Ken Hanson Dominant in First Sprint of Euro Campaign, Winning Portugal’s Classica Aveiro-Fatima

 

Jonas Carney reports on Ken Hanson taking home the team’s first European win of 2013.

Hanson took the win today at the Classica Aveiro-Fatima.

The race was 172k from Aveiro to Ourem – mostly flat with one moderate climb at 133k and then two tough ascents to a hilltop castle in Ourem on the final circuits. Our competition was almost exclusively Portuguese teams, including all six 6 continental teams from Portugal, with the only other foreign team owing from England.

The guys were feeling good after recovering from the trip and rode very aggressively all day. The first big split was 14 guys and we had three – Soladay, Jesse, and Zwizanski. The second big split was similar, with almost 20 guys, and we again had three in the move. The group wasn’t working well together, so Zirbel took off with two other Portuguese riders. They gained a minute and a half. The Efapel-Glassdrive team, regarded as probably the best team in Portugal, chased hard. When the gap came down to 40 seconds, Salas bridged across with a small group. Eventually, the break split, with Salas making the front group of four and the gap shot up to 1:30 again. Efapel-Glassdrive continued to chase hard, and Sebastian’s group was caught as it entered the town of Ourem for the first time.

After two times up the tough climb to the castle overlooking Ourem, we still had four riders left in the front group, including Ken Hanson. Things split up on the climb a bit, but mostly came together on the descent into Ourem.

Chad Haga made one last big effort to drag a group of attackers back in the last kilometer, with Ken in tow. Ken led out the sprint from 300 meters and won handily.

Tomorrow was transfer to Castelo de Vide Portugal where we will spend two days before starting the UCI 2.2 ranked 5-day stage race, Volta ao Alentejo.

FINAL RESULTS
1 Ken HANSON OPTUM PRESENTED BY KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 3:47:49
2 Daniel Mestre CARMIM – TAVIRA 3:47:50
3 Nikita Zharoven Sub 23 ZAPPI´S PRO CYCLING 3:47:50
4 António Carvalho LA ALUMINIOS – ANTARTE 3:47:50
5 Rafel Reis Sub23 SELEÇÃO NACIONAL ESTRADA SUB23 3:47:50
6 Sergio Riberio LOULETANO – DUNAS DOURADAS 3:47:50
7 Eduard Prades OFM – QUINTA DA LIXA 3:47:50
8 Bruno Sancho CARMIM – TAVIRA 3:47:50
9 Rafael Silva LA ALUMINIOS – ANTARTE 3:47:51
10 Alejandro Marque OFM – QUINTA DA LIXA 3:47:51

 

Chad Haga reports on his first European race.

Just paid two euro for 30 minutes of internet, so I’ve gotta type fast.

Today was our first race here in Portugal, and my first in Europe. As I understand it, the race was part of Portugal’s national race calendar, but not a UCI ranked race. 171 kilometers with three categorized climbs towards the end. The racing was awesome. Very aggressive, constant attacking for almost the whole day. I was in several moves, including one big one that stayed away for a while.

Salas got away on the first climb in a small group and didn’t come back until after the second climb. We rode the finishing circuit yesterday, so we knew the climb and the run-in to the finish well. The last time up the climb, just 6k from the finish, I gave it a go but could not get clear, so we reverted to our plan to set up Ken for the sprint. It was crazy and chaotic, and our train got broken up. With just two turns to go, gaps were opening and a few riders were slipping away.

I saw Ken was about to jump to close the rapidly building gap, so I took a run up his inside with 2 turns to go and he slid in behind me. With him on my wheel, I jumped into the u-turn with 700 meters to go and sprinted out of the turn, getting him to the small group ahead of us with about 400 meters to go. He moved over behind them as I dropped anchor, then dusted them in the sprint for the win.

When I say dusted, I mean they posted the results with a time gap between him and 2nd place.

In summary, Portugal is awesome, and bike racing is quite fun.

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