caught on the first finishing circuit. The UnitedHealthcare train made its way to the front intent on bringing in Sutherland for the win and those bonus seconds. But their plan was disrupted when Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) took a solo flyer with 3 short laps to go. He was caught in the final lap.
With the help of his “boys”, Day defended the yellow jersey from start to finish at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
“I keep harping on my boys because there’s no way in hell I could have done this without them, we were the strongest team out there we’ve proven that this week and that’s why we won Redlands, that’s why we won San Dimas last week and we’re getting better and better, we’re getting more gelled, we’re learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses, we’ve got the inexperienced guys learning at a very fast rate, the Foundation and the processes that we have in the team right now are just going to mean that it’s going to keep on evolving. ” said Day.
The Australian added, “This year US, next year we hope to be in Europe, ProTour 2012, our ambitions, we’re shooting high and we’re going to get there.” said Day. (Read more about Day and the ambitions of the Fly V Australia in an interview conducted between San Dimas and Redlands: Road to the ProTour for Ben Day).
Dionne was emotional after the stage. “Today, goal number one was to keep the jersey, everything was going very well. Ben crashed which put us behind, the boys rolled, and I was saving a little bit. In the end, I had to roll like a maniac, the boys did an incredible job. With three to go, Amaran attacked, I took pulls at the front so it was a little just but I gave it everything. To finish second, almost winning the stage after all that … winning the overall, I’m happy because I want them to have confidence in me for the big races coming up.”
In the end, it was still seconds separating the top riders on GC. B. Jacques-Maynes grabbed one second on the final intermediate time bonus on the finishing circuit to finish at six-tenths of a second down. Routley finished in third spot at three seconds down, and his teammates Jones and Reijnen tied at three seconds. Sutherland finished the day in sixth at four seconds.
“That makes for a great bike race, when it comes down to milliseconds and making him race all the way to the line you can’t get better than that. I have to be satisfied with the way we raced and virtually tied with the race win, so close, it gives me confidence for the next races coming up and the rest of the year, it’s only the beginning of the year here. I feel that I have a lot of room to improve and can continue to race like this as races keep on going.” said B. Jacques-Maynes.
“For me I was pretty psyched, that’s my first win at that level and the first time I’ve been on a podium for the overall GC at a race at that level, it’s a pretty big weekend for me. I’ve had podiums at stages but that was probably the biggest win I’ve had.” said Routley also won the Beaumont stage in a late-race break. The Jelly Belly rider hurried from the podium ceremony to the airport on his way to the Tour of Thailand with his team.
Frattini made his way into the break to move up on GC and ended up winning the KOM competition.
“I was feeling pretty good and went up front to set a high tempo and to gain time. The KOM was there. About half way through the stage I started to think about the KOM. It wasn’t the main goal of the day. The main goal was to close the time gap and climb up on GC. I did not know I won the KOM until about 10 minutes ago!” laughed Frattini as he was waiting for the podium ceremony.
By virtue of rolling at the front in yesterday’s crit, Jay Thomson (Fly V Australia) won the Sprinter’s classification. With four riders in the top 10, BISSELL won the Best Team Classification.
If this first NRC race is any indication, the competition this year should be fun to watch.
“There was so many great bike riders within a bee’s dick to where I was on the GC, Jacques-Maynes so close he had his digs. Rory a proven race winner as well. All dangerous guys, it’s shaping up to be a pretty interesting season with such great teams and such great riders showing such good form, if every race is going to like this it’s going to be a nervous bloody year I can tell you that much. “ said Day.
Stage 3 Top 10 Results
1. Stevens, Evelyn HTC Columbia 3:10:25 10
2. Teutenberg, Ina-Yoko HTC Columbia +0:02
3. Small, Carmen Colavita/Baci pb Cooking Light s.t.
4. Powers, Alison Team Vera Bradley Foundation s.t.
5. Neben, Amber Dare to Be-BMW-Bianchi s.t.
6. Rhodes, Alexis Team Vera Bradley Foundation s.t.
7. Miller, Meredith TIBCO/To The Top Pro Cycling s.t.
8. Carroll, Katharine Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 s.t.
9. Farina, Robin Team Vera Bradley Foundation +0:06
10. Abbott, Mara Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 +0:08
Top 10 Final GC Results
1. Teutenberg, Ina-Yoko HTC Columbia 7:25:45
2. Carroll, Katharine Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 +00:38
3. Rhodes, Alexis Team Vera Bradley Foundation +01:05
4. Neben, Amber Dare to Be-BMW-Bianchi +01:07
5. Stevens, Evelyn HTC Columbia +01:16
6. Abbott, Mara Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 +01:28
7. Powers, Alison Team Vera Bradley Foundation +01:35
8. Miller, Meredith TIBCO/To The Top Pro Cycling +01:39
9. Farina, Robin Team Vera Bradley Foundation +01:46
10. Small, Carmen Colavita/Baci pb Cooking Light +01:49
Top 5 KOM Final Results
1. Frattini, Davide Team Type 1 22 pts
2. Reijnen, Kiel Jelly Belly P/B Kend 18
3. Bowman, Dan Kelly Benefit Strate 17
4. Krasilnikav, Andrei Holowesko Partners U 14
5. Donald, Jason Bahati Foundation Pr 14
Top 5 Sprint Final Results
1. Thomson, Jay Fly V Australia 27
2. Clarke, Hilton Bahati Foundation Pr 25
3. Britton, Rob Bissell Pro Cycling 14
4. Krasilnikav, Andrei Holowesko Partners U 11
5. O’Neill, Nathan Bahati Foundation Pr 10
Top 5 Final Team GC
1. Bissell Pro Cycling 27:47:50
2. Jamis Sutter Home/Colavit +00:03
3. Holowesko Partners U23 +00:07
4. Team Type 1 s.t.
5. Jelly Belly P/B Kenda 27:48:08 @ +00:18
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