USA Cycling Pro Individual Time Trial National Championship

Today was the first of my two events at US Nationals.

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Another time trial national and another podium finish.

I gave it my all and definitely fought through some tough conditions out on course. While the course was far from my favorite, Knoxville is a place that I've grown to love and I enjoyed getting to race here.

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Congrats to Chad Haga on the strong ride and to my buddy, roomie and teammate Joey Rosskopf on an impressive title defense! 

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Stage 7 - Criterium du Dauphine

It feels great to be finished with the Critérium du Dauphiné, especially after these past four stages. The climbs were pretty crazy, especially how we raced over them.

Stage 7 was similar to Stage 6 except the break didn’t go until we were well into the first cat 1 climb, which made it smaller and GC threats made the selection. This meant the pace was on all stage. I focused on taking it one climb at a time, and I did my best to dig deep and stay with Damiano Caruso over the first three climbs.

We did so many switchbacks that I think the entire group was starting to get dizzy from the back and forth. The final kilometers were ones I had done at the 2016 TDF but had forgotten how fast and technical and how much road furniture filled the downhill approaching the base of the last climb.

We were riding good position with Damiano in the reduced group but some bonehead farther up opened a gap in one of the corners and we came into the 2-km flat before the final climb needing to close a small gap. Joey, Dylan and I poured it all out to get Damiano back in the mix. He did a great climb to lock in fifth place overall.

This race and its mountains were up and down, both literally and figuratively. Looking back at the past eight days, I’m pleased with how we raced and performed and with the final results. Personally, I was pleased to be with the best riders in the prologue, stay out of trouble in stages 2 and 3, and go into the TTT and make a significant contribution to the team’s ride.

I was happy to make some important and elite selections to support Damiano in his bid for a strong GC result. Now my legs are pretty cooked, and I’m looking forward to a few days in Girona before heading home to the USA for nationals.

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

Stage 6 - Criterium du Dauphine

Another Queen Stage-Gran Finale at the Critérium du Dauphiné. If you caught the race, you probably saw the same 20 guys that you’ve seen over the past two stages racing while everyone else was basically in survival mode.

From kilometer 0, it was straight into a 5-km climb at berserker speed. I fought my way to the front when we hit a valley and was following moves as we approached the start of the first HC climb. This is always a tricky moment. Frequently, it’s a good time to jump, but there’s a risk that if the move doesn’t go, you’ll be cooked for the climb and never recover.

Seeing more and more guys jump and Sky beginning to block the road, I saw this as my last chance and went for it. It took me the first few km of the climb to make contact with the front and once there, I was just hanging on to the top trying to recover from the hard effort I put down to make contact.

Our gap briefly went out to 3 minutes and then started to come down as we hit the next climb, another HC beast. The break began to explode as the strongest climbers heard the peloton was increasing speed and falling to pieces.

I realized I wasn’t up for following the best guys in the break, so I switched focus and pace in the hopes of staying with Damiano Caruso once the GC group caught me. It was only about 20 riders when they found me with three km to go. I fought hard to stay with them over the summit, so that I could get Damiano bottles and food in the short flat section following the few km descent.

It never ceases to amaze me how aggressive the positioning and fighting is in such a select group.  After making sure Damiano had everything he needed, I bit down and tried to hang on over the following climb, but was crushed from the high altitude and my earlier efforts and didn’t quite make it.

For a minute, I thought we might catch them on the downhill if they slowed down at all, but the race was on at the front, and that was it for me. I switched into survival mode up the final climb where Joey and Paddy joined me along with a steady group to ride to the top. A handful of guys came chugging by still pouring it all out and fighting for the top 50. I’m continually amazed how guys can get away with shenanigans like that. If I spent my resources that way, I wouldn’t still be in the game.

Tomorrow, we have even more climbing, which will come after a night sleeping at altitude in cold, no heat ski apartments that have been shut down for the season.

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

Stage 5 - Criterium du Dauphine

Stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné started well before kilometer 0 with an 11-km neutral where the last two kilometers were a solid climbing before we even started racing. Then immediately it was another 4 km at 8 percent.

These starts are the stuff of nightmares.

I’m always blown away how we sprint up a climb like this and then still have a full stage to ride. The guys who got in the breakaway earned it, but as we often see, there’s always a team who wants to chase it down even if it doesn’t make sense to the rest of us.

The middle of the stage was deceivingly hard. We were on small roads bouncing through French villages. If anyone wants the specs on a speed bump for a small French town, I smashed into about 500 of them today and now have a pretty in-depth knowledge of their construction.

The approach to the final climb intensified with some wet roads and so much road furniture that it meant game over if you weren’t already towards the front.

Fortunately, we stuck Damiano in a good position, and Dylan and Joey stepped up to take good care of him on the lower portions of the climb. Damiano finished off the final kilometers in strong fashion to move up into second overall.

As for me, I was really feeling the effects of yesterday’s big effort, and once I realized I couldn’t contribute anymore, I tried to wind it down—which is that even possible on a 12-km climb?—in hopes that I’ll rebound for the final two brutal days of climbing.

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

Stage 4 - Criterium du Dauphine

Stage 4 was your typical Critérium du Dauphiné day---no talking, no looking around. You bite the handlebar and go. I think we did around 50-52 km/hour for the first 90 minutes, so it’s no wonder no one got off the front.

Sixty kilometers in, we crested an uncategorized climb, and I found myself in a split with about 30 riders. A lot of the GC guys were there, but some had missed it. Mitchelton drilled it in the front group and QuickStep chased from behind and eventually brought us back. A few guys finally managed to get some separation in what would be the break of the day.

We zipped through the feed zone all singled out at more than 50 km/hour and the position battle was on for the approaching massive climb. There is no easy way up a 17-km climbing at over 7% in this field and the selection continued as the pace went up.

 

By the top, it was a fairly small group and I was happy to be there for Damiano. I grabbed a few bottles for him because we were all overheating. That didn’t last long, and the clouds opened up just in time for the highest point of the stage and a very technical downhill.

 

We took it fairly easy on the descent, and the group swelled in size. This added to the speed and chaos approaching the final climb with each team having a few horses going all-in on the approach. I went back for one last round of bottles and was amazed how far back the commissary’s car made me go off the back of the group to reach the team car.

I waved my hands at the guy comfortably seated inside the car with the standard, “come on man, give us a break, let our cars come up” gesture. He told me to calm down. I guess he must have been sleeping for the first 160-km, which were anything but calm.

As we hit the final climb, my teammates began to swing off, and I found myself chasing the group as it raged up the road. It was my fault for not having better position, but it wouldn’t have made too much of a difference as the pace was clearly too much for me. Damiano was looking awesome and is now fifth on GC.

I was happy to be up there while it lasted but I was realistic about my expectations. I think I’m riding pretty well but clearly so are 150 other guys here. We will see how tomorrow goes. I’ll be there to support Damiano and then make the call whether it’s better to keep fighting to stay close in the overall or let it open up and focus on rolling the dice in the final two days.

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

 

 

 

Stage 3 - Criterium du Dauphine

While shorter in distance, TTT days are always long days that take a commitment from everyone. It is no easier than a long road stage.

For Stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, we were up and out the door early to preview the course. While roads weren’t closed to traffic yet, we knew we needed to ride the course firsthand to feel the corners and undulations. Today’s course was a fast one with a slight cross tailwind, gently rolling roads and only a few corners.

After our recon, we headed onto the bus for a long wait before our warm-ups. At BMC Racing Team, we approach the TTT very seriously, and you can feel that focus on the bus and around the truck from everyone—mechanics, soigneurs, coaches, and directors. Everyone is on point and has a job to do.

You feel that pressure and energy, so today I made an effort to be aware of this collective effort and internalize it for my own power and motivation.

It’s a cool feeling racing a TTT with such a well-prepared and capable group. I’m always amazed once we hit the course how fast we go on those bikes and how close we are to one another. I don’t think any of the guys from BMC’s multiple TTT World Championships were here, but every guy on this squad has won a TTT before and knows what it takes.

In the end, we executed a strong and very solid performance, but we were outmatched by Sky. Still, at this level and this race, we are proud of that performance and the effort everyone put out there.

Tomorrow, a new race starts as we go into the big mountains and four straight days of summit finishes. Is there any race other than the Vuelta than does four straight summit finish days!?!

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

 

 

Stage 2 - Criterium du Dauphine

Stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné was similar to yesterday both in outcome and profile.

I think the group is a little intimidated by the massive mountain stages coming at us along with tomorrow’s team time trial. So today saw another small group get up the road.

While we had ominous rain clouds overhead, we were lucky and it held off for most of the stage, but it still meant we were navigating some slick, wet roads.

Again, the intensity ramped up early and the final two climbs brought about some selection and regrouping because there were still about 30 kilometers remaining after the summit of the final climb. If the reduced bunch made things less hectic, I didn’t notice!

The final kilometers felt chaotically desperate because everyone suddenly seemed inspired to be a sprinter and try their luck in what was still a pretty big group of around 80 guys.

My teammate Paddy hit out early with a super strong surge but was swallowed up before the line and ended eighth. We didn’t come here with a favorite for any of the stages, so personally, it’s encouraging to still be in the top 10 overall.

Heading into tomorrow’s TTT, Damiano Caruso and I are both in the top 10 overall and we are all motivated to put in a strong performance. I know they won’t make it easy on me, but I’m looking forward to only having to battle with my BMC Racing Team teammates and get out of that chaotic peloton before we go climbing crazy in the coming days.

📷 Getty Images / Tim De Waele

 

 

Stage 1 - Criterium du Dauphine

This year’s Critérium du Dauphiné doesn’t really feature any flat roads and the start list reflections that. Only a few, if any, teams brought a pure sprinter. Yet, today counted as the race’s sprinter’s stage.

The terrain on Stage 1 reminded me of the Blue Ridge Mountains with the climb lengths, green foliage, and thick humid air---all absolutely beautiful and perfect for bike riding. The humidity provided us with off and on rain for much of the stage.

Kilometer 0 was the start of a 10-kilometer climb, which turned out to be less brutal than most of us were expecting. A small break got away early, but that didn’t mean it was an easy day; it was every bit of World Tour pace and constant position fighting.

I spent a lot of the day towards the back just to keep out of the passive-aggressive position fighting. Getting to do that is one of the perks of not having one of the race favorites here with the BMC Racing Team. Instead, we get to pick our moments. Like all World Tour races in France, those “moments” came early with fighting ramping up with more than 50 kilometers remaining and finale nerves already kicking in.

The wet roads definitely factored in, and once we reached the final 2.5 laps of the finishing circuit, things only got more intense with numerous crashes.

The circuit was pretty sketchy and in my opinion overly dangerous. A finishing circuit is a great way to have more control over potentially dangerous variables, but it didn’t feel like that today. One thing that I noticed was that the majority of the course marshals that were flagging obstacles were not standing in front of the danger points like they usually do. Instead, they were off on the side of the road at an arbitrary distance. I’m not sure if this is new protocol, but it definitely lessens the effectiveness of the marshals and makes avoiding road furniture much more dangerous.

In the end, we had our GC man Damiano Caruso up there in the top 10. I smiled when I saw fellow Girona resident Daryl Impey grab the win. He’s a super nice hardworking guy who always displays impressive grit and versatility.

Tomorrow is looking like it’ll be even wetter. It features more of these “small” 5-6 km climbs and then we head into the TTT on Wednesday.

📷 @gettyimages @tdwsport

 

 

Prologue - Criterium du Dauphine

The transition from California to Europe and into the Dauphine had its ups and downs, so today was nice to stop thinking and start feeling the fire of racing again. And a prologue was a great way to do that.

While I don’t remember my last prologue, I do remember my first Dauphine back in 2009. I had a strong performance then, so today I thought back to that and channeled the feelings and energy from then.

Seven and half minutes is a painful effort, but it is over so quickly that it’s important to get into a good mental place. I had a plan of attack—-there were a couple of corners that needed a little braking and speed scrubbing but otherwise it was quite fast and not too technical.

As always at this distance, the margins were small and every second counted. I was happy to be on the fast side of milliseconds to get into the top 10, especially considering the stacked field, most of whom are honing their TDF form.

The Dauphine is always extra challenging because it factors into pre-TDF build-up and the crazy team selection process. Additionally, it’s a time where many riders are negotiating contracts for the coming year. I am sure these dynamics will factor in during the week ahead and make an already physically daunting race a hard-fought battle every day.

📷@fotoreportersirotti

 

Stage 7 - Tour of California

What a crazy exit out of CA!

I went to Santa Cruz for a sponsor event and managed to make it to the airport with very little time to spare.

I’m already heading back to Spain and it is incredible to think back on how quickly the past two weeks flew by. The racing was as heated as ever, and clearly, the most deserving riders won each stage and the overall.

This year was different for me heading there straight from Tour de Yorkshire with only a few short days in between. While they were short, those were some great pre-race days with the BMC Racing Team guys. We enjoyed some good California rides on our way down to Long Beach.

Once the race started, I sometimes forgot I was in the USA with the peloton so international and likely stronger than ever before. I also noticed the cultural shift with the A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), who also handles the Le Tour de France, now running the race. What hasn’t changed was the spectacular showcase of the beautiful state of California.

It was a pleasure and honor to make our way from Long Beach up to Sacramento and to be cheered on by the American fans the whole way. I loved hearing my name shouted each day when I went for sign on. My dad and stepmom came in for the final stages, which was a personal highlight.

We’ve come to expect long transfers with traffic during this race but knowing there would an American-sized bed waiting for me and a breakfast box stocked with the amazing produce from places like Whole Foods added that touch of American convenience and comfort that I miss when I’m In Europe.

And the burritos!

I had a solid dose of post-race burritos, which hopefully will keep me going until my next trip back to the States.

Personally, it was a week of ups and downs. Despite being frustrated for not improving on my third and fourth overall finishes from the past two years, I’m taking a more long-term perspective. While I wasn’t able to continue my top five trend, I believe I still have it in me.

I came into the week with high ambitions of riding a strong overall race but was disappointed to be off the mark on Stage 2. From there, it was a matter of shifting focus and returning to teammate mode in support of Tejay and his bid for the overall. I was proud to be in the fight with a group of fast finishers in Stage 3, in contention with my TT ride compared to the other GC players, and that I was able to fill the role of valuable teammate.

It’s nice to have the ATOC as a way to assess my progress as an athlete and as a person over the years. When I think back to Tejay’s overall win in 2013, I can see how far I’ve come and how much harder this race has gotten. Back then, I was purely a teammate and never considered being at this race as a GC contender. The race has grown tremendously in its demand and depth since then. Similarly, I feel I have also developed.

The changes aren’t just on the bike; I’ve worked to become a leader, and it is satisfying to have a race where I can see this work translate into results. I am still inspired to work and achieve. Maybe the best news of the week was that we learned the Tour of California will continue and I hope to be there 12 months from now.

As for today, I’m looking forward to getting back to Jamie over in Girona and catching a little rest before getting back at it in the Dauphine in a couple of short weeks.

📷 VeloImages

Stage 5 - Tour of California

At today’s sign-in, the announcers were already asking about Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. I reminded them Stage 5 was still ahead and we had a lot to deal with. While it had a flatter profile and less technical, it was still a day where we needed to be heads up and switched on.

Heading into the race, wind was the main topic of discussion along with how it would play out with the world-class sprinters we have here.

We were fortunate that some of the sprinters’ teams immediately showed their muscle up front and helped us encourage a good small group to get away. The sprinters’ teams quickly got to work controlling their gap, and BMC Racing Team posted up behind them as we navigated some slightly more technical roads through the middle section of the stage.

There were a few crashes behind, so we were happy to be up front and clean. On these “sprint” days where we race on wider roads with fewer corners, the group typically gets nervous sooner than it needs to. Today was the perfect example of that.

The wind was never strong enough to cause major echelons, but there was plenty of nervous position fighting from corner to corner in the final 50 kilometers. Sometimes it feels like a waste of energy to be pushing up front during those moments, but then a big crash happens and the effort is obviously well spent.

We were happy to defend the jersey and head into tomorrow’s epic high-altitude climbing slog with as much banked energy as we can expect after five solid days of racing. I fully expect to have everything thrown at us, but I’m also confident in our group and looking forward to the challenge.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

Stage 4 - Tour of California

As expected, today’s time trial provided a big shake up and was a great balance after the more pure climber focused Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California.

Thanks to the excellent prep work of our Californian director Jackson Stewart, we had some good virtual recon ahead of time. This morning was our first chance to see the course. It was fairly straightforward and required a relatively steady rhythm and supreme aerodynamics. There were a couple of small handling sections, but I never had to touch the breaks. This meant the speed was always up and the power profile would be constant.

The wind was definitely a factor with a brutal headwind for the first half and a ripping tailwind for the final 12 kilometers, at least for anyone who began later in the start order because the wind shifted from morning to afternoon.

In the first half, I struggled to find a good rhythm thanks to the headwind. Our follow cars with director feedback were placed behind stage favorites Patrick Bevin and Tejay, so I was flying in the dark out. I just tried to stay focused on my breathing, position and pedal stroke.

Forty-five minutes is a long time to be riding at your limit, all alone, and stuck in the TT position. Time trialing still isn’t my strongest ability, but I’ve been working hard on improving. I felt l did a decent job staying focused and not letting those negative thoughts (which were telling me that I was c.r.e.e.p.i.n.g) get into my mind.

To my surprise, my strongest section was the dead flat, straight final 12 km. Over this section, I was very close to the pace of the top finishers, but my poor first half left me with too much time to make up. This put me just out of the top 10 on the stage but bumped me up to 10th overall.

The day was a very happy one for BMC Racing Team because we all know how badly Tejay wanted this and how hard he worked for it. It is a true testament to commitment and persistence, and it’s nice to see Tejay being rewarded after a challenging spring season. We will do everything we can to bring him to Sacramento in that jersey.

📷 VeloImages

 

Stage 3 - Tour of California

Stage 3 took us on some fresh roads we’ve never raced before at the Amgen Tour of California and then brought us back to the finish from 2016 on the Laguna Seca Raceway.

The new sections were those roads you love to ride but are super challenging to race. Think bumpy, broken surface roads that are narrow with steep ups and downs; it almost feels like mountain biking on a road bike.

Once again the depth of the field showed itself over those sections. The pace was high, but not high enough to prevent a few brave souls from attacking.

We did our best to stay around Tejay and keep him protected and well positioned, which was essential because there were a few crashes and plenty of sketchy moments.

The final kilometers on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca were an explosive sufferer fest! I was digging deep to stay up front and in position for what we thought would be a small bunch sprint. Yet an inspired late surge from the break and some super gusty wind conditions played a role.

You hear it over and over--only the podium or winning matters. Yet judging by the aggressiveness in the sprint for third, that cliché is far from the truth. I did my best to time my surge and put myself into good position heading into the last corner, but a few guys still swiped me on the inside.

Overall, I was pleased to be up there in the mix, feel that finish line fire and get into the top 10 in a stacked field of fast guys.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

 

Stage 2 - Tour of California

Today was a tough day.

Not tough like we suffered and battled all day, but tough because I didn’t deliver the performance I expected of myself. I have been working so hard towards today.

The unpredictability of this sport is what makes it interesting and what gives me personally a lot of hope and ambition, but it is also cruel and so challenging to exist in this as your job, your livelihood.

Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California was a fairly mellow and uneventful day for the first 140 kilometers leading into the final climb. The pace and position fighting ramped up pretty hard as we approached the final climb, but the BMC Racing Team guys were always up front. I went into the start of the final climb in the first five positions.

The depth of this field began to show as each team had a number of strong guys who all wanted to do an all-out max effort pull to show themselves. If anything, I was maybe too far upfront during this phase. As I followed the acceleration of guys doing their final pulls, I already felt like I was nearing my max. Looking back it’s easy to say that sitting back a bit could have saved me a few accelerations, but being upfront kept me out of the mayhem….so it’s hard to say what would have been the best move.

In the end, Tejay did a solid climb to keep himself within striking distance. I’ll have to go back to the drawing board and get creative with how I can get myself back in the mix and hopefully apply some pressure to the teams ahead of us.

📷 Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEG

 

 

 

Stage 1 - Tour of California

The turnaround from last week racing at Tour de Yorkshire to kicking off the Amgen Tour of California today was short, but after being in a hotel the whole time and having a long build-up of pre-race activities, everyone was eager to get the race going.

Stage 1 played out exactly as we expected with a small break getting caught before a fast bunch sprint. It was a fairly straightforward day, except for a few orange traffic cones keeping us on our toes. The wide American roads meant there was constant reshuffling and my legs felt a little stale, but the speed and acceleration out of the corners helped open them up a bit.

Hopefully, they are primed for tomorrow’s big day. It’s the highly anticipated summit finish showdown on Gibraltar…..

📷 VeloImages

 

 

Stage 4 - Tour de Yorkshire

We knew heading into the final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire that we had a good chance of getting Greg the overall win. But this was only possible if we all rode to our potential and laid it on the line for the team.

(Personally, I was also thinking about how I could make that happen while also going for the win myself…)

I was hoping to play my chances late in the race, but after a fast start and a solid 7-kilometer climb following neutral, the race opened up. With only four BMC Racing Team guys supporting Greg, I was on duty to look for early moves and find opportunities to apply pressure on other teams. This chance came sooner than I expected and before I knew it, I was away in a strong group of 10 riders. There were multiple guys in the group within a minute of the lead, but I was the highest-placed rider at ~ 20 seconds back. This would definitely put pressure on Astana, and we hoped it would isolate their leader later in the race.

Our group worked fairly well together, at least for the first half but being the highest placed rider GC rider meant I was a threat and could win the whole race.

This put me in a position of extra pressure and responsibility and I had to figure out how to keep the group moving and working together as long as possible. This would give us the best chance on a physically and technically demanding stage. I had to put in some extra pulls and heavily mark the others as guys tired, shirked pulls and eventually became frustrated and started attacking.

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Back in the peloton, the race leader was under pressure and showing weakness. Greg came over the radio and said he had super legs and no one could beat him. I knew this likely meant my chances to go for it were over, but I still had a crucial role to play. As Greg’s group caught us, I battled to stay with the best riders as they attacked on the final classified climb. Cort Neilson had been dropped, and now it was up to Danilo Wyss and me to go all-in, sell out for Greg, keep the pace up, and hold the front group together.

After a long day out front, I buried myself heading into the finish. I would have loved to hang onto a nice top 10 result by staying in the group, but we raced 100 percent to get the overall win for Greg. It feels good to help make that happen. That ride gave me a lot of confidence heading into Amgen Tour of California. It was also refreshing to have great legs on such a demanding stage and drive a strong break through my favorite type of roads for riding a bike.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

 

Stage 3 - Tour de Yorkshire

Stage 3 was the final chance for the sprinters to grab a win at Tour de Yorkshire. While today’s profile was the most demanding so far, we were hoping to mix things up, put other teams under pressure, and create some opportunities for ourselves.

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Starting with only five guys and obviously wanting to protect Greg made this a tall order, but we gave it a good go. We started our effort with Danilo Wyss and Patrick Bevin setting a stiff pace on a short steep climb with about 50 kilometers to go, which caused some splits in the bunch.

From there, we caught the early break and once the race reset, attacks started flying. With around 25 km to go, I jumped in a move with five guys. We snaked through the outskirts of Scarborough and bounced through some of the city’s cobblestone streets. 

I hoped that without a full contingent of sprinter’s teams in the main bunch due to the earlier split, there would be a greater chance for us to get a little gap. Despite a big effort from the five of us, they kept us pretty close and brought us back inside the final 10 km. 

Then Paddy tried a nice move with about 4 km to go, but he also got caught in the closing kilometers. 

While the bunch sprint was tactical and chaotic, I appreciated the amazing crowds, stunning coastline and breathtaking finish line scene and was pleased that Greg was able to sprint to eighth.

Tomorrow will be without a doubt the most demanding day of this race. It features a jagged profile and total altitude gain of a full-on mountain stage, so I think the strongest guys will end up in the front. Hopefully, that means a few of us BMC Racing Team guys are in there going for it.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

Stage 2 - Tour de Yorkshire

Stage 2 of Tour de Yorkshire was a full-on day of racing, and it was back into hillier and more technical terrain.

After the break stuck yesterday, there was a major battle to get off the front and it took around 50-60 kilometers before things settled down.

The race was downright chaotic and we were on rollercoaster roads when we lost my roomie at this race, Tom Bohli, to a crash. He got tangled up with a few riders who overcooked a corner while going on the attack.

Considering we were already starting one-man down, we immediately felt the loss of Tom. It meant the rest of us BMC Racing Team had to step up and spend a little more energy than was ideal.

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Fortunately, Paddy Bevin was up there with a key early move and then Nathan Van Hooydonck contributed to the pace making once the break went.

Things heated up in the final 25 km and we took the lead for the final approach into the uphill finish. I felt strong, but when the best guys including Greg, made an explosive acceleration with around 700 meters to go, I couldn’t muster much more than a hard steady pace. Greg fought hard for the win and came up just a bit short with a nice second place, while I just snuck into the top 10.

We have two unpredictable stages to come, especially Sunday’s final stage, which packs a massive amount of total climbing. We plan to stay heads up and switched on hoping to benefit from our collective depth, even with our reduced team.

📷 Chris Auld Photography

Stage 1 - Tour de Yorkshire

I’ve had one race day in the past six weeks, so t was nice to get some race pace back in my legs at the Tour de Yorkshire. Today was a sunny and dry, which meant many fans were lining the roads. The crowds at the Tour de Yorkshire are absolutely incredible, especially when you consider it’s a Thursday! I can’t wait to see what this weekend will look like...

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Stage 1 was a bit uncharacteristic of what I’ve learned to expect at Yorkshire with mainly flat terrain. It was far less hilly than anything we saw last year.

Regardless, the roads here always seem quite heavy. So mix that with how long it’s been since I raced and I felt a little sluggish, but I could tell my legs were heading in the right direction and I expect I’ll improve over the days to come.

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The big thing at today’s race was the break stayed away. I was surprised that happened, but they earned it. We never slowed down once the sprinter’s teams began to ride. I’m not sure how it looked on TV, but I think the decisive moment came in the final few kilometers when we could see the break. Typically, a break will start to attack itself, play games and look at each other, but this group was committed and went all in. It’s a testament to the mentality of the smaller teams.

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Tomorrow is clearly a big day for the overall GC with the uphill finish. I have never seen this climb, so it’s hard to know how selective it will be. Either way, it looks like a great finish for Greg, so we will look to set him up for a good one.

📷 Photo Chris Auld Photography