The final stage of the Redlands Classic didn't quite end up as planned for Plowman Craven RT, despite Simon Richardson sitting comfortably on GC, close to the top 20, and with a course profile in front of him that was going to suit his style of climbing, and the possibility of moving up on GC.
But the team was affected by the two early crashes, having five of the six riders go down in one of them, including Richardson. Alex Higham, Tom Barras, Neil Coleman and Simon Gaywod were the other unlucky ones. Only Evan Oliphant could avoid it and stayed in the 20-man strong front group.
But Oliphant punctured right before entering a high-speed descent. Despite no team service vehicles allowed, Oliphant received a quick wheel change from the Mavic motorbike, and then buried himself to try and get back to the lead group. But the 80-km/h speeds through the technical and demanding descent, he was not able to return to the group.
The last day was hard, with only around 80 riders finishing. The next race for the team is the Garret Limere Crit in Ojai, California, next weekend.
(Additional reporting and research provided by Susan Westemeyer.)