With a shortened flat stage, the formula was somewhat formulaic today, an early break reeled in before the finishing circuits followed by the final bunch sprint. So why do it? Why put your nose in the wind? The possibility, though very slim, that the move might make it to the line and especially in Monday’s stage, for exposure.
It worked for Jamey Driscoll (Jamis/Sutter Home) in his first Amgen Tour of California. For spending most of the shortened 76-mile (123km) stage 2 in a four-rider break, the 24-year old was awarded the Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous Rider jersey.
Getting on the podium is a big deal for Driscoll and for his Continental team. “It’s a huge deal to get the jersey that I got today during a sprinter stage, especially racing in the backyard of our sponsor Sutter Home. It was great exposure for our sponsors and I am looking forward to wearing the jersey to the sponsor dinner tonight.”
Driscoll’s personal goal for the stage race came from a conversation with his 2010 cyclocross teammate on the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com team, Jeremy Powers.
“It’s kind of easy to say now, Powers and I were talking, ‘Driscoll you have to get into the break, you have to do it,” he smiled and added, “alright, check”.
Driscoll’s job along with three teammates today was to cover moves. “I saw Tom [Zirbel] cover one, it came back and I covered the next two and the second one was the one that stuck.”
The four riders worked together on the flat roads leading to Sacramento gaining as much as five-minute on the field but it was down to less than 30 seconds with 17km to go. The break was soon caught with Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), the final rider to be re-absorbed after a solo attack.
But by time, the jersey had already been awarded to Driscoll who was shelled off the back of the speeding peloton that included the Jamis/Sutter Home car with DS Sebastian Alexandre.
“I did not expect to get on the podium at all. That’s a pretty big bonus. The biggest bonus was when Seba told me, I got the jersey because I had just been spit out the back, passing through in the caravan, ‘ah it’s about the best news I can hear right now.”
Not only did Driscoll race a full cross season which ended with Cyclocross World Championships at the end of January, he is, or was, a full-time student at the University of Vermont. He just graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree. (Read more about Driscoll)
“I took exams Monday and Tuesday, flew here Thursday so I was checking online for the updates. Saturday is when I got the last grade.” said Driscoll who missed his commencement this week. “ It was worth it because this jersey is a good replacement for my cap and gown.”
His preparation for the biggest race in the US is something else he learned from Powers.
“Some people said that you should race more in preparation for this but I think a true rest from cross would be better and than not having that much racing and be just fresh for this.” he explained. “That’s generally what I did, just a lot of big base miles. Really the only racing that I did was Gila for intensity before this.”
Now that Driscoll has met his personal goals and more for the race, is he going to go into any more breaks? His answer was a smile.