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Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) launches an attack.
Colombian rider proving that California was 'not just luck'
Jamis-Hagens Berman's Janier Acevedo doesn't need luck to win races. The 27-year-old Colombian climbs with the best in the world and descends like a demon, and he put those skills to use Thursday at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado to claim his second stage win in two of the big three US races.
Acevedo crossed the summit of the penultimate climb on the stage 4 route from Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek Village with WorldTour riders Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), then shot down the descent to take the stage win in front of the BMC rider.
Acevedo also won a stage at the Amgen Tour of California in May and finished third overall at that race. Earlier this month he finished third overall at the Tour of Utah by sticking close to final-stage winner Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy/Kenda) and overall winner Danielson on the difficult climb up Empire Pass before catching them on the harrowing downhill run into Park City.
"I'm showing now that California wasn't luck," the Spanish-speaking rider said through a translator during the post-stage press conference. "I feel very proud of myself and very happy for the season I am having. It was amazing for me to win in California and here with all the big names. I can't ask for more. I am very happy with all of my teammates – how they work for me and help me in all the races. So for me it is a dream."
If Acevedo dreams of moving from the UCI Continental ranks to a division-one team, he's keeping it a secret. Asked Thursday if he has been in contact with any WorldTour squads, Acevedo simply replied that he is very happy where he is and would be happy to stay with Jamis.
But Jamis team director Seba Alexandre told Cyclingnews that his rider has been in contact with several teams.
"Teams have contacted him and are interested in him," Alexandre said. "But he's just trying to finish this race and prove that California was not just luck. Once the race is over he will probably be more focused on his future."
Acevedo has been a boon for the Jamis program, also scoring stage wins at Silver City's Tour of the Gila and finishing second overall to Pro Continental rider Phil Deignen (UnitedHealthcare) at that UCI 2.2 race in New Mexico.
Alexandre said he contacted Acevedo during the middle of last season after seeing him perform at the Tour of Utah and in Mexico. Despite Acevedo not appearing to be the best rider on the South American squad he was riding for at the time, Alexandre saw something in the Colombian and decided to offer him an opportunity to ride with the US team this year.
"I trusted him and I talked to him and offered him to come on board to take the chance to come to – not a super big team in the US – but I told him, 'We are building a good team. We are putting good a team together, so why not join us,'" Alexandre said. "He said he would like to take the risk and go because he wanted the opportunity.
"We don't know his future," Alexandre continued. "But for sure he can say that he is very happy, and if not moving to any WorldTour team he will be free to ride with us. We are going to keep doing these races on this calendar, and he's going to show what kind of rider he is."