Sprinter Anibal Borrajo (Jamis/Sutter Home) waited in the field, quietly resting as much as possible, while the field reeled in the break with 2 km to go. And then he hit the gas to overtake Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing) and Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) at the line to win stage 2 of the Joe Martin Stage Race.
No changes to the GC. Mancebo remains in the yellow and with the time bonus second for the top three, increased his lead to 7 seconds over Ben Jacques-Maynes and 9 seconds on Jeremy Vennell both of BISSELL. Borrajo takes over the green points jersey and Joey Rosskopf (Team Type 1 Development) moves into the white best young rider jersey.
The attacks were off pretty early in the 110 miles (177 km) stage with the goal of putting pressure on Mancebo’s team. Nothing was sticking on the rolling terrain in the beautifully green Northwest Arkansas countryside. Finally, after 50 km of attacks, two riders escaped during a lull in the attacking. Jay Thomson (BISSELL) and Guido Palma (Jamis/Sutter Home) rolled away and pushed the gap up to over two minutes by the climb to the first feedzone. The two were reeled in for the next round of fireworks, the climb up to Mount Gaylor.
Once again, the pressure was applied on the 9-mile climb and Mancebo had to cover attacks himself. By the top of the climb, four riders were off, Scott Lyttle (Pure Black Racing), Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), Freddy Cruz (Chipotle Development) and Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development) who managed to bridge up just before the second and final feed.
The gap grew to 40 seconds as the four men pushed the pace on the fast downhill back to Fayetteville. The gap was still holding at 15 seconds with 5 km to go but they were reeled in with less than 2km to go. The bunch sprint was on. Van Uden came out first of the last corner charging the uphill finish with Mancebo right behind him and the two had a small gap. Borrajo put in a great kick to close the gap in the final meters and take the win as the three men threw their bikes over the finish line.
Racing continues on Saturday with the 104 miles (167 km) which includes four laps of the 23-mile loop with over 1,500 feet of climbing per lap; more rolling terrain. You can expect another throwdown with teams trying to put pressure on RealCyclist once again.
Anibal Borrajo (James Sutter Home p/b Colavita). “It was so close, Mancebo and Van Uden opened the gap in the last corner and it was so close, I closed the gap in the last 5 meters for the photo finish.”
“We planned today for the sprint for me, I just raced conservative and the rest of my teammates tried to cover the moves. We put a guy in the break, Guido Palma, they did a wonderful job and then we just sat and waited for the sprint. I had three of my teammates helping me in the last Ks and everything worked perfectly. ”
About the final run-in through town. “It was difficult for me because we were a little bit in the back in the S-turn and the last hill at 1km, I did a sprint with Alejandro to recover my position, then I did a long sprint, it was so so difficult to get Paco and Van Uden. They did the sprint really well but this is cycling, sometimes you win for a centimeter or sometimes more. It’s better a centimeter.” (smiles)
Did Jamis/Sutter Home assist in chasing down break? “We didn’t put any riders [in the chase rotation] because that was a fight between BISSELL and RealCyclist and we just try to win the stage. But in the last Ks, I think V Australia gave a hand to RealCyclist because they have Cantwell and he’s always a good card for the sprint.”
Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing). “Our plan for the team was to have a good prologue so we did that (laughs). Which pretty much put me in first ever GC position which I didn’t enjoy today, having to sit in. I like to attack. I had to relax and just go with the flow. I got told off for making one move early on. (laughs)”
About the break. “A few young guys are here to mix it up, they haven’t raced yet so they were attacking off the front trying to get into the move today which unfortunately we missed at about 55 km or something. We missed that which wasn’t too bad since it was only two guys, so we just chilled and waited to hit that hill. Scott Lyttle got into a move at the top of the climb, they got up to 40 seconds. RealCyclist was forced to go to the front again and they ran out of guys so they only got caught with about one Km to go. ”
About the sprint. “RealCyclist lined up, then BISSELL, then Pure Black, and I just tried to hold top position as far as I could to the finish. I knew we had to be on the right side of the bunch because the wind would come from the left so I was sheltered but as it always does it got a bit messy coming into the last turn. I followed my teammate Shem Rodger through the first two corners, Mancebo thought he’d have a little bit of a crack in the first hill but we stayed calm, he looked around and waited. Then, I said to Shem ‘drill it, drill it, drill it’, it was about one Km to go, he led me through 500 meters into the corner and then I went around him. Had a bit of gap around the corner, tried to hold, I think he caught me in the last two meters, we were all in a big throw for the line. I want to win a stage, I’m looking forwards to the crit.”
Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Team). “The first 50 km was really aggressive, a lot of people were trying to put pressure on to RealCyclist, it’s their race to lose. It was our tactics to put pressure on and see how it went. It slowed down for the next 50 km leading up to the climb which was surprising, and two guys had slipped away. They slipped away at a quiet moment, everyone called truce for a little while. We hit the big climb and it was super-aggressive up there and we started attacking, basically we wanted to reduce the field down and again put pressure onto the leaders which we managed to do. Mancebo was under quite a bit of pressure and having to ride himself which was good for us. Freddy snuck away with a little group in the middle section where it flattens out. They were away and I saw a moment so jumped across over the top which was quite a hard bridge. I got there just as we went over the top through the last feed.”
About the break. “We had to work really hard along that top to push out the gap, it was actually a headwind for quite a bit which was making it difficult. We managed to get it out to 40 seconds and it was still looking good all the way to 15 km to go and then Andy started sitting on which I’m still trying to work out why. That pulled the impetus out of it for a bit and I think we got picked up at 2 km to go. A but frustrating but we laid out on the line, we’ll keep doing that all week I think.”
Top 10 Stage 2 Results (Complete Results)
1. Anibal Borrajo (James Sutter Home p/b Colavita) 4:12:50
2. Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing)
3. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling Team)
4. Frank K Pipp (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
5. Bernard Sulzberger (V Australia)
6. Michael Northey (Pure Black Racing)
7. Danny Summerhill (Chipotle Development Team)
8. Ty Magner (Team Type 1-Development)
9. Ryan Aitcheson (Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist)
10. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
Top 10 GC After Stage 2 (Complete Results)
1. Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) 4:20:46
2. Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:07
3. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:09
4. Paul Mach (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 0:10
5. Roman Van Uden (Pure Black Racing) 0:12
6. Cesar Grajales (Realcyclist.com Pro Cycling Team) 0:23
7. Frank K Pipp (BISSELL Pro Cycling)
8. Christophe Parrish (Hagens Berman Cycling) 0:26
9. Darren Rolfe (V Australia)
10. Michael Northey (Pure Black Racing) 0:29