KOM Jersey Caps Spectacular Week for Rally Cycling Teams
Evan Huffman crossed the finish line in Sacramento today clad in the polka dot jersey of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California King of the Mountains. The jersey is the accumulation of Huffman’s passion, dedication and determination after a tough 2015 season. It also stands as a testament to the teamwork that is the foundation of Rally Cycling. In addition to the KOM jersey, Rob Britton finished an impressive 11th overall while the women’s team showed its strength and perseverance, fighting for podiums after a hard crash in the team time trial.
“It is great to win the King of the Mountains jersey,” said Huffman. “It is a special thing to win a classification jersey at a major event like the Amgen Tour of California. Being able to do it in my home state with my friends and family here is amazing. The team was incredible all week. The KOM competition was one of our goals and once I had the jersey the team defended it perfectly. Will (Routley) got in the break on stage four and got most of the KOM points – and then Adam (De Vos) did it again on stage five. In stage seven the other teams made a play for it, but Danny (Pate) made a heroic effort and bridged me up to the break and in a position to defend my jersey. Without my teammates I would not have the jersey.”
Huffman’s reign in the King of the Mountains jersey began on Monday’s second stage from South Pasadena to Santa Clarita. Huffman was part of a daylong breakaway with Ben King (Cannondale). Huffman won three of the day’s KOMs, giving him the jersey, and finishing second on the stage. The next day, en route to the stage three mountain top finish on Gibraltar Road, Huffman again made the day’s breakaway, scoring more points and increasing his lead. It was also here that Britton rode to an impressive 11th place, laying the foundation for his high overall finish in Sacramento.
In stage four Routley joined the day’s escape and took maximum KOM points to defend Huffman’s lead. A tough finish on the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey brought Britton home in ninth, moving him up to ninth overall. Stage five saw an 18-man move form, with De Vos covering it for Rally Cycling. As Routley did the day before, De Vos took most of the KOM points on the road to South Lake Tahoe to defend Huffman’s jersey. De Vos’s efforts led to a split in the breakaway that saw him, Tom Skujins (Cannondale) and Xabier Zandio (Sky) go clear. On the final climb, De Vos marked Zandio and Skujins coming into the final corner before launching his sprint. He quickly got a bike length on his two breakaway companions but was unable to fend off Skujins, who came by on the outside to take the win.
South Lake Tahoe also saw the start of the women’s event. Sara Poidevin again showed that she is one of the top climbers in the peloton by grabbing the first Queen of the Mountains points of the race. With only two categorized climbs on the 72-mile route, Poidevin was well placed to take the polka dot jersey at the end of the day. On the final climb to the finish Poidevin was gapped from the front group and finished in 21st place. Crossing the line first, Megan Guarnier (Boels–Dolmans) took the win and the KOM points – moving her into a tie for the lead in the QOM competition. As the winner of the stage Guarnier claimed the leader’s yellow jersey with Poidevin taking the QOM jersey.
The stage six time trial brought a truce to the fight for the KOM while the battle for the general classification raged on. Rob Britton put in a solid performance to finish 27th on the day, slipping to 11th overall. On the same course, the women’s second stage began, a 20.3 kilometer team time trial. The Rally Cycling women, reigning National Team Time Trial Champions, came into the stage with high expectations and started fast, but a touch of wheels 7 kilometers into the stage sent four riders to the ground. The worst off was Kirsti Lay, who landed hard on her back, forcing her to abandon the race. Sara Poidevin was one of the riders to go down and struggled to remount. She would eventually finish outside the time cut and was eliminated. After inspection from team doctor Kelby Bethards, Lay was diagnosed with no serious injuries.
Credits: Team Rally Cycling