North American teams' results bode well for upcoming Amgen Tour of California
North American-based Continental teams SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy and Team Type 1 travelled south to the Vuelta Mexico Telmex last week and neither came back empty handed.
The eight-stage race concluded in Mexico City on Sunday with Oscar Sevilla (Rock Racing) as the overall race winner.
Team Type 1's sprinter Aldo Ino Iiesic kicked off the opening stage at the Veracruz 110-kilometre circuit race with a win and wore the early leader's jersey. His teammate Davide Frattini rode into a decisive front group split in the mountains and sprinted to a third place during stage four's Orizaba-Tlaxcala, a 220km road race.
All-rounder Valeriey Kobzarenko moved into third place in the overall classification, briefly, before falling off the leader's pace. Iiesic nabbed another podium with a third place in the eighth and final stage, a 100-kilometre circuit race in Mexico City.
The squad capped off a successful stage race by winning the overall team classification.
"I would say we missed a podium in GC, but racing is racing and I know some guys are slightly tired after Tour of Morocco and there were super hard stages here at Tour of Mexico," said directeur sportif Vassili Davidenko. "After three stage wins and podium places at the Tour of Morocco, another UCI 2.2 event, I knew we were going to do well in Mexico."
"I was confident in the guys," he said. "I think we have a great team and as a result, five UCI wins so far, and I just got a text from the US that Ken Hanson won the Roswell criterium. This team was built right. We should be ready, we are all looking forward to the Amgen Tour of California, we should have an all-round team, and I believe we will be very competitive."
Canada's sole Continental team, SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy put forth an equally strong performance capturing two stage wins. The squad's directeur sportif Steve Bauer was pleased with his team's effort during the Vuelta Mexico Telmex. "We have met our objectives. We came to win stages and we have that success."
Martin Gilbert was the first to capture a podium place when he sprinted to third in the opening stage. His teammate Francois Paresien won stage two's Veracruz to Xalapa, 108-kilometre road race. Flavio De Luna captured the second stage win for his team when he won stage five's Tlaxcala-Cuautla 175-kilometre road race.
"I am not surprised we have posted great results this year with 12 UCI stage wins to date," Bauer said. "We have worked hard and the team is coming together well as a group. We are excited about Flavio de Luna's stage win. We made the correct tactical plan with Bruno Langlois attacking first, opening the chance for Flavio's solo counter attack at two kilometres to go. We caught 17 other riders in the break with their pants down. Our success has come from superb teamwork and rider sacrifice such as what Bruno did for Flavio in the closing kilometers of stage five."
Two of Bauer's riders are currently injured with Ryan Roth nursing a knee injury and Keven Lacombe, who departed Mexico early with gastroenteritis. Despite being short handed, Bauer is confident that his team is well-equipped to handle to tough racing ahead at the Amgen Tour of California set to begin on May 16 in Nevada City.
"I am confident we have done all we can for our racing program to have our team fit and our guys are going well. If we miss these boys for the Amgen Tour of California that will hurt our power. In such a small team we need all our boys 100 percent healthy. If we can go in with our men healthy, then I am confident."
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