The KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo Cycling Team had a great showing at the 2015 Tour de Murrieta. This Omnium event is a staple of the Southern California schedule and a great place for the riders to hone their fitness and teamwork heading into San Dimas Stage Race and the Redlands Bicycle Classic. Historically, this has been a great event for the team, with David Santos winning the overall in 2012. Going into the event, the team had high hopes of a repeat victory.
The time trial is just over 4 miles and very unique in that the last half contains a climb on a dirt road. The team was able to recon the course and had a great plan for each rider to execute the best time trial possible. And they did just that! Ulises Castillo won the event, with teammate Chris Barton placing second, just 0.5 seconds behind Ulises. David Santos rounded out the podium in 3rd, just another 0.5 seconds behind Chris Barton. Both Ulises and Chris broke the course record.
Ulises Castillo stated “I really liked the dirt, because I liked racing the classic races in Belgium. I used my Road bike when most used TT bike and it worked out.” When asked about his record breaking ride, Ulises said “I was surprised I won. I didn’t expect that.”
Being an Omnium event, the team had gathered points with 6 riders placed in the top 15 which put everyone in a great position going into Saturday’s Grand Prix criterium in downtown Murrieta. The plan was to defend the Yellow Jersey as well as gain highest points possible for Chris and Dave.
This added some pressure to Ulises, who is new to the team and had only worn the leaders jersey once before/ “When I finished the TT it wasn’t stressful. Then when I see everything working for me at the criterium, it was exciting,” commented Ulises. “I needed to do something well. I did my best, but I think we can do somethings better.”
Fabrizio Von Nacher finished 5th in the crit with Ulises and Chris right behind him and Shawn Daurelio gaining high points as well. When the points for the omnium were tallied after day two of racing, Ulises was still in the lead with Chris 2nd, Fabrizio 3rd, and Shawn 4th.
Sunday’s Circuit Race covers a rolling 3.5 mile course where the racers completed 16 laps. They began at 2PM which meant is was very hot, dry and windy. The paramount goal was to retain the Yellow Jersey and cover any attacks and breakaways that contained riders with enough points to steal the podium.
A breakaway rolled away from the gun, putting the team on the defensive very early on. Fabi suffered a mechanical within the first lap, taking him out of the race as well as the overall. The team did a great job adjusting to having one less rider in the group. Once the team had reeled in the move, Shawn Wayland and Shawn Daurelio followed another threatening attack that got some serious traction.
With the laps winding down and several threats to the Yellow Jersey within the break, the team began to chase. David Santos, Brian McCulloch, Sergio Escutia and Chris Barton worked tirelessly at the front with additional help from Ulises to gather up the breakaway.
Heading into the final lap, the break had been caught and the attacks began coming out of the start-finish line. Ulises recognized a dangerous move with Darville of AirGas and Williams of InCycle going up the road so he quickly bridged to it. “I saw that move and I chased to try and catch them. I turned back and already there was a gap.” With just under a lap remaining, attacks were coming from the break and the remainder of the team was controlling the field so that no other threats would go up the road.
Looking back at the final lap, Ulises tried hard to get away. “I attacked these guys and tried to drop them but they were fast and they keep my wheel after that. I attacked again and pulled through the feedzone and they caught me there, so I decided to wait for the finish.”
The team had taken the advantage of riding the final 3 turns of the course on Saturday after the criterium. Director Paul Abrahams walked everyone through where they needed to be, and where to put their maximum efforts. “Paul had told us where we needed to start the sprint, so I kept that in mind, and and I did it. I was the first guy to attack before the corner. I wanted to go faster, but I couldn’t and Cory from InCylce passed me on the right side right at the line,” recalled Ulises.
Ulises solidified his Yellow Jersey win with his 2nd place finish. As the charging peloton came through the final turn, Chris Barton was 11th which meant he had just enough points to sustain his 2nd place overall.
The whole team was excited to have executed to the finish and to have had such great success. For Ulises, “To win the overall it was good. It was my first win with the team and my first overall Yellow Jersey win.”
To cap off the weekend, the team won the overall Team Competition, in honor of fallen rider Jorge Alvarado. This was a great honor for the team and true testament of the teams commitment to success for the team as a whole.
Thank you to all who came out to support the team through out the weekend. From cheering on the sidelines to helping in the feedzone, it was great to have so much support.
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis Tires, JLVelo, Serfas, Shimano, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Xpedo Pedals, Kali Protectives, NDXSports, Bike Religion, Bicycle Blue Book, WD-40 BIKE, Chamois Butt’r, Cycling Illustrated, Rennie & Associates, Kramp Krushers, Ultra Cycle, and Q2.
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