Monday, March 18, 2013

Valley of the Sun: Stage Race (2013)

Photo of Ben Jacques-Maynes' Stage 2 Win by Dean Warren
Photo of JJ Haedo's Stage 3 Win by Jonathan Devich

Phoenix, AZ - Team Jamis - Hagens Berman enjoyed a nearly flawless start to the domestic racing season this past weekend. A full roster of riders came together in Phoenix, AZ for the Valley of the Sun Stage Race, a 3-day event consisting of an opening time trial, 150km road race, and final day criterium.

The race got off to a great start with Ben Jaques-Maynes setting a new course record on a gently rolling 14 mile out and back time trial. With his win, Ben inherited the race leader's jersey that he would carry throughout the weekend. Luis, the defending champion, also had a strong ride to finish on the podium in 3rd.

The Stage 2 road race was a hot and exposed affair over a 150km windswept course that featured a shallow climb up to the finish. The team took complete control of the race. Despite an aggressive field, the unity of the team kept all attacks in check and the guys ended up riding the front from beginning to end. In the finale, Ben was able to take his second consecutive victory in a field sprint from a diminished peloton.

The final stage criterium featured aggressive riding from the gun. The team covered all the early attacks before launching Luis and Ruben into a threatening breakaway. A frantic and furious chase from the peloton behind eventually brought back the break. In the closing laps of the race, Team Jamis-Hagens Berman put the entire team on the front and performed a blistering lead out for the impending field sprint. JJ Haedo was able to capitalize on the team's hard work by delivering his first win of the year. Demis Aleman, the team's final lead out man, carried his speed across the line to finish on the podium in 3rd.

When all the dust had settled, Ben had comfortably won the overall with Luis joining him on the podium in 3rd. The team was able to win every stage and the overall! With the team in good spirits, they now head to the desert of Tucson, AZ for a 10-day Training Camp.

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