• 2013/03/24 Double V Day for Optum p/b KBS as Brianna Walle takes the stage in San Dimas
    • To add to the fantastic day in Portugal for the men, Brianna Walle claimed stage 2 of the San Dimas Stage Race today. Here is a report from Rachel Heal. And below is Jonas' report from today in Portugal.

      From San Dimas:
      Stage 2 is a circuit race over 8 laps of a 7 mile circuit, with 3 hot spot sprints for time and points, and 3 KOM sprints for points.

      Going into the stage, the goal for the team was clear and simple, we wanted the stage win, and with an awesome team effort by all 5 riders we pulled it off. The first lap was marred by a crash, which thankfully none of our riders were involved in, but with Exergy2016's race leader Mara Abbott going down, the field somewhat neutralized itself to give her a fighting chance of getting back on. With 2 laps done, Abbott was back in the field, and the racing was on. Courteney took the first KOM, then a lap later Leah took out the first bonus sprint, then at half distance Katheryn Donovan took a flyer and within a few miles had built up a 40 second gap.
      With Donovan sitting 1:40 back on GC, Exergy were content to let the gap go up and so we took responsibility for the chase. Over the next 3 laps we held the gap between 45 seconds and 1:20. Heading into the final lap Exergy2016 and Specialized Lululemon joined the chase, and with around 3 miles to go Donovan was caught. The girls kept the pace high heading into the final climb, and Brie drove hard over the top of the climb, forcing a small group clear. With 500m to go she launched her sprint and taking the others somewhat by surprise held on for the win. To add to it, Brie is also leading the green sprints jersey competition, and Courteney is tied for first in the KOM jersey competition.


      From Portugal:
      Today was stage four of the Vuelta ao Alentejo in Portugal. It was a mostly flat 153k stage from Ourique to Odemira. It was cold and rainy at the start, but by half way through the sky cleared and it warmed up nicely.

      Our plan for the day was to look for an opportunity to open the race up, but plan to deliver Ken for the sprint if we could not create a suitable break or split. The finish was similar to yesterday…a very technical descent into a village followed by a couple of tight turns and an short uphill sprint. We knew the race would be to the start of the descent. If we could enter the descent in the front, we had a great chance at the stage. The one opportunity to split the race would come at 100k, as the course came very close to the ocean and would be completely exposed to a cross wind. Unfortunately there was no wind.

      For the most part the race was uneventful due to the lack of wind and the flat course. Bontrager had everything under control and Stuyven was even able to pick up a few bonus seconds throughout the day.

      The other feature on the course that we liked was that the only real hill was located immediately after the final time bonus sprint with 20k to go. It was about 5k uphill and then all slight downhill and tailwind until the start of the descent. It would be a good place to hit out...to counterattack that time bonus sprint.

      To make a long story short, our guys decided to attack immediately after the time bonus at 132.9k. Zirbel and Zwiz hit out together and immediately got a gap. They caught the one Portuguese rider who was already off the front and that rider sat on…unable to pull with the two big TT specialists.

      At first it seemed like a suicide move as the entire Efapel-Glassdrive lined up on the front to chase. But it quickly became apparent that this was the perfect attack. The peloton was likely unaware of Tom and Scott's TT abilities and that they should not be given any leash. Efapel had to keep their team together on the climb and so the let the gap open. When they crested the hill, they still weren't making up any ground as it was a downhill tailwind. And best of all, there wasn't much time to chase. All Tom and Scott had to do was make it to 4k to go, the start of the descent, and they'd make it to the line.

      In the end the field could not close the gap. Tom and Scott decided to get rid of the Portuguese rider who was sitting on for 15k and started attacking him with 5k to go. Zirbel got away first and then Scott. They finished 1-2 with Tom in first and Scott just 9 seconds back.

      Chad is still in second overall. Tom has moved up to 8th, just 1:08 back.

      Tomorrow is the final stage. It's a 133k circuit race that we hear is somewhat challenging. After that we'll travel back to Bilbao Spain and get ready for the GP Miguel Indurain.