Perfect. That’s the only way to describe how my Garmin-Chipotle teammates rode stage 2. We knew we had the team to take control of the race and we used the confidence to do exactly that. Our BMX start specialist, Will, with some Tour form to boot, hit out from the blocks causing a reaction from the field. We countered with Pate, Peterson, Stetina, and myself all going away at some point on the first climb. Just over the top, we had our entire team in a group of less than 30 and could take turns following attacks in the valley before the next climb. Danielson was in a strong move, but with Oscar Sevilla of Rock Racing in it as well, it was short lived.
The second climb was a little more mellow with Peter attacking a couple times. His acceleration opened some gaps, but all of the favorites were forced to respond and it was more or less still together. A promising breakaway of six with Danny Pate established itself following the downhill. Unfortunately for us, nobody wanted to work with him. No surprise, after all, since we all saw The Pate in stage 15 at the Tour. A reshuffling followed with a new ten-rider break going with Peterson and myself in it. Once again, Sevilla was present and that was a no go. Peterson told him that we were going to chase it as long as he was there, so he escorted Sevilla back to the field.
Now with eight left in the breakaway, we were sitting pretty. I could let the others in the breakaway do the work as Jason was the race leader. Up the final climb, I followed Lill and pretty soon it was just us two left. Back in the field, Peterson set an incredible tempo to whittle the lead group down and isolate most of the other team’s leaders. Nearing the top of the climb, the two of us still had a good advantage ahead of the chase group with Jason still amongst the favorites. It was perfect. I had the opportunity to go for the stage win, and either Jason or I would be in the jersey.
We were able to stretch out the gap some on the final downhill and came in to the last kilometer still clear. I started the sprint at 200 meters on Lill’s wheel and came around him to keep Team Garmin-Chipotle’s winning streak alive! Jason and Peter finished in the small group just behind. With that Peter established a solid lead in the Best Young Rider competition and all three of us are in contention for GC.
Up today is a 60-minute flat criterium in Salt Lake City. It’ll certainly be a crowd pleaser, but a nervous and hard-fought 60 minutes for us. We’re looking forward Saturday’s queen stage with the mountain-top finish at Snowbird. We’re going for it!