Stage 17 Racing was spread out a bit this weekend with some of the team racing in Santa Barbara and some of the team racing in Murrieta.
(Photo credit: Les Morales)
Danny Katz, Steven Larsen, and Bryan Larsen rode very aggressively in Santa Barbara on Saturday in the Island View Criterium. The race was won by Rudy Napolitano (Time Factoy Team) who rides for our Masters team affiliate and will be a part of our aggressive Redlands Bicycle Classic squad. Rudy attacked the field solo and stayed away for the win. Behind him, Danny placed on the podium in 3rd place and Bryan placed 8th. The chemistry between brothers Steven and Bryan was obvious to us at team camp, but, after their experiences in Merco, both Danny and Bryan have been able to compliment each other greatly in races.
(Photo credit: Les Morales)
On Sunday the boys were less fortunate after an crash took Bryan out of the race with a broken finger. He will still be starting this weekend’s San Dimas Stage Race, however, we will be cautious with what we ask of him with redlands loaming so closely.
Down south in Murrieta, Ben Bertiger and Alexander Vaughan-Ruiz took part in the three stage Tour de Murrieta. They have both been racing together since they were juniors on our Major Motion Develpoment Team, so they are very comfortable being a two man team in races. Neither rider took part in the time trial on day one as its not required to participate in every stage of an omnium.(Photo credit: Scott Burnham)
On Saturday they both took part in the Jax Bicycles Grand Prix. Both riders rode aggressively with Alexander working to place Ben in the sprint. Alex Darville (Hammer Nutrition), a junior on the eve of his first trip to Belgium with the US National Team, surprised the entire field by riding them off his wheel for the solo victory. Ben finished in 8th place in the sprint after work from Alexander.
The following day was the Rabobank Circuit Race, 56 miles around the beautful Murrieta country side over a 3.5 mile loop. Both Stage 17 Racing riders rode aggressively, looking for a move by overall leader and previous day’s winner, Alex Darville. It was obvious that the entire field had the same idea as any move he made was quickly followed by 10 other riders.
The field was eventually able to make a break stick after Ben followed a move that countered an attack by Alexander that had just been brought back. A crash shortly after caused almost a split in the field as about 15 riders broke free, never to be heard from again. Alexander played the consimate teammate by shutting down any organized efforts to bring the breakaway group back.
On the last lap junior, Geoffrey Curran (Surf City Cyclery) made what most of his breakaway companions felt was a foolish attack with over half a lap to go. No organized effort to bring him back was mounted and Geoffrey rolled in solo for the victory. Shortly thereafter Ben came through with the rest of the break taking 3rd in the field sprint and 4th overall.
For Alexander and Ben’s efforts their two man team finished in 7th overall in the team GC standings and Ben had finished in 7th overall in the omnium.
It was a great weekend of racing for the team that could not be made possible withoutthe help of our sponsors, Amercia West Natural Hazard Disclosures, Pactimo, Time, iRT Wheels, FRS, 22 Days Nutrition, Swiftwick Socks, DC Shoes, VeloShine and Superfeet.