Photos: Mitch Clinton
The men faced a short but demanding 76-miles of climbing and descents today of The Inner Loop during Stage 2 before finishing in a field sprint. Nicolai Brochnar of Bissell Development Team took the win ahead of Eric Young of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. Team SmartStop Travis McCabe rounded out the podium in third. "I thought that UHC was going to do a long lead out, but I saw that Optum was really strong with 2k to go. I just got on their wheel, my teammates put me in perfect position right behind that." Brochnar stated at the finish. After his win today, Brochnar (BDT) now holds the lead for the PNM Sprint Jersey with 15 points with Steve Fischer (JBC) not far behind with 13.
Though it took some time, a three-man break was established shortly before the descent down from Pinos Altos, including Luis Davila (Jelly Belly), Danny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), and Taylor Sheldon (5 Hour Energy). The three didn't stop and drove hard into the short technical descent to establish up to a 4:40 minute gap once into the Mimbres Valley.The valley favors a break but their gap never grew more than this, Tyler Wren (JSH) explained after the stage, "We knew Summerhill (UHC) was the danger man in the break but our goal was to control the gap and keep our leaders safe and give them as easy of a ride as we could give them today.
Top 3 on Stage 2
Nicolai Brochner (BDT)Eric Young (OPM)Travis McCabe (TSS)Town of Silver City Leader's Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)
The riders faced a battling head wind through the valley, as Optum drove the pace in the field to bring back the break. Once they made the turn back to NM highway 152, the winds changed to a tailwind inevitably catching the trio just before Davila attacked one last time to hold on to take the final KOM points of the day. "It was a hard day and windy. It's not that long so it's normally pretty fast," Davila added, "I wasn't sure how I was feeling after yesterday's crash. My idea was only to ride and survive the day but I was feeling good. I know I can fight for that jersey for the rest of the days." Now tied with Daniel Jaramillo (JSH) at 15 points for the jersey, Jaramillo will wear the jersey during tomorrow's time trial.
There was a small crash in the valley not long before the final set of climbs. Travis McCabe locked handlebars with another rider taking several down including Freddie Rodriguez who had to once again finish on a spare bike though otherwise looked okay.
Photo above:3-man break enjoyed up to 4:40 gap for most of the day. Danny Summerhill (UHC), Luis Davila (JBC), Taylor Sheldon (5HR)UCI Men Results
Tomorrow is the time trial, with Tom Zirbel of Optum looking to defend his title and go for a fourth win in Tyrone. The field was noticeably smaller following yesterday's massive crash with an additional 12 riders abandoning during the day, and two others finishing past the time limit.
The field is at 109 riders now, down from the 150 that took the start yesterday.
PNM Sprinter Leader Jersey: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)
Freeport-McMoRan King of the Mountain Jersey: Daniel Jaramillo (JSH)
Southwest Bone & Joint Institute Best Young Rider: Nicolai Brochner (BDT)