Keven Lacombe (SpiderTech p/b C10) secured a respectable fourth place in the bunch sprint at the Amgen Tour of California's second stage that finished on the streets of Sacramento. The Canadian fast-man acknowledged the high quality sprinters in attendance but is aiming for a stage win nonetheless.
"There's some very fast guys here and it's never easy to win a race, you have to be the fastest that day and there are a lot of things that you can't control," Lacombe told Cyclingnews. "It's going to be really, really hard but I think we are better than the years before and we are looking for a stage win."
Lacombe relied on teammates Martin Gilbert and Zach Bell to bring him into an optimal sprint position during the three short finishing circuits in Sacramento. Lacombe boldly initiated the sprint, however, he was passed by Ben Swift (Sky ProCycling) who won the stage ahead of Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) in second and Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) in third.
"We tried to control the front because that is so much easier - with the rain and all the corners it was really dangerous," Lacombe said. "I think it really helped me to be fresh for the end. Actually it's a team effort, and at the end I tried to do my best, but the last 50 metres I got passed by three guys. We still have a lot of stages to do, so we will try to do the same and maybe it will work."
SpiderTech p/b C10 was granted a status upgrade as Canada's first UCI Professional Continental team. Its riders, including Lacombe, spent the majority of the winter and early spring competing on the European circuit. Lacombe achieved ample success with top ten placings at Ronde van Drenthe, Circuit de la Sarthe and Nokere Koerse
"We had a pretty nice beginning of the season in Europe," Lacombe said. "We showed that we can race at that level and this was our first year as Pro Continental status. I think we showed good things and it looks like we are prepared for the Amgen Tour of California."
"One thing that we are really focused on is to have good performances during the sprint stages here," he added. "Me and Martin Gilbert and Zach Bell were really looking forward to more of those days. We will see what happens because there are things that we can't always control, but if we have a chance then we are going to take it."
Lacombe could have three more opportunities to sprint. Bunch sprints are predicted during stage three in Modesto, stage five in Paso Robles and stage eight in Thousand Oaks.
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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