The Philadelphia cycling community welcomed back bike racing after it was in jeopardy of losing the premiere one-day event. The course which has hosted the landmark event in the city for the past 28 years has undergone some minor changes this year but still retains most of the trademark elements namely Lemon Hill and the Manayunk Wall. For the first time, this year’s 120-mile men’s race featured 10 laps on a 12 mile circuit and ended with a grueling finish atop the Manayunk Wall.
After an opening battle for sprint and KOM points, the threatening move of the day came late when five riders finally got away. BISSELL worked hard to close the gap, and the leaders were eventually brought back just as the race approached the town of Manayunk for the final time. Jeremy Vennell was BISSELL go-to guy but got caught behind a crash in the closing miles. He was able to chase back onto the lead group, but his legs were empty for the finish. With 300 meters to go, Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare) sprinted for the win.
BISSELL was glad to return to one of the toughest one-day races on US soil.
Chattanooga Tennessee was the scene for this year’s USA Cycling Professional Time Trial and Road National Championships. It also marks the first year that Volkswagen has been title sponsor of the events for both men and women professional cyclists.
Saturday’s time trial was held on 19 mile course adjacent to the Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant. The course featured two out-and-back runs on a 9.5 mile stretch that featured several turnarounds but was not an overly technical course. Five BISSELL riders including Phil Gaimon, Carter Jones, Jason McCartney, Mac Brennan, and Julian Kyer contested the championship. Jones, McCartney, and Kyer had times in the top twenty.
Monday’s road course totaled 101 miles and showcased downtown Chattanooga with several start and finish laps; however, the challenging feature of the race was the four climbs up Lookout Mountain. Several attempts were made to get away in the opening circuits but all were reabsorbed. Fourteen miles into the race, two riders got a slight advantage with another three chasers closing in. Eventually, the five riders joined forces and were gone for most of the day building up a maximum four minute advantage. BISSELL consistently controlled the front of the field and gradually increased the pace to reel in the leaders. With thirty miles remaining, the pace was aggressive and the main field had been reduced to thirty five riders. In the final twenty miles, the leaders were caught and a new lead group formed with nineteen riders including Phil Gaimon, Carter Jones, and Chris Baldwin for BISSELL. As the lead group passed through the start/finish on the first of three finishing laps in Chattanooga, Phil Gaimon attacked. He solidly built up a thirty second gap. Gaimon’s aggressive racing had BISSELL fans on the edge of their seats as it looked like he might hold it through the finish. Just before the race entered the final stretch, Gaimon was caught. Freddy Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) took the win among a lead group of seventeen.
Gaimon was awarded the Most Courageous Jersey for his bold racing. Chris Baldwin finished 10th and Carter Jones placed 13th.
The final 80.7 miles of the 2013 Amgen Tour of California was one of the most iconic stages in the history of the race with the crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge and finish in the cycling mecca of Santa Rosa.
After a spectacular crossing of the Golden Gate under perfect blue skies, the racing began. Within the first 4 miles, BISSELL’s Jason McCartney and two others launched a move. The threesome maintained their lead until just ten miles remaining when only McCartney and breakmate, Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager), were left. Jason forged ahead until the final finishing circuits in Santa Rosa, and the duo were finally reabsorbed into the peloton.
BISSELL capped off their best Amgen Tour of California taking two jerseys on the final day. Carter Jones was on the podium for all eight days winning all cumulative KOM victories. Jason McCartney was awarded the Most Courageous Jersey for his tireless work in the day’s breakaway. Jason is also the only rider out of the 127 riders that started the tour to finish all eight editions of the Amgen Tour of California.
Congratulations to the BISSELL riders and staff for their amazing success at this year’s tour, and thank you to all of the BISSELL sponsors who made it possible!
The summit finish on Mt Diablo for the penultimate stage of the Amgen Tour of California was a perfect summary of the race. The 91 miles was a battleground for attacks and breakaways.
With less than 10 miles into the stage, two riders broke away, and it wasn’t long before ten chasers latched on. The new group of twelve included BISSELL’s KOM leader, Carter Jones, who was focused on the two early categorized climbs of the day. As the group approached the first KOM, Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) attacked, but Jones would have none of that. Jones and six other riders absorbed Westra before the top, and Carter took full points. Following the first KOM, the lead group was reduced to seven and had a gap of 1:10. Over the next miles, they accumulated three more riders into their lead group, and the gap stretched to three minutes. The second KOM came with 36 miles remaining in the stage, and Carter again got maximum points which locked up his hold on the KOM jersey.
With twenty miles to go and under the pursuit of Team BMC , the gap began to quickly fall. As the lead group approached the HC at Mt. Diablo, a rider attacked out of the break. He wasn’t able to stay away, but this move set a destructive tone in the breakaway. The attacking and reshuffling of the lead group continued for the remainder of the stage. With 1k to go, Leopold Konig (NetApp) attacked and held on for the win. BISSELL’s Chris Baldwin came in for a very strong finish, and Carter Jones safely protected his KOM jersey.
The BISSELL boys will be happy to see the familiar Santa Rosa roads leading into the Tour’s finish. Jones has his KOM victory secure, and the team looks to shake things up in one of their hometowns.
A harsh wind added to the difficult elements in today’s 19.6 mile time trail course. The finishing profile with over 300m of climbing in the final 3k was grueling enough, but the 30 mile wind gusts created another factor. BISSELL’s climber, Carter Jones, had the 15th fastest time on the finishing climb and was only 35 seconds off of stage winner and GC leader, Tejay van Garderen’s time split. BISSELL’s Michael Torckler also tackled the finish having one of the fastest times up the final descent which had pitches that exceeded 15%.
Tomorrow, the BISSELL Team will take the offensive in protection of Carter Jones’ KOM jersey. The 91 mile stage has an HC finish on Mt. Diablo and includes one Cat. 2 climb and one Cat. three climb.
With the stage’s only KOM coming just 16 miles into the 115 mile day, BISSELL’s Carter Jones was ready for action. Within the opening five miles, a group of three including Jones had a time gap of 40 seconds. Runner-up in the mountain classification, Marsh Cooper (Optum) tried to chase the leaders but eventually surrendered. The group had built a gap of 7 minutes at one kilometer from the top of the KOM. In a great effort, Jones took maximum points on the climb. BISSELL’s Michael Torckler ate up the final point when the peloton came through, leaving Cooper with nothing to add to his total. BISSELL’s main objective was complete, but Jones still flew the BISSELL flag in the break for the next seventy five miles. Past the Guadalupe Sprint, harsh crosswinds caused a major shake up in the groups. A new lead group emerged which included both GC favorites and sprinters, and all riders shared the work load. Knowing that his chance of a win in a sprint finish against this group was not good, Jens Voigt (RadioShack) attacked with 3 miles to go. He went onto take the solo win in front of Tyler Farrar (Garmin) and Thor Hushovd (BMC) who got second and third, respectively. The BISSELL boys came safely home protecting their KOM leader, Carter Jones.
Tomorrow’s time trail will be one of the toughest that North America has ever featured. The 19.6 mile course starts with a climb just as the riders push off, and concludes with a one mile climb up Metcalf Road with severe pitches exceeding 10%.
At today’s stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California, the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team exemplified the teamwork and self sacrifice that goes into the sport of cycling.
It was a beautiful start in Santa Clarita where temperatures were finally at a tolerable degree. The reasonably short stage of 84 miles included two KOM’s which the BISSELL Team were focused on for Carter Jones. Right from the start, Frank Pipp and two other riders established a slight advantage. Quickly after, three more including Chris Baldwin bridged to them. Just twelve miles into the stage, the break was planted, but a concern for BISSELL in the break was the presence of James Stemper (5 Hour Energy) who was runner up to BISSELL’s Carter Jones in the KOM competition. With 60 miles to go, the gap was at four minutes. As the first KOM neared, Baldwin attacked taking full points, and Pipp came across for third leaving Stemper with only one point. The group took the technical descent down Dennison Grade, past Ojai, and toward the next KOM at Casitas Pass. Again, the BISSELL boys shut out Stemper with Baldwin taking three points and Pipp taking two. After their outstanding efforts, Baldwin and Pipp had assured their teammate Carter Jones would again don the KOM jersey.
The peloton closed in on the break just 12 miles from the finish. The group was altogether for another sprint finish in beautiful Santa Barbara. Tyler Farrar (Garmin) took the win, and BISSELL had an impressive finish from Jeremy Vennell for 9th. After his outstanding effort today, Baldwin still maintained his position in the general classification at 15th overall.
BISSELL’s focus today was to protect Jones’ KOM jersey, and the racing was aggressive from the start. BISSELL’s Carter Jones and Chris Baldwin joined an early break of twenty three riders in pursuit of the first climb of the day. The group was packed with World Tour riders such as Jens Voigt and Andy Schleck of Radio Shack, and Tejay van Garderen and Brent Bookwalter of BMC making BISSELL’s job even more difficult. With the support of Baldwin, Jones successfully took a maximum four points on the first KOM increasing his total to 25 points. Baldwin padded his margin further by taking the runner-up points, as well. The chasing peloton was not eager to let such a powerful group go, and they were reeled in right after the KOM.
Soon after, another group of four riders escaped off the front and stayed away for most of the day. The gap never got above 5 minutes with so many sprinters having their eye on the finish line. Just as predicted, the remnants of the break were caught in the final kilometers. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won the field sprint in front of excited crowds in Santa Clarita.
Jones safely holds the KOM jersey for another day. There are two climbs tomorrow, but the downhill and flat finish into Santa Barbara will favor the sprinters. BISSELL did have a casualty today as Phil Gaimon abandoned due to sickness, but the remaining seven BISSELL riders are ready!
On a hellish day where temperatures reached 111°, BISSELL again had a rider in the break exerting maximum effort in the severe elements. Just after the start in Murieta, BISSELL’s Pat McCarty, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis), and Scott Zwizanski (Optum) took off. They established a gap of twelve minutes, and Pat was the threat to the peloton as he was only twenty seconds down in GC. The four riders worked very well together, but as the group approached Palm Desert the peloton was in serious pursuit. BMC and Team Saxo traded off leading the chase, and with twenty miles to go the gap was down to 4:30. With 14 miles remaining, both Jacques-Maynes and Zwisanski threw out attacks which saw their lead plummet further. The four were caught just as the final 3.5 mile climb to the top began. The peloton was shattered immediately as the pitch increased, but Baldwin and Gaimon put forth massive efforts on the slopes that averaged 9% grade. Columbian climber Janier Acevedo (Jamis) took an exciting win over second place finisher Tejay van Garderen (BMC). BISSELL’s Phil Gaimon crossed for 15th and Chris Baldwin in 17th. Carter Jones also had another great stage to hold on to the KOM jersey. Gaimon and Baldwin are both in the top twenty GC.
Tomorrow’s stage from Palmdale to Santa Clarita is another long day at 110 miles with two intermediate sprints and four category 4 climbs.
BISSELL started the eight day Amgen Tour of California just how they had hoped with Carter Jones in the day’s break. In an excruciatingly hot day, and early break of three riders formed. The three riders from NetApp, 5 Hour Energy, and Optum originally had a difficult time establishing themselves; however, Carter Jones quickly saw the opportunity and joined them.
When the four men consolidated efforts, the break was gone for the day, and the gap quickly grew to twelve minutes. Jones won the day’s intermediate sprint at 19 miles into the stage, and then the climbing began. Break mate Zak Dempster (NetApp) won the first KOM at Mesa Grade with Jones taking second. It was all Jones from there as Dempster was dropped from the group, and Jones took maximum points on Mt. Palomar. Carter also won the third and final KOM of the day on Cole Grade to lock up the KOM jersey.
The gap hovered around seven minutes for most of the stage with the riders working well together. The chasing peloton had difficulty over the climbs which saw top GC contenders fall off. Eventually, the peloton mounted a productive chase and the gap began to come down. With twenty two miles left of racing, the Optum rider was dropped from the break, and Jones and Stemper were left to fight the battle. The duo undoubtedly suffered in the heat before being caught just three miles from the line.
In a very exciting two man sprint, Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) took the win. The main group finished right on their heels just six seconds back. BISSELL’s Jeremy Vennell finished 9th, and Carter also finished in this group. With the 3 second time bonus for his intermediate sprint win, he sits 4th on GC. Chris Baldwin finished eighteenth to make BISSELL the only team with three riders in the top twenty general classification.
The BISSELL Pro Cycling Team will be coming to this year’s Amgen Tour of California with its deepest roster full of experience and power. The BISSELL eight man team includes two previous ATOC KOM winners, Jason McCartney and Pat McCarty. In addition, BISSELL brings riders with great early season results including Phil Gaimon, Carter Jones and Julian Kyer. The impressive roster is capped off with the experience and talent of Chris Baldwin, Frank Pipp, and 2012 most aggressive rider Jeremy Vennell. The team will again aim to animate the race with guys striving to make the moves and potentially take stage wins.
The team comes to this top US race with the outstanding support of its sponsors. Title sponsor, BISSELL, values bringing the race experience to the fans, and is again proud to be a part of the play-by-play commentary on the Tour Tracker. Vredestein will be also supporting the team in their Vredestein RV which will deliver the comforts of home to the riders course-side.
Please follow the race daily on NBC Sports with live broadcasts weekdays at 5pm EDT, and extended coverage on the final weekend. This year’s course will yield more tough climbing from the opening day’s climb up Mt. Palomar to the individual time trail up Metcalf Road.
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