Though the tactics might have changed slightly from last year, Bissell once again put their men at the front in the finale of stage 2 of the SRAM Tour of the Gila to deliver their rider for the win. This year, it was US Pro Crit Champion Eric Young who raised his arms in victory.
“In the downhill coming into that right hand corner, there was four of us at the front, Jeremy (Vennell), Frank (Pipp), Ben (Jacques-Maynes) and me and we took over the front. And then, at the right-hand corner, Ben was at the front, the Frank and me.” Young told podiuminsight.
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“Through the last corner, Competitive Cyclist actually came over the top of us on the right-hand corner, I slotted in behind their three guys and then just in that left-hand bend with about 400 meters or so, there was kind of a lull and that’s when I went. I was out of the saddle for awhile, sat down to try and close it in to the line. They closed it down, it was probably only a bike length at that point but I held on, that was it.” continued the 23-year old that his teammates call Quadzilla.
He knew that he had the win with 50 meters to go. “When I sat down, I thought, just because I couldn’t see anybody at that point, just when you come over that crest.”
Though he made it sound simple, it was not easy. He added, “That was a hard win for me.”
The whole team, focused on the stage win, stayed in the field while two breaks made their way up the road. As for Young, it was all about getting over the three climbs in his first participation at the Tour of the Gila.
“It’s hard doing this race. I just really wanted to get over the climbs and the whole team was helping me out great with that. Everybody was there for me which was really good. ”
The wrestling for control of the front of the field started when they crested the final climb after reeling in the break. With less than 2 kilometers to go, it was Bissell who had control.
“We took over a little later because it wasn’t windy. If you took over too early, everybody is just going to sit.” stated Bissell DS Omer Kem,
Then it was up to Youmg. “And then coming to the line, I know I’m a good sprinter so I know I can win and we got lucky enough to do it, it was awesome. This was a huge goal for us.”
This victory was definitely the biggest one of the year for Young, so far that is. “It’s a UCI race, it’s huge for me. And when the competition here, the level of the playing field, it’s huge for me.”
With the win, Young also picked up the green sprint jersey. More points will be on the line in Saturday’s criterium where Young is going for the win.
As for defending the green jersey, Kem said with a smile, “The stage win will keep the jersey, it’s not worth chasing points.”
Racing continues on Friday morning with the 16.15 miles (26km) Dan Potts Memorial Tyrone Individual Time Trial.