San Ardo Road Race
17 August 2013
Chris Harland-Dunaway (Marc Pro-Strava) to one look back under the armpit, saw a small bike’s length gap, and then attacked away to win the San Ardo Road Race for Pro/1/2 Men. Racing up the final stretch to the finish, Harland-Dunaway was surprised by the lead he had managed and cruised on over the finish line with his trade-mark fist-bump.
Right of the Centreline
Several sections of Paris Valley Road are narrow and without a lane divider. Early in the first lap, the remarkable youngster Zeke Mostov (Slipstream-Craddock Junior Development) broke away alone…but apparently on the wrong side of an imaginary centreline.
Mostov was chased down and neutralized by the horn-blaring moto-ref and threatened with disqualification. In Mostov’s resolve, he then rode up the side of the field in the gravel, attacked immediately, and was alone again.
Harland-Dunaway bridged up to Mostov but the pair was caught after a few miles. Mostov would continue to ride hard with the leaders until a mechanical ended his race.
On the backstretch of the course, heading south towards San Ardo, there was a lot of attacking by everyone. Eventually a breakaway formed that included Colin Joyce (Cal Giant/Specialized), Thibault Jeannès (Hennebont Cyclisme), Elliot Hawkes (Metromint Cycling), Keith Wong (HDR Lombardi p/b VuMedi), Chris Stastny (Hagens Berman), Dustin Armstrong (Serious Cycling), Mostov, and Evan Rudd from Fremont Bank Cycling.
Nearing the town of San Ardo, there was a bridge group of Brandon Trafton (Team Mike’s Bike’s p/b Incase), Harland-Dunaway, David Bangor (Giga Om-ARO Pistachios), and Greg White of HDR Lombardi p/b VuMedi. Bangor cracked in the crosswind section during the attempt, which eventually succeeded in making it across.
The break was extremely cohesive. It was a big rotating paceline for the rest of the second lap keeping it very smooth and easy on the legs. Going through the rollers, Harland-Dunaway attacked but Stastny eventually shut down the move.
Harland-Dunaway again, with Keith Wong, hatched a plan to attack together over one of the rollers before crossing the bridge. They got away, but again, we were shut down after a few minutes.
On the backstretch heading south, there were a few attacks, mostly Trafton along with Wong. Harland-Dunaway counterattacked one of the moves and was alone for most of the straight road until he was caught at San Ardo. At that point in the race, Wong and Trafton counterattacked when Harland-Dunaway was reabsorbed. The two got away. Hawkes, Stastny, and Joyce worked to shut it down.
On the fourth lap, the Trafton-Wong move was shut down in the rolling section. Harland-Dunaway attacked over the last two rollers heading east before turning south to go towards the finish after San Ardo. It failed.
Colin Joyce took advantage of a moment of disorganization and very slyly pedaled up the opposite side of the road and went solo. It was up to HDR do do some solid work to bring him back because they had two in the break. Greg White worked on the front and kept the gap from growing.
A few of started contributing – mostly Stastny, Harland-Dunaway, Wong, Trafton, and White. Harland-Dunaway pulled through one time and the guy who was next in line decided to skip his pull so a little gap appeared. Harland-Dunaway immediately attacked the gap and got it to grow, riding hard by this point. After 15 minutes of riding to get a solid gap, Harland-Dunaway shifted his focus to catching Colin Joyce, who was still riding smoothly alone up ahead.
“All of a sudden, Trafton was on my wheel,” described a surprised Harland-Dunaway. “An incredible bridge – it was a 15 second gap at least and he shut it down super fast.”
Now it was just the two working together to get Joyce. They tried to attack Joyce going past so he couldn’t get on the back but Joyce rallied and made it into the slipstream. The threesome reluctantly rotated with mostly soft pulls. Joyce sat-on for a second and Trafton tried to get him to go through with the Marc Pro-Starav rider a bike’s length ahead because of that. It was here Harland-Dunaway made his move for the win, sprinting hardest to get a gap and gaining 8 seconds on Trafton and Joyce.
“I was riding all-out and they were reeling me in agonizingly,” said Harland-Dunaway. “We went through San Ardo and across the bridge – the gap looked really small, maybe 3 or 4 seconds, the hill was tricky, maybe a bit of an optical illusion – I still had a small gap at the top of the hill and it had grown a bit – they started focusing on sprinting against each other and I realized that I had won it.”
In the race for the 2013 Cal Cup, Harland-Dunaway moves up to 2 points adrift and remains second overall to Adam Switters (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase). Joyce holds onto to third place whilst Trafton jumps two places to fourth. Last year’s Cal Cup winner Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Strava) sits in fifth place.
San Ardo Results
1. Christopher Harland-Dunaway (Marc Pro – Strava)
2. Colin Joyce (California Giant/Specialized)
3. Brandon Trafton (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase)
4. Gregory White (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports)
5. Dustin Armstrong (Serious Cycling)
6. Chris Stastny (Hagens Berman Cycling)
7. Keith Wong (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports)
8. Elliot Hawkes (Metromint Cycling)
9. Rainier Schaefer (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase)
10. Connor Spencer (Giga OM-ARO Pistachios)
11. Luciano Sponza (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports)
Chris Harland-Dunaway contributed to this report.
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