At the red-brown brick intersection of Main and Railroad in downtown Winters, riders milled around, sitting on top tubes, joking, and talking to one another while the morning sunlight of late-August cast down through the sycamores. Saturday’s race was one of the last of a dwindling number of Premier Series races left on the calendar pitting Chuck Hutcheson (Marc Pro – Strava) against Roman Kilun (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) for the individual race, and their respective teams against one another for the team classification. Meanwhile, Adam Switters (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) was leading the Cal Cup series over Chris Harland-Dunaway (Marc Pro – Strava) by a mere 2 points. On the women’s side, a win by Sarah Clafferty (Pinnacle – Argon 18) at San Ardo brought her into the mix for the Cal Cup battle, although her victory has not been tallied in the official results. Jane Despas (Leopard – Sapporo) still entered Saturday’s race firmly in the lead.
Women’s P/1/2 coverage by Alex Chiu
Coming up Cantelow all together, the women’s 1/2/3 field approached the climb led by Felicia Gomez (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18), Katie Hall (Metromint Cycling), Alison Tetrick (Exergy Twenty16), and Susannah Breen (Folsom Bike/Cervelo) on the front.
As the winner of the Winters Road Race the past two years, Breen’s teammate, Marley Smith, had suffered a mechanical before the climb, and was absent as the pack made their way towards Pleasants Valley Road. Mutual teammate of Breen and Smith, Danielle Haulmann stayed back to help Smith quickly catch up to the peloton and shortly after the field had made their tuwn onto Pleasants Valley, the tall blonde haired spin teacher from Roseville was back at it again on the front of the field. In addition to Smith, Tetrick was also closely watched by the field.
On the second lap, the pace started ramping up. With Haulmann off the front, she was able to gain a considerable time gap on the field due to the peloton being neutralized due to overlapping another category. By the time the field had reaached Putah Creek Road, Hall and Gomez were keeping the pace high with Tetrick and the rest of the peloton close behind. Working to close the near-six minute gap, Starnes, Gomez, and Gomez’s teammate Sara Clafferty would work together to bring back and catch Haulmann.
In the third and last lap of the field, Clafferty recalls how it went down: “I thought that there was going to be an attack on the final climb, but everybody was pretty dogged from the heat”. After the climb, Tetrick countered an attack and got a gap from the field, but was caught by Gomez. “Felicia pretty much single-handedly brought it back for me… Without Felicia bringing her back I don’t think I would have done [as well as] what I did today”.
For the final field sprint to the finish line on the women’s last lap, Sara Clafferty (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18) could be seen on the front of the charging pack with Hall sitting close behind. Cristina Hughes (Hub Coffee Roasters p/b Tahoe Carson Radiology) competed with Clafferty to the line, but a difference of mere inches would secure Clafferty’s top spot on the podium with Hall taking third.
Listen to the interview with Sara Clafferty below:
Men’s P/1/2 coverage by Chris Harland-Dunaway
An early breakaway escaped shortly after the neutral zone ended, containing Brandon Trafton and Nick Newcomb (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase), Colin Daw (Fremont Bank), Russell White (HDR Lombardi p/b VuMedi), Nate Freed (Marc Pro – Strava), Zeke Mostov (Craddock Slipstream), Elliot Hawkes (Metromint), and Erik Nelson (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada). Given the size of the break and the favorable numbers for Mike’s Bikes, Nate Freed sat-on, which instigated rounds of attacks by all of the other riders. The breakaway had shredded itself before the steep climb up Cantelow, and after the reshuffle, only a three man break of Trafton, Daw, and Mostov remained.
Marc Pro – Strava had been left out of the breakaway, so tactically, it had little-to-no chance for survival. Massing on the front, 5 of their riders rotated together until the break was hunted down. As soon as the break was recaptured, Marc Pro – Strava began unleashing a barrage of attacks. Heading along Putah Creek Rd as the peloton passed the centenarian olive trees that hang over the road, Jonathan Teeter (Marc Pro – Strava) attacked solo.
Teeter got 2nd in the Cascade Cycling Classic stage race earlier in summer, beating U.S. Pro National TT Champ, Tom Zirbel, so Mike’s Bikes understood the importance of bringing him back. Mike’s Bikes’ Roman Kilun and James Laberge had flatted earlier in the race, leaving Nick Newcomb and Brandon Trafton to lead the chase. After half a lap of chasing, Teeter was brought back into the fold, whereafter Marc Pro – Strava resumed attacking the field until Chuck Hutcheson escaped with a visibly tired Brandon Trafton. There was only one climb over Cantelow remaining before the 8 mile run-in to the finish on Pleasants Valley Rd.
Climbing Cantelow, Hutcheson dropped Trafton and crested alone. In the field behind, Adam Switters (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) attacked on the steep pitches of the same climb, tailing off Cal Cup rival Harland-Dunaway and forming a small group featuring Max Jenkins (5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda Pro Cycling), and Thibault Jeanns (Hennebont Cyclisme).
Marc Pro – Strava shut down the Switters group and then proceeded to neutralize further attacks in an effort to buy Hutcheson more time alone off the front, and maybe, the win. Along Pleasants Valley, Hutcheson was recaptured and a reduced field of 20 riders rushed towards the finish on Putah Creek Rd, just beyond Wolfskill Grant.
Just before 1k to go, Justin Rossi (Marc Pro – Strava) attacked, forming a small group off of the front that Dana Williams (Mike’s Bikes p/b Incase) worked to neutralize. As the sprint opened, Logan Loader went up the right side of the road when a mechanical derailed his chance at the sprint. At the same time, Adam Switters threaded a veritable tight-rope walk along the centerline, looking for an opening. Switters found a way to sprint to the front, following Hutcheson when a crash occurred behind. Switters took a clean win over Hutcheson at the line.
Listen to the interview with Adam Switters below:
Images by Alex Chiu Photography. Like these photos? Consider buying your favorite moment from a race and support your local photographers! Also consider donating or subscribing to NorCalCyclingNews to support the continual race news and coverage like this article!
Powered by Facebook Comments