For the second stage in a row, Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) found his way into the break of the day at the Amgen Tour of California. On stage 2, he was awarded the Breakaway From Cancer Most Courageous jersey and then, on stage 3, it was the Exergy Most Aggressive rider jersey. For the third day in a row, a Bissell rider was in the break and was awarded a jersey at the end of the stage.
After the stage, Vennell admitted that his legs felt tired. “I went in the first kilometer and the start being so difficult, the first KOM in the first 10 miles made it a rough start. I was very lucky, I had good legs and Bissell’s plan was to be in the break today so I was the lucky one to be there. Havingbeen in the break yesterday didn’t really matter today, you take it as it comes.”
Once again, the early move went just like the first two days. “The first day, it was the first move and I think with Liquigas controlling the race so much that does it make easier the initial attack to go.” commented Vennell.
On stage 2, an early two rider break escaped soon after the race start was given following the neutral section. “It was just two riders and we had a pee stop so I don’t know if that counts.” laughed Vennell. That early move was reeled in before another break, which included the New Zealander, was away 50 kilometers into the stage.
And then, four riders escaped on Tuesday’s stage. “Today with that first climb, a lot of guys had tired legs, getting dropped. The ones that took the opportunity to risk it made the break.” he explained.
Vennell found himself with three others off the front, Wilson Marentes Torres (Colombia-Codeportes), Sebastian Salas (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Jonathan Patrick McCarty (Spidertech p/b C10). While Salas and McCarty were locked in a battle for the KOM points, Salas to get the points and McCarty to protect his teammate David Boily‘s lead, Vennell and Torres were looking for a stage win.
“Right from start on the first KOM, the other two were playing games, going for the KOM jersey so they made it very difficult for us two so we were mucking around, I had a couple of digs.” Vennell said.
The four were still together as they crested the second climb of the day on Mt Diablo but Salas soon fell off the pace on the descent, his job was done for the day. Vennell attacked and was joined by Torres. “I’m glad that when I finally did attack really hard that we dropped those two. It made a lot easier for us two to work together.”
The two continued to push the pace, holding a gap on the field and Vennell started to think that maybe today was the day that the break made it to the finish line.
“When we had a tailwind I felt really good and then, we turned and I think we were still holding around five minutes and I thought that if we made it to the climb, it’s mostly downhill after that, I think we had a shot there but as soon as it came down very fast, there was no hope from there I think.”
But then, the sprinters teams hit the front and the gap started to tumble down. The pair shook hands before being caught on the third climb, up Patterson Pass.
“I’m very happy with the way I rode today considering the stage.” Vennell concluded. “There was a moment there maybe I thought that we would stay away, we were holding them for awhile but we turned on the plains and the wind just really sapped all the energy we had, it was a bit disappointing.”