• Nino Schurter Wins Nove Mesto WC

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    World Cup Victory on Spark – When it gets technical, the World Champion is unstoppable- Schurter rides his Spark 700 to his first WC win ever on a full suspension bike.

    Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. What a great pay back for the missing luck in the first round of the World Cup. Nino is back winning in style while Florian Vogel missed the podium by seconds- he finished in good 7th place. Both riders were riding the SCOTT Spark 700 full suspension bike instead of theoir hard tails. Nice to have the choice of the best of both worlds.

    3rd Win in Nove Mesto- Nino celebrating the "hatrick" in Nove Mesto.
    It was the first time this season the "Big Three" got together to compete for the crown at the World Cup. The World Cup leader Julien Absalon already showed he is hot this season. Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy is always on the run on his home turf and last but not least- Nino Schurter badly wanted to get his first World Cup win of the year. The 19'500 spectators could not ask for more heat in the fire.

    The cross-country skiing arena of Nove Mesto has the perfect setup for a great MTB event.
    Even the tactic is not new to Nino's competitors, the World Champion's attack right from the gun still works excellent. Both Absalon and Kulhavy lost important seconds already in the start loop. Nino's tactic to put them into the hurt box right away played well. Absalon tried hard to close the gap but struggled after a crash. Kulhavy looked fast but unfortunately flatted while trying to catch Nino.

    The World Champion setting the pace of the race on the SCOTT Spark 700. The World Champion setting the pace of the race on the SCOTT Spark 700.

    This left the World Champion in a confident lead after only 1.5 laps. He paced himself well, even let the strong riding Martin Fanger and Stephane Tempier closing up. When also the young Swiss Fanger got a flat front tire, he left Nino in the lead with a home run. It seemed the missing luck of Pietermaritzburg was back on Nino's side. He did win the Nove Mesto World Cup for the third time in a row. Frenchmen Stephane Tempier, German champion Moritz Milatz, Daniel McConnel and Julien Absalon filled up the podium spots.

    The "Rockgarden King" in one of Nove Mesto's DH The "Rockgarden King" in one of Nove Mesto's DH

    The release was written in his eyes. This win came at the right time and place. Nino's comment to his 11th world cup victory: "For a change I choose to ride my SCOTT Spark 700 RC instead of my SCOTT Scale 700 RC as usual. It sure was the right choice for todays rough course. I'm stoked about my first ever World Cup win on a full suspension bike. Today the luck sure was on my side. I made it trough without any mechanicals or crashes. My biggest contenders are not able to say that. So cool to be back on the top of the business."


    "For a change I choose to ride my Spark 700 instead of my Scale 700 as usual. It sure was the right choice for todays rough course."

    Nino Schurter, World Champion
    SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

    Our second iron in the fire was Florian Vogel. After a strong first lap he was always part of Nino's chasing group. Riding smart he was able to save some energy towards the end of the race. 4th to 7th place where only 20 seconds apart, which showers he is right there to be back on the podium. He also looks at it like this: "I was stoked to stay on Absalon's wheel all race long. In our group all riders started to make little mistakes, so did I. Only a little bit more power in the last half lap and I would be in Top 5. This gives me hope to the next two important races to come, the World Cup in Albstadt and the European Championship in St. Wendel, where I won the title in 2008."

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    Marcel Wildhaber had a steady race to 36th place. In the Eliminator competition on Friday, the Swiss champion did not advance to the final. He finished in 10th. Also Jenny Rissveds did not make the final in the Eliminator, but won the small final to become 5th. In the U23 XCO race she started as the leader of the series, but bad luck took all the chances to defend her leaders jersey. In the startloop her chain got caught in between the frame. She made the best out of it finishing 8th.

    In the Men U23 competition we saw Andri Frischknecht riding to his best ever World Cup result. He pushed himself into the top 15 after the start loop and remained there. More, with a very fast last lap he was first of big group that was fighting for 11th place. Dutch rider Michi van der Heijden is the great winner of the race.

    Well done!

  • Eric Marcotte of Team SmartStop wins USA Pro Nationals!

    Photo: Jonathan Devich epiciomages.us

    Team SmartStop have defied the odds finishing first and second at the USA Pro Road Race National Championships.

    In an incredible day racing in Chattanooga, Team SmartStop played the race to perfection during the 165.5km to bring Eric Marcotte. Travis McCabe and Julian Kyer home in first, second and fifth respectively.

    “We won the national championships!” said Director Michael Creed, “they were saying 115, 115, 115, we knew it was Travis, and I had to turn off the tour tracker and then the radio kept saying 114 and it took us a minute to register that it was one of our guys.”

    The win has not yet sunk in for Eric yet and he is very humble about the result: “No it really hasn’t sunk in, its pretty crazy, its surreal because there are plenty of other riders on this team that can go further in their career with this jersey than myself, and I’m not limiting myself but obviously things happen for a reason and hopefully people can take something from this.”

    Photo: Jonathan Devich epiciomages.us Photo: Jonathan Devich epiciomages.us

    “I really want Travis, Josh Julian, Cameron and everyone on the team to continue going further with this. Hopefully this means bigger and better things for the team and everyone involved in it.”

    “We played our cards.”

    Eric and Julian started their national champions attack on the first lap when moves started going and one they found themselves in a ten-man break that stuck for the majority of the race.

    “It happened on the opening lap going across the second bridge, there were a few half hearted accelerations, Eric was up there and someone towed me across to them. All of a sudden there was ten of us and we were rolling,” explained Julian.

    “We were getting time gaps of 30 seconds and then all of a sudden it was a five minutes. When I went with the move I had a voice in my head that said ‘go’ and I rolled up there.”

    Michael played a crucial role in keeping the guys heads in the game continuously giving Eric and Julian updates of what was happening behind them. “Mike kept telling us the situation and it was mayhem in the field,” said Julian.

    Up Lookout Mountain for the final time, Julian, Ben King, Chris Jones and James Stemper broke away from the other breakaway riders and took to the decent in the lead. Eric bridge across to the group of four as they entered the final finishing circuits.

    “Mike had been saying ‘this is probably going to be it. Race with the expectation that one of you is going to win’ so that is how we rode,” said Julian, “we stayed hydrated, kept ourselves cool, a few guys bridged up to us after the big circuits.

    “I saw Eric hit up the Kent St climb once with a lot of snap like it was nothing. I asked him what he though and he looked at me and it was just YES, do you want me to ride for you? I asked, YES.”

    The final couple of kilometers were crucial for the race as Eric explains: “At 1.5km to go behind me was Jacob Rathe, I knew he had some legs on him and I was kind of worried about him because he hadn’t been doing a lot of work. Then somebody attacked and I jumped on the wheel and as we came into the chicane I just went 100% for it and wanted to be first through the corner. I knew Travis was tired and I love the kid but I didn’t want to leave anything to chance.”

    And with that he crossed the line first, with his friend, teammate and fellow Arizonian not far behind him in second. Julian was also up there in the sprint finish in an almost photo finish in fifth.

    “I was falling apart, once feeding closed I started to get really hot and had to meter my effort and be careful about going to the red,” said Julian, “I knew they were in the perfect spot for the lead out and I knew Alex was a great wheel to follow, he’s a safe bet and I stuck on his wheel. Well you’ve come this far you might as well try for a result.”

    Michael has full faith in the team throughout the past two weeks that the team had the talent to take out the national championships: “I thought winning the national championships was possible, but a lot of things had to go our way, by no way did I think it was a pipe dream, going first and second I never would have through that.”

    “Amazing, superb, we came up with a plan last night and we literally it went exactly as we said, the only difference was McCabe changed roles with Marcotte, other then that everything went to plan.”

  • Powers Doubles Up at US Pro Championships, Earns Road Race Title for UHC

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    The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team started the US Women’s National Championship Road Race in Chattanooga, Tennessee today with three riders – Mara Abbott, Katie Hall, and newly celebrated national time trial champion, Alison Powers. Each of the riders was a podium threat on the challenging course and brought immense talent and ability to the roster. Abbott made her mark on the race early, winning the first queen of the mountains competition. Hall then launched a solo attack at 60 kilometers into the 104.8-kilometer race, claiming the win in the second queen of the mountains competition. She fought fiercely on the front of the race until Specialized-Lululemon rider Tayler Wiles bridged up and joined her with 24 kilometers remaining

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    Hall strategically sat on the wheel of Wiles, knowing that teammates Mara Abbott and Alison Powers were positioned in the chase group, prepared to fight when the race came back together. Katie Hall followed closely and diligently, matching every effort from the attacking Wiles. Alison Powers took up the chase with 3 riders, closing the gap to Wiles and the waiting Katie Hall. At 10 kilometers to go, Powers launched a massive attack out of the chase group, overtaking the previous breakaway and gaining an advantage on her chase companions in the process. With a gap of only a few seconds, Powers unleashed her time trial form and motored through the final circuits with the national title on the line. She crested the final "wall" climb with her advantage intact and put her head down for the final 6 kilometers. The blistering pace set by Powers reduced the chase group to just two rivals: Megan Guarnier and Evelyn Stevens. Powers held her advantage through the finishing arch, triumphantly crossing the line with a huge smile and 15 seconds to spare. The performance today made history as Powers is the only woman to simultaneously hold the US national championship jersey in all three disciplines: Friday’s 2014 time trial and today’s 2014 road race, in addition to the current 2013 national criterium title which she will have the opportunity to defend in September. Mara Abbott earned the queen of the mountains title for her efforts on the steep climbs while teammate and main aggressor Katie Hall claimed 5th place in the finale.

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    In the meeting before the race, the team discussed not only strategy and tactics but also motivation— the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team would race for their teammate, Jackie Crowell. Crowell was not able to join the team in Tennessee, as she was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year. The grand prize offered to the national champion was the 1-year lease of a brand new car from the event’s sponsor, Volkswagen. The team decided that if all went according to plan and they won the race, they would donate the grand prize to Jackie Crowell. In the awards ceremony, Alison had a message for her teammate, “This is Jackie Crowell’s car because she’s such an amazing teammate and she’s not able to be here with us. Jackie, thanks for being awesome; we miss you.”

    Regarding the race, Powers added, "Today is amazing and really special. To make history and win a car for Jackie is a dream come true. It was a real team effort and I'm proud of Mara and Katie."

    Sports Director Rachel Heal summarized, "This was another incredible team performance. We knew going into the race that we were outnumbered, but we were also confident that we had the strength and savvy to pull off something special. The riders raced to absolute perfection. They were patient at the start when it was needed. Mara made the call to have Katie attack on the climb, and then Katie rode with the strength that we knew she had, but also with the maturity and tactical savvy that shows just how far she's come in the past few months. Alison had the confidence and sheer determination needed to stay clear and solo in for a very sweet victory. It was a full team effort and truly a team victory for the riders and for the staff members, such as Tavis and Adrian. We're all proud to be part of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train."

  • Marc de Maar on GC Podium in Norway, Earns 2nd Overall for the UHC Pro Cycling Team

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    The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team concluded the 5-stage Tour of Norway today with Marc de Maar earning 2nd place on the general classification podium. A triumphant breakaway victory on Stage 2 launched Marc de Maar into the overall race lead. The stage win came on a difficult day of racing, with harsh crosswinds and a technical final segment. Marc de Maar sensed a moment of indecision within the group and jumped out of the peloton with 30 kilometers left in the stage. Just one rider, Maciej Paterski of Team CCC Polsat Polkowice, followed him on the attack. The pair put their heads down and powered to the finish line, successfully holding off the chasing peloton. Marc de Maar proved the strongest on the day, as he outsprinted his breakaway companion for the stage victory.

    De Maar defended the race leader’s yellow jersey on stages 3 and 4, thanks to the incredible support and determination of his teammates. The entire UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team worked to control the beginning of today’s final stage, with the goal of protecting the leader's jersey for the overall win. Davide Frattini and Alessandro Bazzana accompanied Marc de Maar for the remainder of the stage until the final 20 kilometers. From there, it was up the race leaders. An attack in the final 3 kilometers cost de Maar 6 seconds on the stage, putting the overall victory just 3 seconds out of his reach. Sports Director Roberto Damiani said, “I’m very proud of these riders, they struggled but fought hard to defend their captain, Marc de Maar, and the yellow jersey.”

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    Summarizing the team’s efforts throughout the week, Damiani added, “We came very close to winning this race. We raced well – with our heads, hearts, legs, and strong team spirit. Carlos Alzate, Robert Förster, and Aldo Ilesic were huge assets this week and worked very hard. Davide Frattini and Alessandro Bazzana were incredible in supporting de Maar. They all gave more than 100%. We return home with a fantastic stage win and send our congratulations to the race winner.” The next race in the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s European campaign will be the UCI 2.1-rated Tour des Fjords, a 5-stage race starting in Bergan, Norway on the 28th of May and concluding in Stavanger, Norway on June 1st.

    All Photos © 2014 Tour of Norway

  • Alexander Kristoff Takes the Stage Win in Tour of Norway Opener

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    Russian WorldTour Team Katusha kicked of the 2.HC Tour of Norway with a nice victory: Alexander Kristoff took a perfect win at the 1st stage of the race after a fantastic team strategy.

    "I am glad to take a victory from the beginning. For me the Tour of Norway is a very important race, so to be successful here really counts for me. The final of the stage was not ideal for my abilities, the last km was pretty hard, but thanks to my team I was able to win. During the whole stage the guys worked hard for me – they supported me and controlled the breakaway. In the final, I received huge help from Marco Haller. I am really happy to finish the perfect team work with such a victory" explained Alexander Kristoff.

    The first stage of the Tour of Norway was held around Larvik and constituted 147,5 km. Practically from the beginning the breakaway of 7 riders was developed. They took a good advantage of 5 minutes, but thanks to Team Katusha, who worked in front of the peloton almost the entire day, the break was neutralized in the final 10 km.

    Because of the rain it was quite dangerous in the final part of the stage, but the peloton still had a very high pace. At the final km Belkin riders tried to attack, but Katusha was able to close the gap. After that Kristoff started his victorious sprint. Second place went to Sondre Holst Enger from Team Sparbanken, while the daily podium was completed by Tom Van Asbroeck from Topsport-Vlaanderen.

    "At the final km the road was slippery with some dangerous points. But we were able to pass it without problems. Before the final corner with 300 meters to go I was in a good position, but maybe not ideal. It was Nordhaug from Belkin who attacked, but Marco Haller helped me – he closed the gap and led me to the front. All I had to do – just to start my sprint," added Alexander Kristoff.

    "Today, our team was absolutely incredible. All riders did a perfect race and did their 100% for our common result. We had only one plan for today – to help Alexander Kristoff to take the win. And we did it. It was not easy at all to control the race with only 6 riders in the roster, but Katusha managed to get the success," said sports director of Team Katusha Torsten Schmidt.

    Unfortunately, Katusha’s Petr Ignatenko crashed badly inside the final kilometer, getting a serious injury of his right shoulder. He was able to finish the stage, but afterwards was immediately taken to the hospital for checking.

    Alexander Kristoff became the leader of the general classification of the Tour of Norway as well as the leader of the point’s classification.

    Today’s success of Alexander became the 7th victory of Team Katusha in 2014.

  • Double Win at Bike Days

    bike-days-2014-nino-1 The Swiss crowd celebrating the World Champion.

    What an awesome show of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing at the Swiss Bike Days- Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel come in first and second.

    Solothurn, Switzerland. After his successful "randonée" to the road scene, Nino Schurter is back on his mountain bike and showed he has not lost anything of his off-road abilities. He took the victory with an impressive solo ride. On top of that, Florian Vogel out-sprinted the BMC armada for second place. SWEEEET!

    Two 18th places in stages and a 42nd overall ranking was the outcome of Nino's first appearance on the road pro world tour at the Tour de Romandie. Experts declare this performance as impressive. Considering the lack of experience he managed to partly keep up with the best. Riding even on the longer climbs side to side with Tour de France winner Chris Froome- the eventual winner of the Tour de Romandie.

    Nino at the Tour de Romandie on the skinny tires. Nino at the Tour de Romandie on the skinny tires.

    The question at this weekends BMC Cup was how well Nino will be recovered from the hard effort of last week. How well he will handle the switch back in such a short time? He did not wait long to give the answer.

    Already during the first lap he managed together with his team mate Florian Vogel, Matthias Flückiger (Stöckli) and Martin Fanger (BMC) to get a gap to the followers which included the rest of the BMC team including Julien Absalon, Lukas Flückiger, Ralph Näf and Moritz Milatz.

    Florian Vogel leading the chase group at Bike Days- the Swiss Bike Festival. Florian Vogel leading the chase group at Bike Days- the Swiss Bike Festival.

    Half way trough we saw the world champion leading on it's own while the BMC train catches Vogel and Flückiger. Even they tried with full force, they did not get any closer to Nino who was riding to his victory with no doubt.

    The good thing was that the only thing Florian Vogel had to do in the chase group was following the others. He was riding smart and used the perfect SCOTT-Odlo team tactic to save some energy for the “grande finale". With a great sprint finish he managed to leave the Flückiger's and Julien Absalon behind him to complete a sweet double victory for our team.

    We saw two smiling faces at the finish. Florian: " I felt good today and the team tactic played for me as well. Because I don't really count Nino as a competitor of mine, this second places feels almost like a victory."

    The winner himself had following comment: " I like this Bike Days! With over 23'000 visitors it's the biggest bike event of Switzerland. Sure I want to show my best in front of my home crowd. I was tired at the beginning of the week but today a felt very strong. It's a good sign I recovered so well after one week only. Maybe I can even top my shape in the two upcoming world cup races. After todays race I'm pretty optimistic to say the least."

    "I like these Bike Days! With over 23'000 visitors it's the biggest bike event of Switzerland. Sure I want to show my best in front of my home crowd.
    Nino Schurter, World Champion
    SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

    Marcel Wildhaber had a solid race coming in 12th place while Andri Frischknecht- riding in the same group with Marcel- had a high speed crash which forced him to pull out. Also not on the lucky side was Jenny Rissveds who was sick and not able to finish her race. Robin Gemperle finished 23rd.

    That's the way we like it! Matthias Flückiger (5.) Florian Vogel (2.) Nino Schurter (1.) Lukas Flückiger (3.) Julien Absalon (4.) That's the way we like it! Matthias Flückiger (5.) Florian Vogel (2.) Nino Schurter (1.) Lukas Flückiger (3.) Julien Absalon (4.)
  • Powers Blasts to Amgen Tour of California Time Trial Win

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    Starting and finishing in the historic district of Folsom, California, stage two of the Amgen Tour of California served up a 20.1 kilometer time trial course for UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team’s men’s and women’s squads. Racing started late in the morning, under sunny skies and breezy conditions that would significantly influence the athletes’ pacing for the event.

    Coming off of what she described as a disappointing time trial at Tour of the Gila, UnitedHealthcare rider Alison Powers came to the event looking for answers, and confirmation of her form heading into the upcoming national championships. “When I previewed the course on Friday, I knew it was for me,” said the powerhouse rider, who went on to explain, “at 5’ 10”, I’m bigger than many of the other women, and I’m really good at carrying speed on long, gradual descents,” noting that the route contained several short, sharp climbs, but was primarily characterized by very fast sections.

    As the riders rolled out of the start gate, the fans waited for answers of their own: would Powers have sufficient recovery from the previous day’s circuit race, during which she personally contained the majority of attacks from competing teams?

    By the halfway point of the time trial, that question appeared to have been definitively answered, as Powers blasted through the checkpoint with the day’s fastest split time. Looking calm, comfortable and strong on the bike, she was clearly on a good day. All that remained to be seen was whether she could maintain the pace or accelerate through the second half of the race, or if she would fade from her early efforts.

    As the finish line approached, that answer also became clear: Powers had turned in a stellar ride, going on to take the win by just more than 21 seconds. Powers concluded, “I’ve finished second here in the previous two tries. To win today and get the Amgen winner’s bear feels great.”

  • Three Jerseys and a Podium for UHC in Women’s Tour Opener

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    The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team had a fantastic showing amidst massive crowds in today’s opening stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour of Britain. The undulating 93.8-kilometer route proved challenging, with two intermediate sprint competitions and two queen of the mountains competitions along Great Britain’s winding and narrow roads. Sharon Laws set her sights on the QOM competitions, climbing to second and third place respectively on the hilltops and amassing enough points to clench the queen of the mountains jersey after stage 1, with a 3-point lead over runner-up Marriane Vos.

    Sharon Laws earned the queen of the mountains jersey for her performance in stage 1 of the Friends Life Women's Tour. Sharon Laws earned the queen of the mountains jersey for her performance in stage 1 of the Friends Life Women's Tour.

    With the mountains jersey in the team’s the possession, the riders turned their focus to the stage finish. Numerous breakaway attempts formed throughout the aggressive stage, the last of which was brought back with only 3 kilometers left in the race, setting the stage set for an exciting sprint for the finish. Channeling the support of thousands of fans lining the finishing straight, Hannah Barnes applied her local course knowledge and immense motivation to sprint to 3rd place against a truly world-class field. Hannah’s performance yielded not only a position on the podium, but also the best young rider and best of Britain jerseys after stage one.

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    Ecstatic with the day’s result and the overwhelming amount of support, podium finisher Hannah Barnes commented, “It was very special to race along my home training roads and the crowds made it even more so. I didn’t know what to expect with such a strong field, so to come away with 3rd is a great feeling! Earning two jerseys in addition to Sharon's climbers jersey made this a great day for the team.” Sharon Laws added, “I am totally blown away by the support on the race route - I was so proud to be British today. I’m also extremely happy to come away with the mountain jersey and to see Hannah earn 3rd on today’s stage. This is a great start to the tour!”

    Sports Director Rachel Heal concluded, “This race is setting a new standard in women's racing, the level of organization and support is incredible and the crowds watching the race were huge. For the women's first foray into European racing, I couldn't be happier with today's result. To place 3rd on the stage behind the world’s top-ranked rider and the World Champion is a great achievement. To walk away from the first stage with three jerseys exceeds all our expectations.” The women of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team will race 118.5 kilometers from Hinkley to Bedford tomorrow with two more QOM competitions and two more intermediate sprints up for grabs.

  • Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home Cleans Up at Tour of the Gila

    Daniel Jaramillo Sprints To Stage 5 Victory As Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home Wins Sprint, KOM, U25, and Team GC at Tour of The Gila

    ©2014 Jonathan Devich ©2014 Jonathan Devich

    Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home started the final stage at the Tour of the Gila leading the Sprint, KOM, U25, and Team Competitions as well as riding in 3rd overall with Gregory Brenes trailing the race leader by 30 seconds. The queen stage at the Tour of The Gila covered over 100 miles, crossing five categorized climbs, and finished atop the continental divide in the mountain town of Pinos Altos.

    The stage started with a flurry of attacks. After 40 minutes, a group of 15 riders would push clear of the field, with Luis Amaran making the group, adding to his lead in the Sprinters Competition along the way. By the time the race had covered 30 miles, the leaders had built up an advantage of 2:30, and the chase in the field gathered momentum as Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home started to help with the pace-making at the front.

    Hitting the first major obstacle, the Anderson Vista KOM, Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home hit the front of the field, with Eloy Teruel, Carson Miller and Tyler Wren all working to drive the pace on the climb. This reduced the gap to the leaders down to just 55 seconds by the time the peloton crested the KOM. Going out to the Cliff Dwellings, and coming back towards the second ascent of the Anderson Vista climb, it was Miller who helped to keep the speed high in the field, setting up a series of attacks from Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home. On the lower slopes of the climb it was Rob Squire who took over the pace-making, reducing the peloton to less than 20 riders, and in so doing, dropped the race leader from the group of race contenders.

    In the final 30 kilometers of the race, Matt Cooke and Daniel Jaramillo traded turns attacking out of the very select group of leaders. With 3 riders making it into the final select group of 8, Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home had strength in numbers, and put everyone else under pressure. Having dropped the race leader, Gregory Brenes tried several of his own attacks in the finale but was never able to make up the time needed to secure overall victory. As the leaders came into the final kilometer, Daniel Jaramillo was able to jump clear of the group picking up his second stage win of the week. After the final stage, Brenes climbed one spot higher to 2nd Overall, leading Team Jamis - Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home to victory in the Team GC, Sprint, KOM, and Young Rider Competitions.

    After the race, Brenes reflected on the week of racing in New Mexico with an honest assessment, "I am happy to secure 2nd in the GC, but should have been more aggressive in the Stage 1 finish. If I had attacked in the last kilometer there, I would have easily overcome the 2 seconds that I lost the race by." Looking ahead, Brenes was quick to point, "The Tour of California is coming, and now I know my form is good. I will recover, and then come to California with my best condition to fight for the overall [General Classification] there."

  • Sally and Wolfram superb at Riva

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    Sally Bigham riding for Topeak-Ergon Racing Team won the Ronda Extrema race at the Bike Festival Riva Del Garda for the 2nd time. While at ”Knack den Kurschat ” (Beat Kurschat) the man himself kept the best time.

    Team Topeak Ergon’s Sally Bigham once again began the Festival Season at Riva del Garda in the way we have come to expect. Finishing with a comfortable lead of almost 20 minutes to win the race, the World’s number two-marathon rider covered the 93.93km long and 3,813m of height difference with a time of 5h40m27.5. All the same, the 36 year old wasn’t entirely happy. On the final descent, she had suffered a puncture and had been unable to use the Co2 to inflate the tyre — time was lost until another rider supplied another cartridge.

    Further frustration was present amongst the other Topeak Ergon racers on the day. Kristian Hynek was fighting for the lead of the race with the Olympic Champion Kulhavy, when they suffered from poor course signage, went the wrong way and lost all chance of a win. He finished fourth, with a time of 4h32m27.5s, 2m53.2 down, as fourth. Alban Lakata was eighth, and Robert Mennen, who made the same mistake as Kristian finished in 11th. On the upside, it was Lakata’s first race back since his enforced rest following the injury in the winter.

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    No one can beat Kurschat
    Topeak Ergon legend Wolfram Kurschat was also taking part at the Riva festival. Replicating the success of the ”Beat Kurschat ” competition from last year — at the time Wolfram held the title of the Worlds best uphill time trailer — the race this time took place on Monte Bastione. A route of 1.1km with 190m of climbing was chosen, with up to 20% gradient being the spice. No one was able to beat his 4m11.1s time. Even with a number of the elite riding — including u-19 World Champion Lakas Baum or Klaus Fontna — none of them were even close.

    All the same it was an exciting event, and some old faces added to it. Amateur and last year’s winner, the Austrian Klaus Steinkeller took just 1.7 seconds to complete the course than the World Cup rider Kurschat. ”It was pretty close, ” Kurschat admitted later, with a grin, ”and if he had managed it, I am not sure that given another go, I would be able to better it myself in the conditions. ” The wet and slippery course was far from easy, and the many tight switchbacks meant everyone had to really be careful.

    Of the Pro riders, Lukas Baum won, with a deficit of 11.3 seconds for the men. For the women, the winner was Stephanie Utknecht, with a total time of 6m08.0s. The amateur women was won by 11 year old Kira Böhm from Kirchheim/Teck with a time of 7m29.6s.

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