Everyone knew that the BISSELL team would come to the front to try to take control the 100+ rider field in stage 3 of the MERCO Credit Union Cycling Classic, the Downtown Grand Prix. And that’s exactly what they did. The nine riders lined up with GC leader Ben Jacques-Maynes sitting seventh wheel right in front of the two team sprinters and set a high pace. No one was able to get away from the BISSELL jurgernaut but a few brave souls tried, especially the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda team led by Sergio Hernandez’ non-stop attacks.
Stay tuned for photo gallery.
Behind the BISSELL, the sprinters such as Ken Hanson (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth), Freddie Rodriguez (Team Specialized Racing Masters) and Ricky Escuela (Full Circle Sports) bided their time, waiting for the inevitable bunch sprint.
Escuela launched his sprint from the hairpin turn at 450 meters to go and held on for the win, inches ahead of a surging Kyle Wamsley (BISSELL). Wamsley’s teammate Paddy Bevin took third.
With one stage to go, the 120-mile Almond Blossom Road Race BISSELL is in control with 5 riders at the top of the GC.
Ricky Escuela (Full Circle Sports). “I knew that they [BISSELL] were going to control the race, so I just stayed in the top 10 and once it came down in the final few laps be up there and go for the sprint.”
About the final lap. “I was fifth or sixth and I was third on the last turn, and I came out the last few hundred meters and as you saw, Wamsley almost got me and I had to fight hard.”
Kyle Wamsley (BISSELL). “With nine guys on the front, I think it just took so much energy to pass the whole train that once they got out there, they didn’t have any horsepower to pull off the the front. So it was less of a matter of letting anything go and more just causing too big of a roadblock to get people opportunity to attack. The u-turn causes problems with that, you just can’t hold speed, you have to do a standing start every lap, that saps the legs.”
About the final laps. “They just kind of ramped it up a little bit the last 10 laps, maybe we hit out just a little bit early but, maybe from about five or six to go, it finally got fast and a little bit safer going in and out of that u-turn. The most important thing was that we were real safe and we had Jay going into the u-turn first which was the plan on the last lap. I got a little boxed up with a couple of guys shooting inside of me on the u-turn but luckily at least on that lap, everybody got out of there clean and safe. I ended up having to take a run on Escuela’s wheel I just ran out a little bit or real estate there at the end but it’s early in the season and I’m super happy with the way everybody raced and everybody is safe for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a long day and we need all our skin.”
Top 10 Results
1 Ricky Escuela (Full Circle Sports) 1.23’47″
2 Kyle Wamsley (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
3 Patrick Bevin (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
4 Logan Loader (RideClean p/b PatentIt.com)
5 Kenneth Hanson (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)
6 Freddie Rodriguez (Team Specialized Racing Masters)
7 Michael Friedman (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)
8 Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
9 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 5″
10 John Bennett (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)
Top 10 GC After Stage 3
1 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 5.12’58″
2 Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 10″
3 Robert Britton (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 18″
4 Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 40″
5 John Bennett (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) 50″
6 Julian Kyer (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) 2’23″
7 Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 6’12″
8 Frank K Pipp (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 6’22″
9 Nathaniel English (Yahoo! Cycling Team) 8’02″
10 Alexander Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) 8’05″