As i mentioned last week and in the team reviews the Specialized Juniors have been looking especially strong this year. Larry Nolan and his merry band of master pro’s have put a tonne (love me for my British spelling) of work into the Specialized Junior program.
Each year a few of their progeny go off to interesting cycling projects with development teams, schools, or the USAC national program. Today, one of their lemmings, rode the early bird fire to out sprint his break-mates: Nate English, (is there a race that he isn’t making this year), and former Lance band mate, and current Specialized Masters Mentor, Dylan Casey. Below is the quick blow by blow from the winner, junior rider, David Benkoski:
“I went to the front of the pack, saw a break with Dylan Casey and Nate English, I bridged with Chris Turner. Rotated with Dylan, Turner, English, and a rider from Mikes Bikes. The Mikes Bikes rider popped himself and then Turner vanished. Dylan and English and I rotated, and drove the break to nearly a minute. English attacked, and then Dylan countered, English pulled him back with me on his wheel, English then launched a few attacks, which I followed. English launched his sprint out of the sweeper, and I came around him for the finish.” [ed. note: by finish he means “the win.”]
- Nat English: Pretty quick time at San Bruno, props from Roman Kilun at Early Bird #1, and subsequently props from Early Bird #2 winner David B. who said English was doing most of the pulling.
- Specialized Team “team work”: We all know how hard it is to execute a team plan. Today it was orchestrated by a handful of 40 year old guys and a bunch of 17 year olds. I think anytime you get a rider under 26 years old to execute correctly you got a keeper.
- David can sprint. At least he can out-sprint the break away climber types.
- Mikes Bikes is a cream puff outfit
For those out there bitching about the teamwork and fact that there was some serious horsepower in that break, enabling the victory … that’s bike racing. Seriously, in what world do you let two guys from a strong team go off together in a break? I’m sure nobody thought these guys would make it – so they just waited, and waited, and waited, until it was too late.
The reality is English is looking like he wants to make a real run at becoming a bike rider, as does Benkoski. I’m a Benkoski fan, having watched him develop at Hellyer and on the Valley ride here on the Peninsula, and will become a Nate English fan, as well, if he keeps up this kind of racing. These guys are making the early season interesting!
I’ve known David a few years and figure he is worth a few lines.
- David is Belgian… and French. We can forgive the french thing.
- He’s got a good sense of humor, having traded barbs with The Rand, through the years.
- David loves the bike racing.
- He’s coachable for a junior. He took some early advice that if he was serious he should go learn how to ride at the track, Hellyer Velodrome, and it was there that he got hooked up with Larry and the Specialized program. At least I hope he’s coachable – thats important if you want to go big.
- If he started a blog I’d read it – while not as “funny” as me I think he’s got some Rand like potential.
I do not have any info on how the women finished so if there are any updates out there please send them in the comments section and I can get a little
section of this post going.
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Photo credits: Erika Kali
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