Valley of The Sun Time Trial Race Report by Thomas Jondall
This past weekend I traveled back to my home state of Arizona for the Valley Of The Sun Stage Race with my team KHS-Maxxis p/b JAKROO. I was joined by teammates David Santos, Fabrizio Von Nacher, Brian McCoulloch, Cory Williams, and Marcu Andria Le Mao. Valley Of The Sun starts out with a 23K out and back Time Trial, false flat out and slight down hill on the way back. The wind was from the north-east, calling for a cross headwind coming from the right on the way out, and a cross tailwind back to the finish.
I started out my warm-up on the road getting a feel for the wind and my bike, then moved onto the trainer with about an hour till my start following a warm-up my coach gave me. During the Time Trial, I rode the first 5k trying to find a rhythm in my legs, the ever-present headwind and rolling terrain made that hard to accomplish. Once I settled down a bit, I was able to get a good feel for the effort but I knew I didn’t have the legs to go as fast as I needed to. The pedals were pushing back on my legs when it needed to be the other way around.
I made it to the turn-around and began my way back to the finish, again searching for a rhythm but never finding it. When it was all said and done, I came in 8th place with a time of 30:18. Teammates David Santos finished 4th and Fabrizio Von Nacher in 7th.
Valley of The Sun Road Race Report by Fabrizio Von Nacher, winner of the stage.
Going into the 94 mile road race, the team’s plan was to try to get David Santos, myself or Thomas Jondall into a break without the guys who finished in front of us in the TT. We also wanted to win all the time bonuses time which were on the 2nd and 4th laps at the KOM. In the first of 6 laps the break went in the climb with KHS-Maxxis riders David, Thomas, Brain McCulloch and other riders that were not GC threats except Luis Amaran of Jamis who was 2nd overall.
This move was perfect with strong guys. As soon as the break went, I tried to reach the break solo, but the break of 12 guys was rolling and the group brought me back all together. After that, I realized I needed to be calm and just follow the leaders of the race, because they needed to chase back the break.
The second time up the climb, the leader of the race attacked and I followed him and we were joined by two other riders with the break 40 seconds in front. So in a situation like this, I new I had a free ride because I had 3 guys in the front group. Eventually our group was chased back by the main peloton. The third time up the climb the group went easy and didn’t attack, so everyone had a chance to recover. When we got to the downhill, even though the break opened a gap of 1:30, the group came together and started working all together.
My teammates and I in the group tried to rest to be ready if the break came back. Finally the group brought back the break, but this meant that most of the GC guys wasted a lot of energy pulling on the front to pull it back. On lap 5 the final break was established with guys that didn’t affected me in the GC expect for eventual overall winner Daniel Eaton of Canyon Bicycles who was 3rd GC.
At the beginning of the break, I didn’t take any pulls because I knew that Daniel was going to be in the leaders jersey if he came to the finish line with me. I wasn’t going to help him put time into Dave who was our best guy in the GC in 4th place. However, when we got to the climb and I realized that we had a big gap on the group and I took my chance and attacked the break with one lap to go. I did this because I needed to put 1 minute on Daniel for me to able to be on the Leaders Jersey at the end of the stage.
I attacked again and the this time I opened a little gap on the break with another rider. After a couple of minutes, the guy went back to the break riders and brought me back all together. After seeing this, I knew that these guys were going to work together and were not going to let me go anywhere solo. I start working with the break and tried to keep it all together to win the stage.
In the final climb, Daniel knew he need to go because he was already unofficially on the leaders jersey and he wanted to put more time on the guys in the group chasing. I took advantage of his attack and started getting ready for the sprint. With 1km to go, one guy took the first attack and I follow him right away. He tried to go all the way into the finish line, so I waited. I knew that the other guys were on my wheel with an uphill sprint, it is easier to get passed. I waited a long time, and after I saw the 200 meters to go sign, I launched my sprint and won the stage!
At the end I was so happy and really thankful for my teammates who did an awesome job. This was the team’s first win of the 2014 season, so everyone was excited. When we got to the house, we all got together on the patio and celebrated the beginning of a many race wins to come. We jumped into the pool and were celebrating our great result. You guys can watch it for yourself on video which you can find on our teams Facebook Fan, check it out!!!
I just want to thank all my teammates for the great job they did this weekend and always, Paul Abrahams for all the support and time the puts into each one of us, and of course to Joy McCulloch, Gary Rennie and Oren Mitz for all the time and support you give to each one of us and to this great program. I want to thank my sponsor in Mexico Quality Post company for supporting me since the beginning and to all the people back in Mexico that are supporting me and making this possible. We will keep the work and doing our best to win more races!!
Valley of The Sun Criterium Report by Cory Williams
On the final day of Valley of The Sun Stage Race, my team and I had a big task ahead of us, but we were up for the challenge. After our win the previous day in the road race, we needed 50 seconds to win the race overall with Fabrizio Von Nacher sitting 2nd GC. The plan was simple yet hard to achieve. We were to attack and set up a counter attack for our leader, Fabi.
Attacking was the simple part. Getting the 50 seconds was the hard part. As the race started, everything was falling into place. After many attempts, Thomas and I attacked finally got away from the peloton, opening a nice size gap. We stayed off the front for 4 laps, setting up the perfect opportunity for a great counter attack. As we got consumed by the peloton, Luis Amaran countered our move and our leader Fabrizio and two other riders were quick to follow. When this move went without the leader of the race, I knew that we had a shot at the win overall.
The break quickly gapped the peloton, opening up a 30 second gap. In the peloton, we isolated the race leader leaving him on the front to chase what was his to lose. Everything was going to plan; the break had 43 seconds on the field. As the race went on, other riders started to help the race leader chase the break down, closing the gap down to 35 seconds. All we could do as a team was try to disrupt the pace.
Going into 3 laps to go, the pack was in full chase mode with almost everyone participating. The gap was coming down and there was nothing we could do but hope that Fabrizio had enough to make it to the finish line with the gap that we needed.
Going into the final sprint, I waited until someone jumped to open up my sprint. The road was really bumpy so I looked for the best line; there was none! As I sprinted, my back wheel jumped all over the place slowing me down just enough for my arch nemesis Justin Williams to pass me putting me into 2nd in the field sprint and 6th in the stage.
At the end stage, Fabrizio finished 4th and we didn’t get the time we needed to secure the overall win, but we did all the we could racing our hearts out. The weekend was filled with nothing but great teamwork. Until next time! Cory Williams
Thank you to our sponsors: KHS Bicycles, Maxxis, JAKROO Custom Apparel, Serfas, Hammer Nutrition, Shimano, Rudy Project, iRT Wheels, Xpedo, Velo Saddles, Praxis Works, Rennie & Associates, Q2, Bike Religion, Chamois Buttr’, WD-40 Bike and the management of IPA sports.
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