In its first year as a UCI Continental squad, the BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team has notched solid results both domestically and internationally, but Ty Magner arguably scored the team's biggest victory to date with a win on Thursday in the final stage at the Tour of China. For Magner, a 21-year-old Georgia native, it was his first win in a UCI event and a fine capstone to a season in which he'd been crowned the U23 national criterium champion in late June.
Magner previously rode the Tour of China in 2011 as a stagiaire for US-based Pro Continental squad Team Type 1 but fell sick and suffered through the UCI 2.1-ranked stage race. This time around, however, he drew on his past experience to stay healthy and showed his cards first on stage 3, where he finished second to Team Type 1-Sanofi sprinter Aldo Ino Ilesic.
"The finishes here are really wild and super-fast," Magner told Cyclingnews from Wuhan, China. "I'm not really used to that kind of speed yet. In America you have turns and other stuff to break the field up and slow it down a little bit whereas here it's five kilometres on a straight, four-lane highway and we're going 45mph into the finish. It's a little hard to get used to, I definitely don't have the pure power that all the sprinters have here, but we're working on it."
A close look at the road book for the sixth and final stage revealed a tricky finish, featuring a near 180-degree turn 500 metres prior to the finish, which the young American devo team played to perfection.
"It was the last stage so we looked over the race route and paid special attention to the final 10km run into the finish," said Thomas Craven, BMC-Hincapie Sportswear Development Team director. "We marked all the final turns and bridges and tried to figure out the elevation changes and turns with the different bridges, turns and roundabouts. We knew we were going to come down off a bridge, exit to the right and then make a sharp left almost a U-turn to the finish. Ty and the team amassed at the front and shot the gap at the front of the field, made the U-turn at the front and let Ty loose."
"I came out of the corner with a huge gap on the field and I just had to hit it from there and was able to hold it all the way to the line, luckily," said Magner. "I don't normally sprint like that, it was a first for me, but I saw the opportunity and was able to take advantage of it. We were all really happy about it.
"I would say this is definitely my biggest win, besides [criterium] nationals," said Magner. "It's my first pro win. It's kind of a relief, actually. I was second on the last day in Cascade and that was a heartbreaker, a tough stage. I've been fourth a lot and had a lot of top fives down at [Uruguay's] Rutas de America in February so this was great to finally get the win."
One of Magner's fourth place finishes this year was at the Terrapin Twilight Criterium in Athens, Georgia, where he's resided for several years, and a result he definitely wants to improve on.
"That's a dream race to win for sure," said Magner. "Two years ago in 2010 I was fifth, I was in the breakaway with all the pros, and that was a crazy experience. This year it was a wild race and there wasn't much control going on. It came down to a field sprint and I was happy to get fourth but that's definitely a race that I want to win."