Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) made a lengthy bid for a hometown win at the Amgen Tour of California’s stage three finish in Santa Cruz on Tuesday. The local pro muscled over the day’s three climbs with a five-man break only to get caught at the base of the decisive final ascent up Bonny Doon Road.
"This was huge, it is my brother Ben and my hometown and we ride these roads every day," Jacques-Maynes told Cyclingnews. "It was so big to have the biggest race in the country ride down our local roads. We definitely have local knowledge. The cycling community in Santa Cruz is so huge and fitting that a hotbed of cycling gets a stage finish. The crowds were amazing."
The strong-man used his knowledge of the course to sneak away from the peloton 50km into the 182km stage. His four companions included Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Davide Frattini (Team Type 1), Eric Boily (SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy) and Will Routely (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda).
Jacques-Maynes did is fair share of work to get over the first three King of the Mountain climbs located on Tunitas Creek Road, CA 84 and Pescadero Road, saving enough energy in hopes of making it over the fourth and final climb over Bonny Doon Road.
Last year, Jacques-Maynes had been eager to win the equivalent stage into Santa Cruz, however, he crashed into a parked car on the flat section before Bonny Doon Road and was taken away in an ambulance. He had similar bad luck in Monday's rainy stage two when he crashed on the slick descent off to Trinity Road and rolled down the side of a cliff.
"We were just off the back of the front group over the crest of the last climb on Trinity yesterday," Jacques-Maynes said. "We were trying to chase down a wet road and that was a big mistake for sure. I just went over the edge about 10 or 15 feet, not too bad. I grabbed my bike and hauled in back up. The seat was gone and I broke my bike so I had to wait for a new one.
"We were all crashed up this morning so we needed to see how things went before going into a break today," he added. "I wasn’t too stiff from the crashing so I wanted to give it a try."
The Bissell squad is well-known on the US domestic scene for its time trialling ability. Ben Jacques-Maynes placed third in the race's 2007 time trial and inside the top-15 in the past two editions of the Amgen Tour of California time trial. The team hopes to perform well in this year’s stage seven time trial, which will be held in downtown Los Angeles.
"We will be looking for opportunities to make it to the end and set up for a good finish," said Jacques-Maynes regarding his team’s race ambitions. "Ben has always been in the top-ten [sic] in the time trial here and he will be giving it everything. Jeremy Vennell is a former New Zealand time trial champion and he will want to ride hard. The time trial has been our specialty so we will want to go for a high placing there."