Outfoxing a stacked UnitedHealthcare team, Jelly Belly's Brad Huff took his second Dana Point Grand Prix win today on a sunny afternoon in Southern California.
On the final lap of the 90 minute race, Huff, who also won the 2011 edition, tucked in behind a UnitedHealthcare lead out train and out-kicked the charging field on the final straightaway on California's iconic Pacific Coast Highway.
Twenty-two-year old Justin Williams (CashCall Mortgage) placed second while 20-year old Ben Swedberg (California Giant Berry Farms) took third ahead of fourth place Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare).
The six-corner race took riders through a neighborhood of finely appointed, tile-roofed homes above the Pacific Ocean and Dana Point Harbor. An early three-man break containing Sergio Hernandez (Jelly Belly), Alex Darville (Hammer Nutrition), and Ian Moir (Kelly Benefit Strategies) split off the front some 20 minutes into the race. But with UnitedHealthcare strongman Karl Menzies at the front of the field, their effort did not last long.
Another breakaway got away some 50 minutes into the race, but when past Dana Point winner Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation) attacked the field in an attempt to bridge up to the break, alarm bells went off in the pack and the break of about 15 riders was absorbed.
CashCall Mortgage rider Stefano Barberi countered in a bold solo move on a gentle riser on the course's back stretch. Barberi's advantaged stretched to 30 seconds - at one point he was so far off the front that he was out of the field's sight. Before things could get out of hand, South African Jay Thomson took over duties for UnitedHealthcare at the front of the field and with seven laps remaining Barberi had been fished back to the peloton.
From that point on, UnitedHealthcare tightly controlled the sharp end of the race, but their efforts were for naught.
With five to go, Huff was jammed up some 50 riders back and relied on his Jelly Belly teammates for an escalator ride back up to the UnitedHealthcare floor. Then on the bell lap, Huff and youngsters Williams and Swedberg powered through in the last 100 meters to sweep the podium positions.
"It's impressive," Huff said about his win. "UnitedHealthcare took the front with about seven to go and I didn't know if it was going to happen because it was pretty hectic behind them. My team just did a hell of an effort to get me back up into position and I was able to finish it off."
"It feels great" to win a second Dana Point race, Huff added. "I've had a pretty rough season so far. I crashed in Taiwan and separated my AC joint, so I'm just happy to be here." He explained that he still has not fully recovered from the injury. "As long as I don't fall it's OK."
Commenting on the argy-bargy final laps, Huff noted that "everyone thought they were a sprinter and everyone thought they wanted to be on UnitedHealthcare's wheel. It kind of makes it a little dangerous for the actual sprinters." He later added, good naturedly, "But you know, that happens. I'm just proud of myself for being able to pull it out for the team."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Brad Huff (Jelly Belly Cycling)||1:28:52|
|2||Justin Williams (CashCall Mortgage)|
|3||Benjamin Swedberg (California Giant Cycling)|
|4||Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|5||Ken Hanson (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|6||Luke Keough (Mountain Khakis/SmartStop)|
|7||Alex Darville (Hammer Nutrition/CMG Racing Team)|
|8||Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation-CA)|
|9||Sean Sullivan (Elbowz Racing)|
|10||Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|11||Kayle Leo Grande (Monster Media Racing SCVELO)|
|12||Diego Sandoval (Southern California Velo)|
|13||Colton Barrett (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|14||Anthony Canevari (CashCall Mortgage)|
|15||Samuel Grove (Southern California Velo)|
|16||Benjamin Zawacki (Mountain Khakis/SmartStop)|
|17||Jared Barrilleaux (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)|
|18||Brian Mcculloch (CashCall Mortgage)|
|19||Danny Heeley (Hagens Berman Cycling)||0:00:05|
|20||Chris Demarchi (Monster Media Racing SCVELO)||0:00:06|
|21||Kyle Gritters (Sho-air/Rock 'n Road)|
|22||Danny Kam (Monster Media Racing SCVELO)|
|23||David Santos (CashCall Mortgage)|
|24||Nathanael Christensen (Michael David Winery Cycling Team)|
|25||Neil Bezdek (Mountain Khakis/SmartStop)|
|27||Trevor Haag (Spy-Swami's Development Elite Team)|
|28||Stefano Barberi (CashCall Mortgage)|
|29||Mike Tettleton (Full Circle Cycling)|
|30||Ben Bertiger (Stage 17 Racing)|
|31||Steve Fisher (Hagens Berman Cycling)|
|32||Shawn Vangassen (SoCalCycling.com / Echelon Design)|
|33||Martin Acosta (McGuire Cycling Team)|
|34||Joe Dickerson (McGuire Cycling Team)|
|35||Andrew Bosco (SoCalCycling.com / Echelon Design)|
|36||Tyler Jewell (Elbowz Racing)|
|37||Daniel Katz (Stage 17 Racing)|
|38||Randall Coxworth (Monster Media Racing SCVELO)|
|39||Michael Johnson (Breakaway from Cancer Masters)|
|40||Taylor Bertrand-Barrett (Wonderful Pistachios)|
|41||Michael Jasinski (Wonderful Pistachios)|
|42||Michael Smith Larsen|
|44||Brian Forbes (Unity Racing)|
|45||Shawn Daurelio (Velo Club LaGrange)|
|46||Victor Ayala (Velo Club LaGrange)|
|47||Jacob Duehring (DNA)|
|49||Diego Yepez (Full Circle Cycling)|
|52||Andrew Salcedo (Sky Procycling)|
|53||Sergio Hernandez (Jelly Belly Cycling)|
|54||Michael Herdman (Sho-air/Rock 'n Road)|
|55||Mark Shimahara (TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling)|
|56||Lucas Binder (Spy-Swami's Development Elite Team)||0:00:23|
|57||Robert Kamppila (CA Pools / CFS Mortgage)|
|58||Miles Lamon (TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling)|
|59||Zack Simkover (TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling)|
|60||Rand Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized)|
|61||Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly Cycling)|
|62||Jonathan Parrish (Bicycle Haus Elite)|
|63||Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthCare)||0:00:28|
|64||Brandon Gritters (Sho-air/Rock 'n Road)|
|65||Stuart Press (Velo Club LaGrange)|
|66||Michael Weicht (CashCall Mortgage)|
|67||Eric Marcotte (Elbowz Racing)||0:00:31|
|68||Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly Cycling)||0:00:33|
|69||Patrick Caro (Full Circle Cycling)||0:00:37|
|70||Ian Moir (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|71||Joshua Goodwin (SoCalCycling.com)|
|72||Daniel Farinha (Full Circle Cycling)|
|73||Armin Rahm (Time Factory Team)|
|74||Heath Blackgrove (Elbowz Racing)||0:00:44|
|75||Joseph Schmalz (Elbowz Racing)|
|76||Bryan Larsen (Stage 17 Racing)||0:00:49|
|77||Jeremiah Wiscovitch (Southern California Velo)||0:00:57|
|78||David Mccook (McGuire Cycling Team)||0:01:15|
|79||Jay Thomson (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)||0:01:18|
|80||Adrian Hegyvary (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|