The first stage of the Tour de Murrieta was the Individual Time Trial, which consisted of a 4 mile course with a very unique dirt section in the last mile or so. Before everyone started their warm-up, Paul had a small talk with us about the plan. The plan was to get the best time possible, but having in mind that it was better if we went hard on the first part of the course but to save some in the tank for the dirt section. After we all finished the TT and rode back to the team van, we found out that Ulises got second place by just 2 seconds to a Jelly Belly rider. This made all of us happy because we knew we had high chances to be able to help Ule win the Tour de Murrieta for the second year in a row.
The second stage was the Grand Prix Criterium, which was 75 minutes on a fast and really technical six corners course. The plan for the team was to keep everything together for a field sprint in order to set up Ulises for the final sprint, so that he could get enough points to take the Omnium lead.
However, this wasn’t an easy task because as soon as the race began, the Jelly Belly guys started to attack in order to reshuffle the omnium and get their guys in the top three place. The team executed our plan and the race came down to a final sprint. Unfortunately with 5 laps to go, there was a massive crash in the front that not only took out Fabrizio, but also several of the Jelly Belly team. At that moment, we realized that Ulises was the virtual leader on the road and now we just had to help him to extend that lead on the omnium. At the end, Ulises was able to finish super strong in 3rd place. But most important he was the new leader of the race!
The final day was the Circuit Race. We had to race 16 laps on a 3 mile circuit that had some rollers and a lot of wind sections that were going to make the race interesting. The plan for the day was keep Ulises out of trouble and to help him finish within the top 10 of the day in order to secure the overall victory. On the first lap, four guys got away and because they weren’t a real threat to the omnium. Our team was fine with the move, and for the remaining of the race we made sure to stay together in the field and followed some attacks that tried to go across but nothing was successful.
In the last couple of laps, Incycle and Centric Bikes were the ones at the front trying to bring the break back in order to have a field sprint for the win. At the end, the two Jelly Belly Riders in the original break stayed away and went 1-2, while Ulises was able to take the field sprint for third with an impressive bike throw on the line, and also become the official winner of the 2016 Tour de Murrieta!
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, Infinit Nutrition, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Big Wheel Coaching, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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