23 laps of non-stop aggression. The attacks kept on coming in the fourth and final stage of the men’s Sea Otter Classic Stage Race with BISSELL the main aggressor. In the end however, Brazilian Raul Cancado (Passion Bikes) was able to win the stage out of a splintering break. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL) was second and Cesar Grajales (RealCyclist.com) third.
Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) easily retained the yellow obtained after winning the road race two days ago. Team Exergy took home the win in two classification with Carlos Alzate claiming the sprint and Matt Cooke, the KOM overall.
It was game on from the get go, literally with Yahoo! Cycling launching an attack less than 50 meters from the start and it really never stopped. It was the last chance for teams to win a stage after RealCyclist.com has taken the first three and stage placings were all important to try and move up on GC with the overall being points based as opposed to time based.
Attacks, counter-attacks and counter-counter-attacks (?) were not stop in the first few laps. A gap would be created on the climb to the KOM, then the group would come back together on the screaming descent down the corkscrew and around the windy backside. The casualties were the riders shelled off the back. Along with BISSELL, Yahoo! Cycling, Marc Pro-Strava and Exergy all sent riders up the road with RealCyclist.com covering the moves. For Mancebo, the only rider to watch was Andres Diaz (Exergy) and the two were glued together for the whole race.
With 16 laps to go, a break was established. It included Paul Mach, Chase Pinkham, Jeremy Vennell and A. Jacques-Maynes of BISSELL, Cooke and Erik Slack of Exergy, Thomas Rabou and Grajales of RealCyclist.com, Justin Rossi of Marc Pro-Strava, Nate English of Yahoo! Cycling, Kirk Carlsen of Chipotle Development Team and Cancado.
With 12 to go, Mancebo was overheard telling his riders at the front of the field to slow it down with the gap at 1:30, the team was content to feather the gap and let the break go for it. Meanwhile, a trio was trying to bridge, Chris Stastnsy (CalGiant), Kevin Mullervy and B. Jacques-Maynes who was covering the move for BISSELL. After a few laps, the chase group was re-absorbed.
Attacks never really stopped in the break which splintered and came back together multiple times. With two laps to go, the break was down to five riders, A. Jacques-Maynes, Cooke, English, Grajales and Cancado. After dropping his chain, Pinkham chased back on, went straight to the front and kept on going getting the bell lap with five seconds on the others but he was reeled in. Ace climber Grajales put in a vicious attack in the climb but he was also caught and the sprint was on.
Raul Cancado (Passion Bikes). “There were four BISSELL guys in the group and they kept attacking for the other teams that have to worked hard. I was in the right position and I was able to go into the draft most of the time so I didn’t have to work that much during the race. I used the BISSELL team to stay on the right wheel at the right time and it worked out.” (through a translator)
About reeling in the pair on final lap. “I had to work hard and the two guys seemed a little bit tired. I put a lot of effort in and the two guys were reeled in. It came down to the sprint and I had a little bit more.”
Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling). “It started at the last KOM sprint. Matt Cooke was going for it and I knew he was going to do it so I shoulder tapped Nate because I knew he would want to go, ‘he’s going to go on the KOM, let’s go on top of him and keep going’. That’s what I did and Nate wasn’t there so I was away solo a lap and a half. And then, here comes Nate so I waited. He came up, he was just charging. A few more guys come up to us and then it split again and more guys came up. The second to last time up the hill, there was only four guys, one more guy came up. Then, my teammate Chase dropped his chain at the bottom of the climb with two laps to go, he chased back on, he went straight through and kept on going. He was off the front at the bell. I could see him coming and I was ‘please please go straight through’ and he just sailed by and I could see in his face that he was giving it everything he could. Then Grajales just went absolute ape-shit on the last climb and it was everything I had just to get back to him. He went from the bottom of the feedzone, I had to let him go and then come back on him, that was the deepest I’ve gone in a long time. I was able to catch back on the descent and then he wanted to stay ahead of Matt Cooke to displace points but then he sat on me and let Matt Cooke and the other guy who won, they came up to us then only on the last quarter lap. So it was still desperate times, everybody was just like ‘no you go, no you go, aaaah’. It was messy.”
About the break. “It was so dynamic, it was hard to keep track. Every time I thought we’re away and they’d come with the moto official, ‘you’ve got 45 seconds’ and then you look back the next lap and four guys just bridged up and you’re like ‘where the hell did they come from?’ So, it was all about, if you could sit behind wheels you’re resting on the flats and then you just give it everything up the hill and if you’re on the front on the flats, you’re just surviving on the hill. The speed differences were pretty big.”
About a points-based omnium. “It’s not what we’re used to racing so I think everybody was overly aggressive and they don’t have their tactics worked out. The only time I’ve done omnium stuff is the track for points race, I’m not good enough to be able to do the math in my head while I’m breathing through my eyeballs. My brother is pretty good at that just from experience but I’m not.” (laughs)
Top 10 Stage 4 Results
1. Raul Cancado (Passion Bikes) 2:05:08
2. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) st
3. Cesar Grajales (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) +00:01
4. Matt Cooke (Team Exergy) +00:02
5. Chase Pinkham (BISSELL Pro Cycling) +00:06
6. Nate English (Yahoo! Cycling Team) st
7. Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Strava) +01:00
8. Thomas Rabou (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) +01:06
9. Kirk Carlsen (Chipotle Development Team)
10. Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling) +01:08
Top 10 Final GC
1. Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) 297 points
2. Andres Diaz Corales (Team Exergy) 263
3. Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 236
4. Jay Thomson (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 193
5. Cole House (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) 187
6. Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) 186
7. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 173
8. Raul Cancado (Passion Bikes) 166
9. Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 165
10. Cesar Grajales (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) 159