San Dimas, CA – Rory Sutherland sprinted out of a late-stage five-rider break to win the second stage of the San Dimas Stage Race. The winning move came as a result of strong teamwork from his UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis teammates. It also came after some re-assessing of the race strategy after the team’s top rider in the overall standings, Chris Baldwin, crashed on the second to last lap.
“We were able to have a quick chat going into the last lap,” Sutherland said. “I’d been feeling good all day, so we decided to have the guys lead me out at the base of the final climb to see if they could spring me off the front.
“I went hard, but not too hard because there’s over 2 km from the top of the last climb to the finish,” he continued. “It’s not the type of finish that you want to try to go solo to the line. I was lucky to get a good mix of guys with me over the top.”
That mix included Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation), Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home), Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefits) and Davide Frattini (Team Type 1).
The five riders worked together and came into the finishing straight with a slight gap over the chasing field.
“I started my sprint from the back and jumped across a couple small gaps,” Sutherland said. “I passed the last guy with 50 meters to go.” That last guy was Grajales, who took 2nd on the stage, followed by Amaran.
The stage win follows Karl Menzies’ overall title at the Tour de Murrieta last weekend.
“The last two weekends of racing have been leading up to this,” said Team director Mike Tamayo. “They’ve given the guys a chance to race together and work together and it’s paying off. Everyone contributed today. And if Rory’s move got brought back, the sprinters were there for the finish.”
Sutherland agreed with that assessment. “We’ve been working together and learning how each of us races,” he said. “With no race radios this year, we have to be very attentive, know our roles and keep an eye up the road.”
Sutherland efforts, as well as the :20 time bonus on the finish line and the :04 gap to the field, moved him up to 5th overall, :19 behind race leader Ben Day.
White breaks out for Sprinter’s jersey
One rider whose role is has remained fairly consistent – and true to his nature as an aggressive type of rider – is Brad White. He once again took on the role of covering moves and get into one of today’s main breaks. Not only did it take some pressure off his teammates, his efforts also earned him the Sprint Competition leader’s jersey.
“It’s always good to bring something home after an effort like that,” White said.
White followed an attack by Adam Switters (Yahoo!) and was joined by Lucas Euser (Spidertech). Nathan O’Neil (Bahati Foundation) bridged to the move and the four riders worked together to establish a gap.
White’s move was away for the three middle laps of the 12 around the hilly, 7-mile circuit, achieving a maximum gap of a minute over the field. During that time, he won intermediate sprints on laps five and seven, and gathered up a total of :20 in time bonuses.
“I knew I needed to take the two time bonuses to keep Nathan from getting them because he was pretty high up on GC,” White said. “It was nice to get the jersey in the process. The legs felt good today, this being my first race of the season. I had a little bit of cramping because coming from Colorado, I’m not used to the heat just yet. But it was good being up there and knowing our guys behind in the bunch are ready. I don’t have to kill myself in the break.
“The guys did a great job today,” he continued. “Everyone executed well, and Pinner (Andrew Pinfold) and Karl were ready if Rory got caught.”
Baldwin scraped but not broken
Shortly after finishing the stage, Baldwin was taken to the hospital by team directeur sportif Gord Fraser to have the damage assessed. Fraser reported that x-rays of Baldwin’s elbow were negative and he ended up with eight stitches in his leg.
The decision on whether he starts the final stage Sunday, a 90-minute criterium on a 1.2-mile course in San Dimas, will be made the morning of the race.
Photo: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us