June 21, 2013
While most of the Astellas Oncology Cycling Team was in Canada for the Tour de Beauce, Brandon Feehery, Andy Buntz and Zach Bergh were traveling the southern states for the first portion of a month-long road trip. The guys started their journey in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
A 60 minute twilight criterium in Tulsa’s Blue Dome District would kick off the 3 day criterium omnium. All three Astellas riders were sitting comfortably in the front of the field until the first crash of the night along the start-finish took out all the Astellas boys. Luckily everyone walked away untouched. After some adjustments in neutral support and a free lap, all three worked together to get back up to the front. Shortly after Brandon gave it a go off the front for a lap while Andy and Zach attempted to block. Unfortunately no other riders joined Brandon and he was brought back in. Throughout the remainder or the race there were many crashes as the course was tight and the racing competitive. As the laps dwindled, all Astellas riders were in line to launch Brandon but a crash with 3 to go split them up and took Andy out of the race completely. Brandon and Zach were able to get back atop the pedals and finish 18th and 21st respectively.
The warehouse district was the host of Saturday night’s race. Another tight, 6 corner course with 1 legitimate climb. The boys were very active throughout the race, hopping in moves and staying towards the front. Unfortunately no Astellas riders made it into the small break that ended up staying away for almost half the race. As laps dwindled, the break was reeled in and the United Healthcare “blue train” started to put the hurt into the field. Driving the pace from 12 laps to go, our guys were caught off guard as the field lined out. Brandon was the top finisher at 24th place with Zach and Andy not far behind.
Tulsa Tough ended with the hardest course of the weekend, Crybaby Hill, a four corner criterium with a tough climb. Thousands of spectators lined the street along Riverside Drive to cheer on the riders during hardest part of the race. The race started fast and the guys worked hard to get to the front. Brandon was very aggressive trying to get into the early move. A few riders got away but slowly were brought back once again by the United Healthcare “blue train”. At that point, Brandon knew he had to get to the front of the race if he had any hope of a good finish. With 10 laps to go Brandon got to the front and fought to maintain his position and was his hard work was rewarded with an impressive 10th place finish.
After Tulsa the guys traveled to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The first race was on Saturday with another twilight criterium, a very technical 6 corner course in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem. The Astellas boys worked hard to stay toward the front and go with any promising looking moves. However, the race was just too fast for a break to stay away. Just like the previous weekend, Brandon worked hard to stay in the front and scored another top ten finish, placing 8th and also picking up a prime during the race.
Sunday was a 86.4 mile road race consisting of an 8 mile circuit with 1 major climb and several other steady climbs. The race started out very fast with a lot of attacks. A group of seven got away on the second lap. While Astellas missed the initial break, Brandon got into a chase group of five that caught the break on the third lap. Unfortunately, when the Brandon’s group caught the break everyone stopped working and it wasn’t long before the field was back together. The field didn’t stay together for long as a series of attacks saw 10 riders go up the road. With the hard course taking its toll, the field shattered and the 10 riders in the breakaway were the only ones to finish on the lead lap.
Next on the schedule for the Astellas team is the Tour Of America’s Dairyland in Wisconsin.
Pactimo is proud to be the Astellas Oncology Cycling Team custom cycling apparel partner.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .