The Second stage of Killington was in complete contrast to the first, instead of ripping it at 80kph down a hill to the finish the course finished on up a climb at the ski resort. Before hitting the final climb there where a few other KOMs en route.
Like the first stage we all had our morning cup of Jet Fuel Coffee and road from the mountain top condo down to the start. The stage started with a small climb then sloped down for about 30km, then we hit a 7km climb, that we would repeat, followed by a 40km ride to the base of the final climb. The teams plan was to have Robbie and I resting in until we hit the final climb.
The race started with a break of 8 going up the road a couple kms in. From there it became relatively boring for the next 80km. Braydon cecum to his injuries from the crash on the first stage around half way through but got the feedzone to help Bryan feed us, which helped a lot because we only got 1 feed in the stage. Going up the two KOM’s we stayed well positioned but nothing significant happened. The race really started up with 10km to go to the start of the KOM. It seemed like everyone in the peloton thought they had a chance of lighting up the final climb. Luckily for Rob and I we had Kevin protecting us and enforcing our position near the front. Eventually we hit the hard left to the bottom of the climb and the race really started. With the break being brought back a few hundred meters into the climb we were racing for the win.
Climb to the finish started with around 8km to go. It went up around 10% but not steady at all for 3.5km to a KOM, then rolling for around 3km before going to the base of the ski hill with a solid ramp for the last 1.5kms. After climbing for a couple hundred meters it became pretty clear that 90% of the peloton would not be lighting it up and pretty soon it was down to eight guys with Rob and I still in the mix. With 2km still to go on till the KOM an H&R rider turned the pace up a couple notches and our group fractured and whittled down to four guys with Rob just behind. Then with a kilometer till we hit the KOM a CCB rider picked the pace up more then we could handle and road away. When the surge went I was dropped from the front group of four but eventually managed to claw my way back up to the H&R and Cal Giant riders before going over the KOM. During the rolling part Rob and two other guys caught the group of three I was in to make the situation one CCB up the road and then the group of six with Rob and I. The group wasn’t really working together so with around 1km left to the base of the final ramp an Airgas rider attacked and I heard Rob telling at me to follow, even though I was pretty toast I managed to get up to him and we worked together going into the final climb. He started slowing down once we hit the final ramp with 1.5km to go so I hit it. With 1km to go the Cal Giant guy went around me but I had been red-lined for the last minute and there wasn’t anyway I could follow. The last km dragged still red-lined the entire way but eventually I hit the line finishing 3rd on the stage and Rob came in a few seconds later in 5th
The stage ended up being a great one for the team with Rob and I in a strong position going into the final TT. Performance of the day for sure went to Bryan Bowers our team manager who is spending three weeks right now driving us around the states, and being a super soigne so we can ride our bikes in big races!