The final stage of Alberta and what better ways to begin it by being able to sleep in a bit and waking up to no chance of rain. Not that it wasn’t cold but the fact that there was no rain in the forecast caused the stoked levels to be real high. The last stage was on the shorter side with 77 miles on an 11 lap circuit around downtown Edmonton. It was a pretty cool circuit with a couple climbs and a lot of turns for it to be a bit more technical. We were coming into the day with Dion sitting 5th on GC, Toms was 7th on GC and I was currently 11th. We were still a bit bummed to be now 2nd on Team Classification but thats that. I really liked the course and wanted to be in the break. I tried really hard yesterday to get into the break, but it didn’t happen so I knew today I would have a better chance if the legs felt good because of the couple climbs on the course. I also really wanted to be in the break on the last day of Utah, but I had nothing left in the legs so that didn’t make it possible. Today I was hoping the legs would be better.
Once we started racing it was a quick pace and I started following moves. We hit one of the climbs and the attacks began and I moved into a move right over the top and there were about 5 of us who got away. Once I saw we had a gap I started pulling through some good hard pulls hoping this would be it. We got some distance in about half a lap, but I looked back and could see the field charging hard lead by Drapac. I’m not quite sure why they chased us back but they did and I wasn’t too happy about it. I was still determined to get in the move so I stayed towards the front and kept following. The next lap came around and the attacks went on the climb again and I dug super hard to stay on the wheels and we went over the top of the climb with 5 of us and we had another gap. This one would look like it would be it as the field sat up and we got a gap. My thoughts were to keep a good pace but conserve a bit to try to attack the group at the end of the race and maybe get the most aggressive jersey for the day. We got out to almost a minute and I knew I was the best placed GC guy in the move, so Trek couldn’t let us get too much of a gap.
On the fourth lap we went through the feed zone and my swanny Brian yelled out to me that Toms and Ty were bridging. I looked back to see my two teammates with another rider coming up. I went to the back of the group and sat on as my two teammates came up already knowing what was about to happen. My teammate Toms was 7th on GC and only about 50 seconds down on the lead. Once they reached us they came by me and said “okay Jon full gas now.” Now we were bike racing, classic Hincapie style stacking the break and racing for the win. This caused a bit of a panic in the field as Trek really had to start racing to keep there overall lead in tact. My own personal ambitions of a decent result went out the window and now all I cared about was going full gas in the break. After a couple more laps we got the break out to 1:30 which put Toms in virtual yellow jersey and myself 2nd on GC, but I wasn’t thinking too much of that. We hit lap 8 and I was starting to feel my efforts of being off the front all day and burying myself. Unfortunately by lap the gap started coming down as Trek was getting help from some other World Tour teams chasing. With 1.5 laps to go we hit another climb and I could see the field behind us. A couple attacks went from the break and I went backwards. The field caught us and I stayed with them for another lap but on the last lap I was dropped from the field as I was pretty toast.
The other parts of the break got caught, but we still managed a result as my teammate Joe did a phenomenal lead out for Dion who ended up 3rd in the sprint. I fell down the overall leader board as I crossed the line a few minutes down, but I didn’t care because today we raced our bikes and pissed some people off. I’m sure most everyone knows that at these races the World Tour teams really try to control everything and make there lives easier and when they get raced hard by the Continental Teams they aren’t too excited about it. Especially being one of the last races of the year everyone seems a little less motivated and that just works out even better for us.
Well now my season is done and I had a great time this year with the Hincapie Racing Team. I feel like I learned and progressed a lot with stepping up and doing my first big races at the Tour of Utah and Tour of Alberta. Utah didn’t go too well at the end, but I feel as though Alberta made up for it. Now its time for a bit of a break and put the final touches on my upcoming event the Temecula Spandex Stampede Cycling GranFUNdo which will be held in November. I always like having a bit of an off season project to work on as it makes the time pass really well.
Well, until next time this will be it for me and I hope to see you Sunday, November 8th at the Spandex Stampede!
Jon Hornbeck, rides professionally for the Hincapie Racing Team and is also is the owner of Fast Tours Cycling.