Taking advantage of a lull in the attacking, Daniel Ramsey (Full Circle) took a solo flyer on an unexpected portion of the course to win the Tour de Nez on Sunday, an NRC criterium. With a bit less than 30 minutes to go, Ramsey attacked on a somewhat unexpected spot on the course, right before the downhill chicane that led back to the start/finish line straightaway.
Behind him, disorganization reigned in the decimated field, if we can call it that, until three riders came together to give chase, but by that time it was too late and they had to settle for the other podium spots. Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ/Pista Palace) won the 3-up sprint for second ahead of Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Reno-resident Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optumhealth).
The Mighty Tour de Nez brought back the traditional criterium course on Sunday afternoon, and boy did it hurt. The technical course, with its many turns, up and down chicanes, wind and let’s not forget the 4,000+ feet of altitude, quickly caused damage to the men’s field. Attacks started immediately and never really stopped leading to a very dynamic and fluid state at the front of the race. Immediately, the field was strung out and riders shelled and it didn’t take long before officials started pulling riders before they were lapped.
Riders did manage to make it off the front and get a small gap but nothing would stick, the combination was not to the liking of the rest of the 54-rider field and it would start all over again. The aggressors were Bissell, Exergy. KBS-Optumhealth who all launched rider after rider and covered each other’s attacks. Other teams, such as SKLZ/Pista Palace, CalGiant, Marc Pro-Strava were quick to jump on and sometimes shut down a move.
The result was a shattered field with around 30 minutes to go in the 90-minute race. After his attack, Ramsey put his head and pushed, keeping a lap time of 1:49 as he build up his gap to a chase group which re-formed time and time again. With four to go, Ramsey had 29 seconds on the chase group as he started to slow down but by that time, he could not be caught. Candelario and Bahati jumped from the chase to pursue the podium. The duo was joined by Vennell at two laps to go.
Daniel Ramsey (Full Circle Sports). “It happened maybe with about 30 minutes to go. There were just a tons of moves and counter-moves, Ricardo was just following a tons of moves. Every time I’d get up there to follow something, he’d follow the next one and follow the next one so I made sure to try to get up there. Finally I hit at the right time were everybody just sat and looked at each other. I’m not on a pro teams so all the pro teams were looking at each other, and if you get them at the right time, the pro teams are going to look at each other a little too long. And then I knew that Ricardo was going to be there, bust everybody’s balls essentially and they weren’t going to be happy with that. He raced perfectly and I was extremely lucky to have him back there.”
Going through your mind as the gap was going up? “I did not really know how big it was. People were telling me ten seconds, I kept looking back, I was hurting really bad, I did not think I was going to be able to hold that pace, I kept it really steady but I was one hundred percent pegged. I was like well if somebody goes really hard back there, I’m going to get caught so I’ll just keep it as steady as I can, the wind was actually really hard today, on that backstretch the wind just slowed you down and it felt horrible. I knew that behind they would have the same problems that I was too.”
Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ p/b Pista Palace). “It was interesting because I had a guy, Eric, Kelly Benefit had two or three guys so it almost felt like a lot of responsibility was on them (in the chase group). Started to play cat and mouse games, I didn’t really mind because I knew I would have a good sprint so it was either wait it out for the sprint, or go back to the field and sprint. Either one was fine for me. Candelario was out there, trying to motivate the guys to chase and not chase, but it worked out in our favor to get a podium. I think that’s what we wanted, we didn’t win but Daniel is a Southern California boy so happy for him.”
Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling). “It was hard to be on the front because of the wind so if you went, you could get away but it was very difficult to stay away. I was pretty impressed with the guy that won that way, he’s a very strong ride that he did, very strong. “
About the final sprint for 2nd. “I thought I had a good shot coming out of the corner first, I thought I had it. I should have kept on going, I think I eased up. I felt really bad today so I’m happy with the results I got. I thought I wasn’t going to finish for awhile. That little hill every time you come to it is really hard, that’s tough. Every time, you come around, you think ‘oh here we go again.’ It was windy over the top so to get away was really difficult.”
About the team plan. “Trying to [get into breaks]. I had to sit back for awhile there, I was a bit tired. The other guys, everyone, Andy, Ben and Paul, had a go so that was really good. I don’t know who was up the road but I tried to go across to him, I never really got close to him. I had to bridge across to the break so by the time I got up there, he had already gone. “
Top 10 Tour de Nez Results
1. Daniel Ramsey (Full Circle Sports) 01:31:56
2. Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ p/b Pista Palace) 01:32:37
3. Jeremy Vennell (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 01:32:37
4. Alexander Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optumhealth) 01:32:37
5. Ricardo Escuela (Full Circle Sports) 01:33:03
6. Eric Marcotte (SKLZ p/b Pista Palace) 01:33:04
7. Daniel Holloway (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Optumhealth) 01:33:08
8. Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling) 01:33:14
9. Steve Reaney (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) 01:33:15
10. Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava) 01:33:16