Jonny Clarke Earns Most Courageous Rider Jersey, Chris Jones Sprints to 4th in Stage 4 Breakaway at Amgen Tour of California
Following yesterday’s onslaught of ascents up Mt. Hamilton and Mt. Diablo, the men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team lined up in the city of Monterey this morning to start stage 4 of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. Promptly upon leaving Monterey Bay with over 140 kilometers left in the stage, UnitedHealthcare Blue Train riders Jonny Clarke and Chris Jones strategically made their way into the day’s main breakaway. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team did their homework in preparation for today’s stage, knowing that the conditions outside of the finish city could possibly favor a successful breakaway. As the six riders powered south, gaining an advantage of over 4 minutes on the route to Cambria, the sprint teams began to organize and chase, hoping to eliminate the time gap.
The course reconnaissance, breakaway strategy, teamwork, and gutsy riding began to pay off for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, as the time gap remained steady into the tense final kilometers. Jonny Clarke commented, “There was a moment after the final KOM competition where the gap started to rise, we had a tailwind and we knew it was possible to make the breakaway stick. I knew Chris had better legs, so I tried to do as much work as I could in the break to save him for the sprint.”
Inspired by the idea that the breakaway would survive to the line, Jonny began to attack, breaking up the small group with his teammate on his wheel. After riding at the front of the race for 140 kilometers, Chris Jones sprinted to 4th place on the stage with Jonny close behind in 6th place. Jonny Clarke was awarded the Breakaway From Cancer most courageous rider jersey for his brave contribution to the breakaway two hard days in a row, as well as his aggressive late stage attack today. Jonny rode his way into 2nd place in the mountains category and will wear the king of the mountains jersey tomorrow for its current possessor, Will Routley, who currently wears the sprinter’s jersey. The most courageous rider jersey will be passed on to UnitedHealthcare rider Chris Jones for his strong efforts in today’s breakaway.
General Manager and Sports Director Mike Tamayo remarked on the team’s outstanding day, “It’s not often that the breakaway trumps the WorldTour sprint teams. Today, the weather was tricky because the tailwind was a lot stronger in the finish city than out on course. We knew that going into the stage, so we wanted multiple riders in that breakaway. We raced perfectly as a team, putting two riders in the break as we planned. We also knew the other breakaway riders were fast, so we tried to make sure the break would last to finish and then started attacking so that we could possibly come in solo. Sometimes you have to be willing to lose the stage in order to win it. We’re proud of how hard and aggressive we rode today, putting two riders in a successful breakaway, earning the most courageous jersey, and finishing with two riders in the top ten.”