The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling team lined up at the Tour de Murrieta in Southern California for 3 days of racing. Cory Lockwood, Brian McCulloch, Innokenty Zavyalov, Alfredo Rodriguez and Cory Williams raced the event. The team was joined by David Santos for the final stage on Sunday. Cory Lockwood finished 2nd overall in the omnium event and he recounted the stages for us here:
The 2017 Tour de Murrieta consists of 3 stages. Racers contend a 4 mile uphill time trial that is partially paved and partially dirt, a 75 minute L-shaped criterium, and a 3.5 mile circuit race with a somewhat technical finish. Tour de Murrieta stage race is a non-traditional stage race, scored by points instead of time gap, which makes the strategy for winning overalls completely different than usual with each position in each stage awarding a certain amount of points.
The opening stage went well for our team. I finished in 1st place with teammate Innokenty Zavyalov in 2nd place, just 2 seconds behind me. I was excited to win my first time trial of the 2017 season after finishing 4th at Valley of The Sun and 2nd at Chico.
On Saturday, we came into the Grand Prix defending the leader’s jersey. Our objective was to follow attacks, not instigate them; and with Cylance and SoCal Cycling having full squads, there were plenty of riders to animate the race. Eric Marcotte of Cylance made several moves up the road, but with myself and four Elevate-KHS teammates, we were able to counter and bring him back every time. From the get go, the race seemed destined to stay together, and with twenty minutes to go, the scene got really intense as Cylance started leading out the field. The five of us sat on the back of their train and defended our positions viciously until Cory Williams was able to win the bunch sprint. After the conclusion of the criterium we were shuffled down two positions in the overall for the leader’s jersey.
Sunday’s stage three Circuit Race located in the foothills of Murrieta. It traversed fairly beaten up pavement and a few quick turns leading to the finish. Like the day before, the race was very aggressive. There were quite a few smaller attacks that went up the road that were caught earlier on in the race, and since we didn’t have a full team racing that weekend, we didn’t have enough men to instigate anything.
Like the criterium, we had to follow every move and race for the stage win while trying to be opportunistic for the general classification jersey. We knew Cylance wanted a victory on the stage and they were going to play one of two cards. Either they would get Eric Marcotte up the road or they would try to win the bunch sprint. Our plan was to get in any attack Cylance sent up the road with a combination of a higher ranked rider like myself or Inno, and a sprinter to win the stage. Though there were quite a few small attacks that rolled up the road at the beginning, nothing stuck until the first major break of the day was established with Brian McCulloch and Inno with a handful of others that stayed away for a good 30-45 minutes. We prepared for a counter attack with David Santos, Cory Williams, Alfredo, and myself. Once the break was finally brought back, the counter attack went with David and I as well as three Cylance riders and a SoCal Cycling racer. Later on, Brian McCulloch and Callen Gordon bridged up to us along with a few others to form a solid ten man break that quickly rolled up the road.
Shortly after, attacks began and Eric Marcotte took advantage of the disorganization and managed to successfully get up the road in a solo break to take the stage win. Our finishes placed us in second for the individual general classification and first in the Jorge Alvarado Memorial Team Competition. All in all, it was a successful weekend of racing for the Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team.
The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team 2017 Partners:
Follow Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling On Our Social Media!