When Rory Sutherland heard the news, he tweeted, “My life is complete.” Tim Johnson of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis had won a race, and it was a road race, not cyclocross.
Wednesday, a day before his 33rd birthday, Johnson won the Fidelity Investments Gran Prix of Beverly presented by Beverly Hospital, not only his home-town race, but the race he helped get started last year.
“It’s my first road win in quite some time,” Johnson said. “It was awesome to finally get a win, but to do it in my hometown in front of a lot of family and friends makes it so much better.
“The atmosphere was fantastic,” he said. “Last year we had about a thousand spectators. This year, we had three times the spectators, and all the fields were full. Even the kids’ race had over 100 riders chomping at the bit to race. The city closed down the main street in downtown and all the bars and restaurants along the course were serving people out on the sidewalk.”
Johnson was part of a three-rider move that included Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefits) and Gavin Manion (Trek-Livestrong) which lapped the 100-rider strong field during the 90-minute criterium. The field also included Johnson’s teammate, Jake Keough, another Massachusetts resident.
In the end, Johnson out-sprinted Anthony to take the victory, which also came with the honor of State Criterium Champion of Massachusetts. The win comes nearly four months after Johnson fractured his ankle during the opening time trial of the Dana Point Grand Prix. He returned to racing in July, starting with the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, also in Massachusetts. His first race back with his teammates came this past weekend at the Tour of Elk Grove.
“The team has been very motivating,” he said. “I’ve been desperate to get back racing with the guys. Elk Grove was great, though the outcome wasn’t perfect. But every guy bled for Karl (Menzies).”
Johnson will once again join the team for the U.S. Pro Criterium Championships in a couple weeks, likely back in his role as super domestique, working to help Keough earn the national champion’s jersey. He’ll go from there to the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on the 17th. “I hope to be OK for both of those,” he said.