Fifteen minutes into the 60-minute criterium, stage 1 of the Sea Otter Classic men’s stage race and the winning move was up the road. Morgan Schmitt (Team Exergy), Connor McCutcheon (Green Bike/Bike Religion) and Andy Jacques-Maynes (Kenda/5-Hr Energy) were off slowly building a gap to over one minute by the finale. In the end, Jacques-Maynes took the win ahead of McCutcheon and Schmitt. (Read replay of tweets)
It wasn’t just the two pro teams, Kenda/5-Hr Energy and Exergy, that were sending riders off the front from the beginning, young amateur McCutcheon had also made a few attempts. Then, the just-turned 21 year old rider from California jumped in the right counter-move and the trio was off.
“I went early a few times and then just ended up getting in with the good guys, and I was able to work with them.” McCutcheon said after the race.
The trio worked well together and the young amateur rider took his pulls as they increased their gap, holding for a long time at 40 minutes and then it blew up to one minute by the final sprint. Throughout the race, McCutcheon took top points in three of the four points sprints to wind up in the sprinters jersey.
“We were working together just to stay away and they kind of let me have the points so that was very nice of them, it’s a big deal for a young rider like myself.” he added.
Though he has won the Cascade criterium as a Cat2, McCutcheon considered today’s race his best result, so far.
He now sits at seven seconds down from Jacques-Maynes with three stages to go, a hilly road stage, a time trial and a circuit race.
McCutcheon plan for the next three days? “Hold on.” he replied with a smile.
Stage 2 on Friday starts at 12pm PT. Follow the action live on @podium_live