Riders looked to make up for lost time at the Valley of the Sun Road Race Saturday and gain on the general classification.
With windy stretches of road near Sacaton, Ariz., and a long drag of a climb, it wasn’t an easy day in the saddle.
Tyler Stites (Aevolo Cycling) surged toward the line among a 15-man break to take the win in the Pro Men’s field. The field was broken into two large groups after the first lap.
“It was an interesting race with a big split right at the start,” Stites said. “Our team rode great and had two guys in that split. It came back together towards the end though, and it’s great to get a early season win. I am excited for a fast crit tomorrow.”
Stites sits in ninth place in GC, more than a minute behind. Cory Lockwood (Semper Porro) kept his overall lead with a gap of 37 seconds ahead of Stephen Vogel (Team Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator).
Megan Jastrab (Rally UHC Cycling) took on 50 riders from the Pro Women’s field in a bunch sprint to the finish and posted up for victory. As the only representative from her team, she managed to outgun the fully loaded Sho-Air TWENTY20 and Hagens Berman | Supermint squads.
“It feels great to take the win and open the season, and my first race wearing Rally UHC Cycling, with a win,” Jastrab said. “I realized the race was going to finish in field sprint after a lap or two. It was a headwind sprint, so I was patient and tried to stay out of trouble going into the final 500m by sitting around fifth wheel. With around 150m to go, I started my sprint and committed.”
Jastrab said she’s looking forward to the crit and said she likes the course. In 2017, she crossed the line second to Kendall Ryan, a former national crit champion. Last year, she left with a concussion.
“I am going to try my best tomorrow and have a good time racing,” Jastrab said.
There was no change to GC for the women, with Allie Dragoo (Sho-Air TWENTY20) in first place and her teammate, Jasmine Duehring 13 seconds back. Whitney Allison (Hagens Berman | Supermint) would have to make up 25 seconds to steal the jersey.
Lisa Powell (Action Rideshop) all but sealed up GC with a victory alongside her second-place competitor, Wendy Tew (Team Santini). She leads overall by more than two minutes.
Dan Thow (unattached) took the win for the Cat 5 Men’s field and got a time bonus, closing the gap by 20 seconds to Ian Mulligan (Carlos O’Brien’s Racing) and putting Thow in second for GC, 28 seconds back.
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