“A good accomplishment.” said Mike Northey of the Rubicon-ORBEA; Benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation team. “We walked away with something and Taylor was up there in the young rider and amateur as well, it’s good.”
Northey was awarded the Most Aggressive jersey and his teammate Taylor Gunman, in his first race in the US, finished third in the Best Young Rider and second in the Best Amateur competitions.
One of the young Kiwis on the team, 23-year old Northey went on the attack at the Stillwater Criterium, the final stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The Stillwater crit is well known for the leg-breaking Chilkoot Hill, with an average grade of 18% – some say 20% – on the 2.2 km (1.4 mi) course.
Northey bridged up to a solo rider at the front to form a 4-rider break with 12 laps to go in the 20-lap race. Two laps later, after the King of the Hill sprint, the other three sat up and pulled the plug om the break. But Northey wasn’t willing to give up and kept on going solo. With the fans cheering him on, he kept on pushing with a gap up to 25 seconds to the field.
“I was out there, so I might as well keep going and hopefully someone will come across but no one really did and I think Jamis ended pulling me back in.” he explained. “Kelly Benefit seemed to be more than happy to let me get away, I was in no contention but oh well I had a go.”
But he was caught with less than 8 laps to go as the Jamis/Sutter Home pushed the pace at the front of the field to set up an attack for the GC contender.
“I just tried to push my way in and hang in as long as I could.” said Northey after he was reeled in. He was dropped from the lead group with two laps to go and finished 38th on the stage at 3’05″ down.
“Haven’t had fund memories of this course.” This was his second time racing at Nature Valley Grand Prix. Last year, he had the lead in the Best Young Rider jersey but lost it to one of his teammate at the Stillwater Crit.
“This was better, at least I could do something today. Last year, I just hung on as long as I could,” smiled Northey, “but died trying.”
After a day off, Northey and his team are racing for the next sux days at the Tour of America’s Dairyland.