The BISSELL Team started the Amgen Tour of California just as they planned
and raced a monumentally aggressive day.
In the opening miles of the 115 miles day, eight riders escaped off the front
and included two BISSELL riders, Ben Jacques-Maynes and Andrew Dahlheim.
Within the first twenty miles, the gap had already gained six minutes over the peloton.
The break was a good mix of teams, but BISSELL was the only team
that had multiple riders. “It was pretty quick and easy how the break formed,”
said BJM. “It was a manageable group. We were given the leash
and we had good cooperation. I think everyone was pacing themselves quite well.
We kept up a decent and steady pace for a couple hours, which was quite good.”
The front group contested two intermediate sprints, four categorized climbs,
and established a maximum lead of eleven minutes over the peloton.
On the second KOM, a couple of riders including BISSELL sprinter Dahlheim
lost contact with the break, but Dahlheim continuously tried to chase back
and refused to give up. It was the final climb and the toughest
of the day up Coleman Grade which really separated the front group.
After the last KOM was reached, the pace from the break began to fall off
and eventually there were only three leaders: Ben Jacques-Maynes,
Jeff Louder (United Healthcare), and Maxime Bouet (AG2R).
With 10 miles to go, Rabobank and Garmin came to the front to close the gap.
The threesome forged on but the gap was shrinking. With 4.6 miles to the finish,
the three leaders shook hands and knew their time on the front was expiring,
and it was gruppo compacto as they entered Santa Rosa city limits.
The BISSELL sprinters got into position; however, in the closing miles
a crash in the field stopped BISSELL’s assault to the finish.
The BISSELL riders made it to the line unscathed with the same finishing time
but were quite disappointed that they wouldn’t be contesting the Santa Rosa finish.
At the line, the Santa Rosa crowd applauded Ben Jacques-Maynes
as he was definitely the most aggressive rider of the day!
At the jersey presentation Ben said, “We want to be the most aggressive team
n the race. It’s exactly what we were hoping for.”