The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team returned to Winston Salem to defend Sam Bassetti’s 2018 victory. Being the top ranked team in America and a roster of 7 strong contenders, the team was poised for a great race at the UCI 1.2 single day race.
The early portion of the race saw the team protecting the front of the peloton as several non-threatening moves get up the road. Eventually George Simpson attacked across and went solo, generating enough of a gap to become the move of the day.
The plan for the day was to keep James Piccoli, Sam Bassetti, George Simpson and Ulises Castillo protected until two hours into the race. This put the brunt of the workload on Gavin Hoover, Eric Young and Alfredo Rodriguez to ensure the breakaways were in check and contenders fueled for the final moves.
“At that point in the race it really felt like the break was going to go. Even though no one came with me, it was a good opportunity to put myself up the road because I knew that a group was likely to come across later,” stated Simpson.
The day was heating up and the humidity in North Carolina was taking its toll on the peloton. Simpson came prepared as “during the spring and summer I always prepare for hot races as part my normal training. I like seeing some hot weather in the forecast because I know I’ll be ready.”
Teammate Ulises Castillo bridged across to the move with several other riders, making it a group of 5 to contend the final laps of the race. With two in the move, Simpson knew the odds were in their favor. “We wanted to stick together all the way to the finish. With both of us there we were confident we could win the sprint from our group,” recalled Simpson as he and Ulises planned for the finale.
On the final climb, it was down to three riders with Aevolo’s Villalobos making the attack to attempt to shed the duo. Ulises quickly got on the wheel with George next, ready to lead his teammate out. Ulises crossed the line first Simpson finishing an impressive 2nd in his debut at the event. “I’m pumped for Ulises, the team, and myself. I feels great to keep the momentum the team gained at the Tour of the Gila going and it makes you that much more excited for the races we have left this season.”
This was also Ulises Castillo’s first time racing in Winston Salem. After his win, Castillo was grateful for the teamwork that went into the result. “I was really excited for it, and I really like that style of racing. It is a big win for me and my teammates. When you see the team giving all on the road for a teammate, you give extra to do your best. I am so glad to be here.”
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