White Brothers Heat Up Arizona Again
Just a few weeks after competing in the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Phoenix, the White brothers, Greg and Russ, returned to the Grand Canyon State to contest the Tuscon Bicycle Classic Stage Race over the March 2-4 weekend.
The trio of races consisted of a short 3.2 mile time trial, an 80 mile road race and a final 45 mile circuit race.
Riding into a strong head wind, Greg and Russ finished 5th and 6th in the TT out the50 Category 2 racers and were down only 17 and 21 seconds, respectively. The following day, they competed in the 80 mile road race which featured nearly 4000 ft of climbing. Although the pace was hard, the peloton never really broke apart, largely due to a case of “crosswind dyslexia.”
There was an early break of 3 riders on the first two laps followed by a counter of 2. Despite the field failure to form an echelon and work cohesively, they managed to keep the 2-man break in check with no more than a 2 minute gap. Russ and Greg stayed safe near the front as the duo was caught 4 km from the finish setting up a bunch sprint. Greg managed a 6th place finish and Russ finished 17th with the same time. Going into the final race, Greg was 4th and Russ 5th in the general classification
In the circuit race with time bonuses available on the 3rd lap and in the finish, there were plenty of opportunities for shuffling of the GC standings. However, none of the contenders expended the energy to capture the time bonuses. The race leader attacked after the intermediate sprint and was joined by the 2nd place rider in GC. Russ bridged across to the little break but they were soon absorbed.
Two riders quickly countered gaining 1 minute with just over 10 miles to the finish. With the threat of losing their GC positions, Russ and Greg along with a few other teams went to the front to start bringing the break back. On the final lap a big acceleration on the climb closed the gap, but one of the two riders in the break managed to stay away and win by 3 seconds. The final sprint was a long and uphill drag and Greg and Russ felt the effects of their earlier effort finishing in the pack. Although they had the same time, the 6 second bonus for the field sprint winner placed him ahead of the White brothers.
In the final GC Greg finished 5th and Russ 7th, enough points for Greg to upgrade to Category 1 and moving Russ 9 points closer.