Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Carter Jones finished sixth today on the queen stage of the Amgen Tour of California, and Will Routley increased his lead in the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain’s competition, retaining his polkadot jersey on a grueling 110 mile course that featured an ascent of Mount Hamiilton and a 3,300 food finishing climb up Mt. Diablo. Jones was the top domestic pro finisher and part of a highly select group on the trip up Mt. Diablo, maintaining a blistering tempo set by overall race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). Jones launched a bold attack on his competitors with three kilometers to go in an attempt to win the stage solo.
“I am thrilled with today’s result – the team had a lot of confidence in me, supporting me all day, which gave me more confidence in myself,” said Jones. “I was hoping someone would come with me when I attacked, and I would maybe get a little leash since I have quite a bit of time to make up. Once I saw Wiggins wasn’t going to let me go, I eased up a bit to make sure I was ready for the steep kicker at the finish. It’s always inspiring to compete against the world’s best riders.”
Jones finished 14 seconds behind stage winner Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), moving into eight place overall. Routley claimed the maximum points on the early ascent of Mt. Hamilton, completing a major goal for the team on arguably the races most difficult stage.
“Today was another fantastic day. We accomplished both of our team goals – I was able to get in the day’s breakaway and comfortably won the sprint for the KOM points on top of Mt. Hamilton,” said Routley. “It was super hot and the guys did an excellent job helping Carter save his strength for the final climb. I am all-in to defend the polkadots this week, but we are going to keep hunting for stage wins as well. I have spent 3 winters training in California with my wife and we’ve had great times here. I will definitely be looking for another breakaway this week and hopefully can choose the right one.”
“Our team has been riding strong all spring, and obviously the Tour of California is one of the most important races for us every year. Will did a fantastic job making the early break again, while the rest of the team took great care of Carter, and then he showed what we is capable of on Diablo. He’s not just the only domestic pro in an incredibly elite group, he is attacking and trying to win the race outright.”
Tomorrow will be a slight reprieve after two of California’s toughest ascents. The 105 miles from Monterey to Cambria offers up a flatter finishing profile, and could give the team another chance at a field sprint with Eric Young.
2014 Amgen Tour of California Roster