Race Report from Eric Wohlberg
Stage 3 was 114 miles, the key stage for our Joe Martin GC hopes.The Meat and potatoes of the stage was a tough, rolling 23-mile circuit, which the riders tackled 4 times.The plan was to hold off riding as long as possible, and let a manageable group get away and then tap it out.The problem was the GC was still very tight and there were pretty much 100 guys within 1 minute.Any move that got away would have to be pulled back before the finish.
An 8-man move went at about 60 km in and we are riding hard behind it to hold them at 2 minutes. Our workers (Mike Sherer, Mike Friedman, Tom Soladay, Eric Young and Ken Hanson) turned themselves inside out for 70 + miles.Last time through the toughest part of the course we were assaulted hard, a move of 12 accelerated across the now 30 sec gaps to the remnant 6 riders of the very strong initial move. Having faith in his team, and calling out Mancebo, Haga played a great hand of Texas Hold “Em.
Our workers make a valiant return to the main field and immediately started to ride and were faced with a huge task of pulling back, a now 20 strong group, which had rolled to a 1:45 advantage inside 40 km to go.With some help from Cash Call, the guys cut the gap down to 20 secs with 7 km to go, but the chase was starting to stall.Haga is still not flinching, while our biggest rival, Mancebo is now starting to panic and launches a desperate bid to stay in the race and jumps across the gap, with Haga in tow.Both riders make it to the group of 18 and Anthony shuttled Chad into the last km. Jesse then sprinted for a great top 5 results, Haga came in on equal time and holds yellow
Do not play poker with Haga. He is a cool customer.