PARK CITY, Utah - Braving changing road conditions and dodging obstacles during the eighth annual Tour of the Battenkill pro cycling race yesterday, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team’s captain Francisco “Paco” Mancebo (ESP) bested the elite competition to win the 124-mile event. Touted as “America’s toughest 1-day race,” the demanding course chews riders up and spits them out. Of the 161 cyclists that started, only 59 finished.
“Epic is a word often used in describing a particularly tough and memorable race,” said directeur sportif Gord Fraser. “I’ve seen many races that could be described this way, but after what I witnessed from the comfort of our Lexus of South Atlanta CT 200H team car yesterday, I will need to redefine the word.”
Tackling two 62-mile laps through the streets of Cambridge, Salem, and Greenwich, N.Y., the Team’s plan was to ride aggressively not to miss an early break. The first major show stopper of the race came at the 41-mile mark, as the course turned to dirt. The section proved disastrous as dozens of riders flatted. The peloton exploded, creating a lead pack of 30 riders, with another 20 eventually clawing their way back to the front. Of note, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team was the only team without a single flat, a fact the Team chalks up to its Vittoria Corsa Evo CG Pave tires.
“The terrain was deceivingly hard and the dirt sections were chaotic,” said Fraser. “Some moments the dust was so thick it was impossible to see what was in front of you.”
A dangerous group of 10 riders made a break at 69 miles. Knowing that the race winner would likely come form this breakaway group, Chad Beyer (USA) and Mancebo made their moves to stay in front. Beyer and Qiebecor/Garneau rider Bruno Langlois pushed themselves moments later to form a two-man lead group.
At the 108-mile mark, Beyer dropped off the lead leaving Mancebo solo to battle his way to the finish. Thwarting numerous attacks from strong contendors, Mancebo persevered through the final dirt section with nine miles left and pumped his way through the final street section to take the title and top of the podium with a time of 4 hours, 55 minutes, 54 seconds.
Mancebo’s first win of the 2012 racing season catapulted him to first place in the men’s individual National Racing Calendar (NRC) standings with 226 points – nine in front of Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b GearGrider’s Phillip Gaimon. The Competitive Cyclist Racing Team sits in fourth place overall in the NRC.
“Battenkill was indeed epic and we will never miss another edition – I can promise that,” said Fraser.
A few states south in Charlotte, N.C., Team riders Ian Burnett (USA), Phil Grenfell (AUS), Tommy Nankervis (AUS), Thomas Rabou (NDL), Taylor Shelden (USA), and David Williams (USA) raced in the 134-rider Charlotte Criterium. Nankervis led the squad, finishing in 8th place overall.
Up next for the Competitive Cyclist Racing Team are the Sunny King Criterium and Joe Martin Stage Race.
For more about the Team, please check: http://proteam.competitivecyclist.com/