Will Routley and his Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies teammates concluded another successful day of racing from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara today, claiming more vital points in the Michelob Ultra King of the Mountain competition. The team battled across one of the Amgen Tour of California’s toughest climbs on San Marcos Pass, with the added pleasure of uncommon 90+ degree heat on the 108-mile Central Coast route.
Routley jumped out of the rest of the field near the top of San Marcos, once again showing his explosiveness and tactical savvy. He crested the climb first, gathering 12 KOM points to bring his total for the week to 42. Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis, who sits second on the overall standings, is the closest competition to Routley with 16 points. Routley’s growing lead leaves the Canadian feeling optimistic heading into the final three stages of racing.
“I think all the guys I was in the breakaways with this week fighting for points with were struggling on the San Marcos climb,” said Routley. “The bigger threat is the guys who are going for the yellow jersey win who can get a lot of points by default, by just always being near the front of the race. I felt good, so I thought if I could sprint for max points, I could get much closer to locking down the jersey for good.”
Routley also assisted teammate Carter Jones, who is within striking distance of the top-five on general classification, after the young climber suffered a flat with less than 5 miles left in the race. Routley jumped of his bike and swapped his front wheel for Jones’ flat, allowing him to quickly chase back into the lead group and maintain 8th place overall.
When asked about the oppressive heat, which current race leader and former Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) desired as his hottest day on the bike, Rouley said the day was “so hot we would be stuffing ice down our jerseys and not even notice it. The wind felt like a hair dryer in my face.”
Tomorrow will be a stage for the climbers with a proper mountain top finish at Los Angeles area ski resort Mountain High.
2014 Amgen Tour of California Roster