Day 1 of the Chico Stage Race was a great first outing for the team. The race was dominated by a 7-man breakaway and ended with Justin Mauch on the podium (3rd place) with an ~40 second buffer on most of the GC contenders.
Beautiful clear skies greeted riders on an all new course at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA. Normally used as a race car track, the twisty course features perfect pavement and beautiful backdrops. The riders set off in the early afternoon for 90 minutes (~45 miles) of furious action on the course.
After small attacks gained little ground the first 40 minutes, the action started to heat up after a flurry of attacks caused a small split in the peloton. Sensing an opportunity, Justin Mauch launched out of that group to form a solid lead group of 7 that dominated the racing of the day.
Joining Justin in the breakaway were 3 riders from Elevate/KHS (including their GC hopeful Inno, Connor Brown, Alex Hoehn), a solo rider for Jelly Belly (Sean Bennett), a rider for Rally (Shane Kline), and a rider from Elbowz (Kevin Girkins). The riders worked well together, with the exception of Kline who sat on the back after deciding it was an unfavorable position for his team.
Back in the field, Cylance led the chase, then Mike’s Bikes took over, before finally being lined out by Rally in the closing 20 minutes after the breakaways lead stretched out over a minute. The break cooperated well and the chase made very little headway.
The riders hit the final straight together, and Justin sprinted to a solid 3rd place behind Elbowz (Girkins) and Rally (Kline). While 3rd is a very good result, even more significant is the ~40 second advantage Mauch now has in the general classification over most of his competition.
Coming into the race as the team leader, this race worked out perfectly for us and was a great first day out! Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days.