• 2012/05/14 Sebastian Salas Shows Impressive Climbing Form at Stage One of the Tour of California
    • Sebastian Salas Shows Impressive Climbing Form at Stage One of the Tour of California Sebastian Salas Shows Impressive Climbing Form at Stage One of the Tour of California

      Sebastian Salas showed his sixth place finish at the SRAM Tour of the Gila last week was no fluke as he engaged in a battle for the King of the Mountains Jersey at the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California. The course, which covered a gorgeous, broad loop beginning and ending in downtown Santa Rosa, covered 115.9 miles and four difficult KOM climbs. Salas, who powered himself into a eight-man breakaway that formed almost immediately after the races zero kilometer banner, was ready and eager for the challenge.

      “The plan today going in was to get in the early move and fight for the KOM points, and fortunately I was able to make that happen,” said Salas. “It was a great course today, there were some tough climbs and the competition was pretty fierce in the breakaway. I love this kind of racing so I definitely enjoyed the challenge.”

      The battle from the breakaway was to be fought over four KOM peaks, the first three winding through a section of narrow switchbacks surrounded by towering Redwoods. The road would flatten out on occasion, but provided little relief between vertical efforts. Salas’ breakaway would gain over eleven minutes on the chasing peloton as the eight riders worked well together in the dense forest. Salas and fellow Canuck and climbing pro David Boily of Team Spidertech were clearly the biggest vertical threats in the move, and left their breakaway companions behind to go mano y mano across the races steepest sections.

      “We knew right away when they named off the riders in the break that it would be a battle between Sebastian and David Boily,” said Performance Director Jonas Carney. “It truly was a one on one battle today for these points – the other riders in that breakaway weren’t quite on their level, and to be so competitive against a climber like Boily bodes well for Sebastian.”

      Boily and Salas finished 1-2 on all four climbs, which featured Cazadero Road, a double hit on Fort Ross Road, and concluded with the difficult Coleman Valley climb, where grades reached 16%. Salas was unable to shake the resilient Boily on the final ascent up Coleman Valley despite numerous attacks. He currently sits in second on the KOM competition, just four points behind Boily. Carney sees the KOM jersey as a realistic goal for the week in California.

      “Unfortunately Sebastian came up a bit short today – I know it is tough to swallow for him after such a huge effort, but we are proud of what he did today and we are going to go after KOM points for the rest of the week.”

      The race continues tomorrow with Stage 2, kicking off in downtown San Francisco before traveling 117 miles into Santa Cruz County. The course, although mostly flat, contains two difficult tests for the vertically inclined on the second half, a category two climb on Bear Creek and the menacing category one Empire Grade, ascending well over 2000 feet across nine miles.