June 5, 2013
The Philly Cycling Classic was the team’s second UCI race of the year and their first ever one day classic.
The Philly Cycling Classic is old enough that everyone in Manayunk is aware of it and has numerous stories to share and these interactions with locals only motivated the team further on the eve of the biggest race of their careers.
From the outset, the team’s prime directive for the race was to make as much noise as possible, to animate the race, to repay the promoter’s faith in the young team, and to have fun.
Team Director, Michael Roecklein said, “I can’t think of any other race this season where everyone absolutely did their job without mistake and I can’t be more proud of my team for how they responded to the challenge we presented them with.”
Without a neutral start, and with it being downhill, the team figured it would be an interesting jump off. Ben Bertiger was even given carte blanche to attack from the gun if he could make his way to the front because of how technical the start to the race was, however it would be Daniel Katz who would end up making the first attack.
“My job was to get in the early move and I intended to wait a little bit to see how the field was reacting to attacks,” said Katz. “After the start on Manayunk I assumed that the roads would be relatively empty but as we swept through the crowd lined city streets, it was clear I was wrong, and I got a little too motivated. At the bottom of the descent I found my way towards the front rolling faster than everybody and just kind of kept going. My legs weren’t really ready for the effort but a Novo Nordisk rider joined me. It had little influence on the race outcome besides sapping my legs and getting my picture up on a few sites, but those few minutes off the front were surreal.”
With eight riders in the field, and a rider like Flavio de Luna to save for the finish, they knew they could work for breaks all race long while still saving an effort for the end from Flavio and Gera Medina. Throughout the 10-lap, 120-mile race, Flavio and Gera were protected by Daniel Harm and Ian Moore while Tosh Clements, Daniel Katz, Rene Corella and Ben all looked for breaks to join. The boys were very active on the front, but it wasn’t until later in the race that we would make a break that would stick.
Flavio was asked to shepherd the younger Gera around to help him get to the finish and conserve energy; Flavio has been in UCI races before and his experience paid dividends when he saw an opportunity for Gera late in the race. “I was very happy to see the race go according to plan with Gera sticking close to me. When he had to go he was ready to go on the break.” Flavio saw an opportunity for Gera to go and told him to make a move, Gera did the rest by joining a late break that looked like it may have legs for the finish.
Gera spent a few laps in a break of about 20 that eventually attacked itself into a group of seven chased by a group of 11. Gera waited for a few minutes in the chase group to see how everyone would react until he jumped with Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Clay Murfet (Smartstop p/b Mountain Khakis). The chase of three made it close to the leaders, however, behind them the rest of their break had been absorbed by an Optum and United Healthcare-led peloton looking to reset the race before the last lap. “I can say that being in the break of a race of this level is not as easy as it looks on TV,” said Gera. “Being the only amateur rider from the youngest team let me go happy and motivated for what comes.”
Gera’s effort took a lot out of his legs and he fell behind the peloton, however this move protected Flavio and allowed him to rest up for the finish.
Flavio came into the last time up the Manayunk wall with the leaders and was able to hold on for 25th place on the day, a huge result for a team trying to earn an invite a few months ago!
Flavio was quick to credit his team after finishing only 43 seconds behind the day’s winner, Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare), “Team work is always key to make good things happen and that’s something Stage 17 can do.”
The Philly Cycling Classic was also the team’s first race without an incident on the bike. Assitant Director and Head Mechanic, Ashley Knights Jr., made sure that each rider’s machine was ready for racing and the extra preparation paid off as Ashley got to be a spectator for four and a half hours in the team car. After the race Ashley told the boys, “I could never express how proud I am of this team,” a sentiment echoed by everyone involved in the management of Stage 17-Cylance.
“I normally go to races with two bottles on my bikes and come back with whatever two bottles were left on my bike, but this time my bottles as well as my teammates’ bottles were signed and given to kids clutching for them,” said Daniel.
Rene Corella left the race motivated for the future as he heads into the Mexican National Championships later this month with Flavio de Luna and Gera Medina. “The team did not have any tactical errors and there were no mechanical incidents,” said Rene. “Our leader was at the head of the race and came in with the leaders. This team only goes up! I have to thank my family for their support and of course to my technical directors Michael Roecklein and Ashley David Knights Jr. as well as my teammates. Now I hope to bring Stage 17-Cylance a National Championship!”
Pactimo is proud to be the custom cycling apparel partner for Stage 17-Cylance
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .