Friday, June 18, 2010

Karlsberg and Next Few Weeks

I've already posted some pictures from the Junior Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg stage race in Germany, but I haven't written up an actual report from the race yet. Overall, I don't think that the race could have gone any better. The team (Ryan Eastman, Nate Geoffrion, Kristo Jorgenson, Benny Swedberg, and Anders Newbury) went in with good morale after we finished third place in the prestigious Pays de Vaud in Switzerland the weekend before. The team rode perfectly all weekend long and with their support and dedicated team work I was able to finish in the lead group of 20 on the first day, and then went on to win stage two after bridging up to a breakaway that already had Ryan and Anders in it late in the race. I then defended my lead in the time trial the next morning and increased my lead to 11 seconds over Bob Jungels of Luxembourg. The stage that followed that afternoon was pretty relaxed for me. The team just rode on the front all day long and kept me out of the wind. That stage ended up ending up in a field sprint with a Slovenian winning. The next day was the last stage. I still had an 11 second lead over Jungels, so our plan for the race was to have the team to stay low for the first half of the race and then after that to get on the front and bring back the break. After that I would take over and do my best to defend the yellow jersey and win the overall. The guys did a perfect job and dropped me off with about 10 km to go with the race all together. I then marked the other overall contenders and went into the last kilometer with one rider up the road by about 10 seconds. As he wasn't that far down on GC I went to the front and did my best to bring him back. He ended up staying away and won the stage by about 2 seconds over the pack that I was in which allowed me to take my first stage race victory in Europe. On Sunday, I'm leaving for Bend, Oregon for the Junior National Championships. I'll be doing the road race, time trial, and crit. After that I'll be heading over to stay at my team directors house for the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Stage Race. When that is done I'll drive up to Pennsylvania for the Junior Track National Championships. It's gonna be a fun next few weeks!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pays de Vaud

Right now I'm over in Germany after spending the last week in Switzerland. From last Thursday through Sunday the Junior National Team competed in the UCI 2.1 Pays de Vaud. This is one of the most challenging junior races on the calendar with the tough competition and the extremely challenging profiles up in the Swiss mountains. The race kicked off with a 2.5 kilometer prologue. I ended up taking the win over a Swiss rider and then Lasse Hansen of Denmark (bronze medalist at the world time trial championships last year). Stage one was 98 kilometers and wet and rainy throughout the stage. The team rode great together and we were able to bring back a two and a half minute gap to the break. Going into the sprint I was in great positioning, but my front wheel was taken out by the eventual winner. I nearly went down but somehow kept it up although I completely ruined my front wheel. Stage 2a was a tough stage with two extremely hard climbs in it. The plan for the team was have the break within a minute at the base of the climb with about 25 kilometers to go. We executed the plan to near perfection with Kristo Jorgenson, Ryan Eastman, Anders Newbury, Benny Swedberg, and Nate Geoffrion, pulling the break from a minute and a half to 50 seconds by the base of the climb. After the climb started only Anders and Ryan were left. They pulled hard for as long as they could and when they pulled off the break still had a minute on the pack. I then got to the front and started pulling. When I looked back a few minutes later I saw that only one rider was able to stay with me. I kept the tempo up and barely bridged to the break at the top of the climb. After a long descent and another 500 meter climb to the finish I ended up sprinting to third place and extended my lead in the GC. That afternoon was a 12 kilometer out and back time trial. I won the TT by 10 seconds over Hansen and grew my lead to 16 seconds over Hansen and 52 seconds to third. The third and final stage was definitely the hardest of them all. Including the dismal weather, cold and raining, it was set for an epic day. After an extremely hard climb about 40 kilometers into the 120 kilometers I was isolated from my teammates and was bridging up to the lead group of 10 that including second place on GC. Over the next 70 kilometers I made sure that none of the riders got a gap off the front of the group and kept an eye on all the riders that were still up there on GC. With about 15 km to go Hansen attacked. I quickly covered him along with the rider that was 3rd on GC and a few others. I was subjected to many more attacks over the next few kilometers and it wasn’t until about 5 km to go that I finally cracked. I ended up losing almost a minute on the stage and dropped down to third overall.

Overall, this race was a great success. The team proved that they were one of the strongest in the world and earned a great deal of respect from countries all over. We also ended up with two stage wins and a third place overall. This definitely boosts our confidence going into the UCI Nations Cup Trofeo Karlsberg here in Germany starting tomorrow and ending on Sunday.