UnitedHealthcare's Sutherland takes a win in San Dimas
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

UnitedHealthcare's Sutherland takes a win in San Dimas

by VeloNation Press at 10:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Australian Rory Sutherland took care of business for his UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis team in stage two of the San Dimas stage race yesterday, by out sprinting his four breakaway companions. Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation) and Luis Amaran (Jamis/Sutter Home) came in second and third respectively. Sutherland's teammate Chris Baldwin was in the lead at the start of the day, however a crash on the second to last lap forced the team to switch tactics.

“We were able to have a quick chat going into the last lap,” Sutherland said. “I’d been feeling good all day, so we decided to have the guys lead me out at the base of the final climb to see if they could spring me off the front.

“I went hard, but not too hard because there’s over 2 km from the top of the last climb to the finish,” he continued. “It’s not the type of finish that you want to try to go solo to the line. I was lucky to get a good mix of guys with me over the top.”

The winning break included Grajales, Amaran, Neil Shirley (Kelly Benefits) and Davide Frattini (Team Type 1). The quintet worked well together and came into the finishing straight with their tenuous gap over the motivated field intact.

“I started my sprint from the back and jumped across a couple small gaps,” Sutherland said. “I passed the last guy with 50 meters to go.”

Suntherland's success comes on the heels of a successful Tour de Murrieta last weekend where Karl Menzies picked up the overall title.

“The last two weekends of racing have been leading up to this,” said Team director Mike Tamayo. “They’ve given the guys a chance to race together and work together and it’s paying off. Everyone contributed today. And if Rory’s move got brought back, the sprinters were there for the finish.”

Yesterday's winner agreed with that assessment. “We’ve been working together and learning how each of us races,” he said. “With no race radios this year, we have to be very attentive, know our roles and keep an eye up the road.”

For his effort today, Sutherland's 20 second time bonus on the finish line combined with the 4 second gap he had on the field move him up to 5th overall, 19 seconds behind race leader Ben Day.

UnitedHeathCare teammate Brad White was able to cover one of the main breaks today to snatch up valuable bonus seconds, which earned him the Sprint Competition leader’s jersey in the process.

“It’s always good to bring something home after an effort like that,” White said.

White followed an attack by Adam Switters (Yahoo!) and was joined by Lucas Euser (Spidertech). Nathan O’Neil (Bahati Foundation) bridged to the move and the four riders were able to establish a gap over the field.  The group stayed away for three of the twelve laps in the middle of the race, but couldn't get more than a minute on the hilly seven-mile circuit.

“I knew I needed to take the two time bonuses to keep Nathan from getting them because he was pretty high up on GC,” White said. “It was nice to get the jersey in the process. The legs felt good today, this being my first race of the season. I had a little bit of cramping because coming from Colorado, I’m not used to the heat just yet. But it was good being up there and knowing our guys behind in the bunch are ready. I don’t have to kill myself in the break.

“The guys did a great job today,” he continued. “Everyone executed well, and Pinner (Andrew Pinfold) and Karl were ready if Rory got caught.”

Shortly after finishing the stage, Baldwin was taken to the hospital by team directeur sportif Gord Fraser to have the damage assessed. Fraser reported that x-rays of Baldwin’s elbow were negative and he ended up with eight stitches in his leg.

The decision on whether he starts the final stage Sunday, a 90-minute criterium on a 1.2-mile course in San Dimas, will be made this morning.


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