Champion Systems/Stan’s No Tubes Pro Cycling Team: News from Inside the Race
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A few of the guys on the team got in some early season action down at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona. Being a team with a strong criterium background, they started the race focused on the final stage: the Jorden Bischoff & Hiser Criterium. The final stage was 70 minutes long and featured a 7 corner course around the Arizona State Capitol. Drew Christopher and Kevin and Conor Mullervy were kind enough to share their first person accounts of the race.
Kudos to the team for the strong stage 3 finish…read below:
- Hometown: Centennial, CO
- Years as a Pro: 4
- Specialty: Crit racing/all-around
- Highlight Finish as a Pro: Athens Twilight 2013
Today was the TT at Valley of the Sun Stage Race. I think this was the first stage race for all of us in over a year let alone a TT. The only races we did last year were criteriums with a few road races thrown in. Going into today we knew we had no chance winning the race or even getting a top 10 with absolutely no aero gear. I don’t even know the last time I rode a TT bike. So our goal of the day was to get a good opener for the weekend and not blow it all in a race we knew we couldn’t win. We know not doing well in the TT we would have no chance in the overall GC but that was not our goal beforehand. Our focus is tomorrow’s RR and Sunday’s crit. So during today’s TT, I started pretty easy for the first 10 min to get warmed up, then the rest of the race I broke it up with 4 minutes hard and 2 minutes easy. It actually made the race to by fast and make it feel just like another training day with intervals.
We are happy to report we didn’t get DFL. Now it’s time to rest up for tomorrow’s hot road race.
- Hometown: Littleton, CO
- Years as a Pro: 5
- Specialty: All-around
- Highlight Finish as a Pro: 4th US PRO Nationals Crit-2014; 5th Overall Poyang Lake Stage Race
Stage 2 was 96 miles in the hot hot desert of AZ. We had 6 laps on a course with a decent rolling climb each lap, the climb wasn’t the hard part it was all the wind
The first lap was covered with attacks and counter attacks but nothing was staying away. The second time over the climb Kevin made it into a group that got some distance over the top. It shortly got brought back before some more counter attacks started flying. I was rolling up to Drew to let him know that I wasn’t feeling good though before I got next to him a move went right in front of me and I just followed wheels up to the main break.
The break of about 12 of us staring working well together and got a good gap quickly. This would be the winning break of the day. The group worked well together until a lap and a half to go when the group started attacking each other.
Three guys were able to get away with one lap to go. The remainder of us tried to bring them back but most guys had one guy represented out of the three up the road and had no reason to work. With a half a lap to go, five more guys bridged up to us. On the cross wind section they got to the front and guttered the group. I started cramping super super bad and was unable to hold on. I dropped off and rolled into the finish about 5k out and was able to stay ahead of the field.
Not exactly what we were looking for today though we all learned a lot. Tomorrow is the crit in downtown Phoenix and the three of us are looking forward to it.
- Hometown: Denver, Colorado
- Years as a Pro: 1
- Specialty: Criteriums, Breakaways, Leadouts, One-Day Road Races
- Highlight Finish as a Pro: 6th place at 2014 Professional Criterium National Championships
Today was the 3rd and final stage of the 2015 Valley of the Sun stage race. It was the criterium stage and the one Kevin, Conor, and myself were most looking forward to. It was still a full field of about 70 guys; including several teams with 6, 8, and even 9 guys.
The race started fast and aggressive on the flat 7 turn, figure 8 course. Quickly, the team of the overall leader established control at the front of the race. Conor took an early flyer and was able to get into a small breakaway group but it was neutralized in a few laps. I followed a wheel into the second breakaway attempt of the day and helped drive the pace until that group was also caught. The next breakaway went away hard and fast, establishing the most significant gap thus far and it included Kevin. Kevin’s move worked well together and looked very threatening. However, with 4 laps left in the race their group was neutralized as the peloton surged toward the finish.
The finish was now sure to come down to a field sprint. I used my last bit of effort to help Conor move into the top 10 with a couple laps to go and he did very well to hold position coming into the sprint. The sprint came down to a long drag race led by the large teams in the race. Conor had did a great job to freelance his way into those leadouts and managed a strong 4th place at the finish.
The weekend had it’s ups and downs for all the of us. Fortunately we are all headed into some nice rest now as we continue to prepare for the high priority races in March and April. Back to Tucson now for the sun drenched, salt stained, training miles.