After taking the win on Friday night and another podium on Saturday, Team Sixcycle-RK&O went into day three of the Gateway Cup with Roger Parmelee in the leaders jersey and the goal of scoring another result. In the end it may not have been the precise result the squad was looking for, but it was another great race for the team. Check out Roger Parmelee's race report as well as pictures and video below. And stay tuned for our race report on the final day at the Gateway Cup: the Benton Park Classic.
Giro Della Montagna Race Report from Team Sixcycle-RK&O's Roger Parmelee
Day 3 of the Gateway Cup - the Giro Della Montagna - started in the best way possible - with an epic parking spot. Fully in the shade (temperatures were still in the high 90's), one block from the race, close to the port-a-poties and even a big bench to relax on. Parking spot located, we busted out our gear from our two vans (including three coolers and forty pounds of ice), and started the pre-race tailgate session.
The Giro Della Montagna took place in an a historic Italian neighborhood - with vendors cooking sausage and peppers and a festive atmosphere throughout. With the first two days of Gateway Cup complete I had scored a win under the lights on Friday night and 3rd Saturday afternoon, putting me in the leaders jersey, but only by a single point. I knew I could defend the jersey, but it wasn't going to be easy.
Prior to our race Matt and I got on our Litespeed bikes to take a look at the course - it was a tight four corner circuit with a long, slight uphill on the back stretch mirrored with a downhill finish on the opposite side. Following two races with wide open corners, Matt and I like our chances on a more technical - and hopefully more challenging - crit course.
Since I was in the lead on the GC I got a call up to start the race, though Matt was stuck fighting for starting position as he had been working for me the last two days - insuring a tough few laps as he fought to move up at the same time that the field was going full gas since Trey Hogan (Dogfish Racing and 2nd on the GC) and I set a hard pace from the start to string things out.
A few laps in things started to slow down and I see Matt who had been fighting to move up through the field. No sooner did he hit the front than he immediately attacks - achieving a small gap, but no more, as the field is quickly strung out and chasing. For most of the race this would be the formula - attack and chase, before slowing ahead of the next attack.
With about five laps to go I find Matt and stay locked on his wheel. After our early success, however, we're well marked as some of the fastest guys in the field, leading to some battles to stay on Matt's wheel.
With one lap to go Matt and I are a two or three wheels back in the middle of the road when the front of the field stalls out - before we can find open space to maneuver the pack swarms up both our left and right sides and we're suddenly 30 wheels back with just four corners left - horrible position.
Into corner one we are still swarmed and can't move up - and even worse I get squeezed off Matt's wheel. Corner two is more of the same, though I am able to find my way back onto Matt's wheel.
We hit the long straight between corners two and three and I'm locked on Matt's wheel as he just guns it - sending us ripping up the left side of the peloton. We are going so fast up the uphill into corner three that it was hard to even stay on his wheel as we keep moving up the field.
Taking corner three to the inside we had moved all the way up to about 10th wheel. Coming out the corner we accelerate full gas, fighting to gain more wheels as we keep running out of road. Unfortunately I get pinched going into corner four, loosing Matt's wheel as he is still flying past other riders going into the downhill sprint.
Out of road, I launch my sprint from about 10 wheels back - hitting a top speed of 38 mph as I'm ticking my way through traffic left and right, eventually making the lunge for the line. At this point, in the mayhem of that final lap, I have no idea what place I got - somewhere in the top 5 or 6 is all I know - though I knew I lost the GC lead as Trey Hogan took the win, putting him in the leader's jersey.
Despite losing the jersey what was most amazing was that the team was still on the podium as Matt was able to take an unbelievable third place - he basically pulled the whole lap and then sprinted and was still able to get third.
Another podium for Team Sixcycle-RK&O - making three podiums in three races - and another great day of racing as I ended up in 5th. I may have lost the lead on GC but I already exceeded my expectations for the weekend of racing. And without the jersey going into day four of the Gateway Cup I had nothing to loose so Matt and I were already planning on rolling the dice and racing aggressively on the final day of the Gateway Cup.