Yesterday’s Stage 2 road race in Joe Martin was a close call for both of our Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Men’s and Women’s teams as Ken Hanson and Joelle Numainville narrowly missed victories, taking 2nd on the line. Both teams approached the stage looking toward a sprint finish, given the exposed conditions at Joe Martin and the likelihood that the other teams were taking a similar approach. Daylong breaks often form over this stage but rarely survive to the line, as Joe Martin is traditionally a battle for seconds in the overall. The men and women executed great team efforts into the technical finish just coming up short on stage victories. Eric Young was 6th on the stage and Amber Gaffney also grabbed a top 10, finishing 9th.
Today is another long road stage of 70 miles for the women and 114 miles for the men.
Check out 5News’ Coverage and 2 videos of the opening stage TT with coverage of our Optum p/b KBS women, including an interview with Courteney Lowe:
Eric Wohlberg’s Stage 2 Race Report:
110 miles. Bad weather at the start with pretty steady drizzle and tough cross winds.
The plan was to follow moves, but ride as negative as possible to help facilitate a field sprint for Ken Hanson. We did not want to partake in any suicide moves and be fully prepared to ride the last 5 km as hard as possible to control the run-in through a very technical last km.
From the onset, it was apparent that Kenda was planning to ride to defend their lead, which was just 2 seconds to Chad Haga. They let a 4 man move roll early on, and set a very moderate tempo for over 90 miles. We were content to sit back.
The remnants of the break came back inside 4 km to go and, as expected, the field went into washing machine mode with no one wanting to commit to a lead-out that early. Tom Soladay and Mike Sherer used this momentary lull to advance Haga, Jesse Anthony, Mike Friedman, Eric Young and Hanson to the front of the field. Our squad then chilled momentarily and lined up inside of Jelly Belly. Our guys then pipped the Jelly train into the first 90-degree left and then right and we had control inside 1 km to go. Haga and Anthony gassed it through the two rollers (splitting the field) into the final downhill right, which was at the foot of a 400m uphill finish. Friedman took Ken as far as he could and it was looking very good for us. However JJ Haedo managed to squeeze by Ken for the win. Hanson was a very respectable 2nd on the day, Eric Young was 6th.
Haga dug really deep to stay on same time and is now in Yellow.
Rachel Heal’s Stage 2 Race Report:
Stage 2 was a 60-mile loop with a 9-mile climb in the middle of it and the rest flat or rolling terrain. With a small team of just 4 riders the team had to ride smart, and they did that making sure they were represented in any dangerous looking move whilst not wasting unnecessary energy. Despite many attacks on the climb no group got more than 15 seconds, and with the final 30 miles mainly downhill a bunch sprint was looking likely. NOW’s Lauren Kominski attacked with 15 miles to go and built up a maximum gap of 20 seconds, and we were happy to let a well drilled Tibco team defend the race lead and keep Kominski in check. She was pulled back with just 1km to go, setting up a sprint for the somewhat reduced bunch of 30 riders. With the team positioning her well into the final corner at 300m to go, Joelle sprinted to 2nd behind Tibco’s Shelley Olds.