Ever since the National Championship in June, the guys have really gotten their team work dialed-in. Ty's Championship win showed the team that when they all work together, they can be a dominating force in a race and use Ty Magner to seal the deal at the end. And that's just what the team did these past two weekends.
Weekend One: Atlanta
The guys headed down to Atlanta for a pair of criteriums. The Saturday night Litespeed-BMW Twilight Criterium was a classic criterium. With five corners and a straight shots between them, it made for fast racing. A break of six including Ty Magner, Oscar Clark, Emil Abraham and Thomas Brown got away and eventually lapped the field. Alder helped Ty maneuver his way up to the front where Ty was able to win the field sprint for the victory.
The second night in Atlanta was the Grant Park Criterium. This is a race Ty has won for the past two years. With his prior history and his win the night before, Ty was a marked man. After several unsuccessful breakaways, Oscar Clark eventually launched a strong solo move. Seeing the danger, Ty hit the gas hard and bridged up to Oscar without taking any opponents with him. The duo eventually built up a 50 second gap. Coming into the finish, the energy from the hometown crowds powered local rider Oscar Clark to victory with Ty finishing in 2nd place.
Weekend Two: Chattanooga
The following weekend the team headed up to Chattanooga for the Village Volkswagen River Gorge Omnium. The Omnium started off with a short morning time trial. The guys didn't eat their Wheaties that morning and only Ty managed to break the top ten.
Anxious to make-up for the disappointing morning performance, the guys rallied for the afternoon crit. With a huge prize list, top southeast riders from all the big teams were drawn to the race. The team did their job well, working together to cover all the moves on the technical six corner course. Halfway through the race, Oscar Clark put in a dangerous move. Like the weekend before, Ty hit the afterburners and bridged up to Oscar. The two worked well together and built up a big advantage over the field. However, unlike the previous weekend, Ty came across the line first, handily beating Oscar.
Starting Sunday's hilly road race, Ty lead the omnium by 2 points. Although climbing isn't Ty's specialty, the team knew that if they worked together, they could get Ty to the last climb with the leaders where he might have a chance to hang on to the lead. Early in the race a move went up the road. Mike Stone jumped in the move, while the rest of the team went to the front of the field to keep the break at a close distance. Right before the first climb the break was pulled back. That's when Alder and Blair set a blistering tempo on the lower slopes of the climb. Then it was Tanner Putt's turn. Tanner cranked up the pace even higher and destroyed the field, whittling it down to only 15 guys at the top of the climb. On the following one mile climb, Oscar once again attacked. This narrowed the leading group to only five riders, including Ty, Bobby Sweeting and John Murphy of Kenda. The small group shared the work well up to Raccoon Mountain, the final climb of the day. The riders one by one lost contact with the group. With one kilometer to go, the familiar pair of Oscar and Ty were left. Ty dug deep to stay on Oscar's wheel in those last thousand meters, but just couldn't hang-on up the steep slope. Ty managed his losses at the end and was only caught by Bobby, leaving Ty with the 3rd podium spot.
This coming week, the team will be travelling to China for a pair of one week stage races. It will be a great test of their development at pro cyclists. They will be in a foreign country where few speak English and also racing more consecutive days than they ever have before. We think they are ready for the challenge.