RealCyclist.com’s Francisco Mancebo attacked on the steep climb to the finish line to win stage 2 of the Sea Otter Classic and take over the yellow jersey from his teammate Cole House. Andres Diaz (Team Exergy) was second and Jay Thomson (BISSELL) third.
It didn’t take long for riders to attack on the 8-laps around the rolling 7.7-mile Ford Ord loop. The fist time up the climb, BISSELL’s Paul Mach was off with Nate English (Yahoo! Cycling) and Matt Cooke (Exergy) covering. The duo was caught but the attacks continued until four riders managed to escape. Mach and English were off again and were soon joined by John Bennett (CalGiant) and Cooke.
The gap was up to 1:30 with five laps to go as the escapees were catching up to the back of the women’s field. Behind them, RealCyclist.com was at the front setting the pace for yellow jersey Cole House. With less than three to go, the gap was up to 2:15 as the men had passed all but one of the women’s field.
The chase was on in earnest and the escapees were caught inside of two to go. Fireworks went off. CalGiant’s Chris Stastny made a move but was brought back. BISSELL’s Jeremy Vennell counter-attacked and quickly got 20 seconds on the field. Attacks were flying until Mancebo, Diaz and Thomson were off with Thomson sitting on as Vennell was still away at the front. The three stayed together, until Mancebo put in a strong dig and dropped everyone to take the victory, the second in two days for his team.
Cooke leads the KOM classification by 1 point over Mach. Carlos Alzate (Exergy) leads the points classification.
The racing continues with the individual time trial, one loop on the same course, on Saturday afternoon.
Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling). “At the start of the stage, we worked a lot because we were not represented in the 4-rider breakaway. Everyone worked really well for Cole, Grajales and for myself. With two laps to go, I attacked and was with Diaz and a Bissell rider. Diaz and I rolled with the Bissell on our wheel. I knew that the finish would suit me because it was a climb and I was good yesterday. Four of us stayed together until the last kilometer where I attacked full on. A good day for us.”
About racing an omnium. “The goal is to win stages. A GC decided by points is not the same as a time-based GC but at this point we are the leaders, we’ve won two stages and we are happy.”
Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling). “With two laps to go, RealCyclist launched Grajales up the climb, Mancebo going with him, a couple of my teammates joining them. I eventually got back to that front group and went straight on the attack. Through the feedzone, Mancebo and Diaz put in a huge effort from behind, catching me and the CalGiant rider. I managed to accelerate and catch on to their wheel, and with Jeremy up the road I just sat on for as long as I could. We caught Jeremy at the top of the climb with less than a lap to go, and obviously we knew that Mancebo was ahead of both of us on GC so we didn’t want to ride with him but with about 8 Ks to go, on one of the little rollers I put in an effort, attacked to try and get away. Knowing that the final climb is hard and it gets rather steep at the last K and half, I knew that I had to get a sizable gap. Diaz and Mancebo, really classy riders, they kept it within 30 seconds. Coming up that steep section Mancebo came passed me in the big ring, there was nothing I could do, I looked at him, I tried to get on but… I have to be happy with the way I went up the climb, for a guy my size to be up there with them at the end of a hilly course like today. I definitely feel that the form is getting good. I’m really happy but obviously I’d like to win.”
About racing an omnium. “It makes it very interesting. Obviously, I lost 10 seconds, maybe 15 seconds to Mancebo but I’ve only been a short little time behind him and with the time trial tomorrow, and the circuit race on Sunday, it would have made things a little bit different but we’ll see tonight how many points I’m behind. I’m probably 35 points behind him which is not easy to bring back but we’ll put everything in it and we’ll go for it, I didn’t come here to play tic-tac-toe.” (laughs)
Top 5 Stage 2 Results
1. Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling) 2:42:11.0
2. Andres Diaz (Team Exergy) 2:42:11.3
3. Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 2:42:11.7
4. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 2:42:11.7
5. Chris Stastny (California Giant/Specialized) 2:42:46.1
6. Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) 2:42:52.6
7. Cole House (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling) 2:42:58.3
8. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 2:42:58.5
9. John Bennett (California Giant/Specialized) 2:42:58.6
10. Cesar Grajales (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling) 2:42:58.7
Top 10 GC After Stage 2
1. Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling) 199 pts
2. Andres Diaz (Team Exergy) 180
3. Cole House (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling) 153
4. Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) 145
5. Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 126
6. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 105
7. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 103
8. Stephen Leece (NOW-MS Society) 90
9. John Bennett (California Giant/Specialized) 90
10. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 86