What threatened to be a straightforward stage ended with a shakeup in the GC at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. John Murphy (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) won one intermediate sprint to take over the general classification lead from Tom Zirbel (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) by just one second, the result of winning just one of the three time bonus opportunities. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda Cycling Team) finished second and Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis/Sutter Home) third.
Though the race seemed at the outset to be a fairly conservative and predictable, the resulting GC shakeup showed patience and strategy as other teams took advantage of Team Optum’s responsibility to protect Zirbel’s yellow jersey. Murphy and the Kenda/5hr Energy squad waited for the perfect time to strike. Jelly Belly sat tucked quietly in the peloton, waiting for the last few laps to organize Huff’s lead out and attack. Team Exergy tucked behind the Team Optum front wedge, popping out just for sprint points and practicing their timing for the final sprint.
“He is very happy because our team is sponsoring the jersey so he’s going to try to keep it till the end,” said Alzate through teammate and translator Andres Diaz. Alzate will wear the Exergy Sprinter’s jersey into tomorrow’s Cannon Falls Road Race.
When asked if worried about carrying the yellow jersey through to the finish at the Stillwater Criterium, Murphy said, “It’s always better to have the yellow jersey than to chase it.”
“I was second overall here in 2008 with my teammate Rory [Sutherland] winning. I’m not afraid of the hills here.”
Though there was a shuffle in the general classification, the race was well controlled, holding true to Team Optum’s strategy to win the overall classification in Stillwater rather than chase stage wins.
Scott Zwizanski (Team Optum) keeps his Sport Beans King of the Hill jersey and Devan Dunn (CashCall Mortgage) defends the Nature Valley Top Amateur jersey and TRIA Orthopaedic Center Best Young Rider jersey heading into the Cannon Falls Road Race.
Top 10 Stage 2 Results
1. Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) 1.15’42”
2. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda Cycling Team)
3. Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis Sutter Home)
4. Freddie Rodriguez (Team Exergy)
5. Eric Young (Bissell Pro Cycling)
6. #Tim Rugg (Champion System p/b Stan’s NoTubes)
7. Ricardo Van der Velde (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda Cycling Team)
8. Hector Hugo Rangel (Mexican National Team)
9. John Murphy (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder)
10. Tommy Nankervis (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team)
Top 10 GC After Stage 2
1. John Murphy (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) 1.31’37”
2. Tom Zirbel (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 1″
3. Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) 5″
4. Scott Zwizanski (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) 7″
5. Bobby Sweeting (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) 15″
6. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling) 18″
7. Mike Olheiser (Competitive Cyclist Racing Team) 18″
8. Andres Diaz (Team Exergy) 19″
9. Andy Jacques-Maynes (Kenda/5hr Energy p/b Geargrinder) 21″
10. Eric Young (Bissell Pro Cycling) 23″