The 34th Annual Tucson Bicycle Classic has a long history as a top US stage race that attracts top tier teams that are looking for an opportunity to sharpen up for the season. The Tucson Bicycle Classic is a special event because it has a wide range of racing categories that get the opportunity to enjoy the stage racing experience.
The Tucson Bicycle Classic brings racers from various states to Tucson, Arizona, which is a college community and has a nice downtown area with restaurants and other local attractions.
The 2022 Tucson Bicycle Classic was a great experience for the SoCalCycling.com Team riders to compete at, as the race started out with a 3.86 mile prologue Time Trial that was on a frontage road along the freeway and made for an extremely windy course in the afternoon.
With the wind, the strong and powerful time trial riders would have the advantage for sure. However, it was nice to see a time trial that did not allow for time trial specific bikes which helped level the playing field amongst riders. With Project Echelon coming off recent wins at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race and having a full squad along with CS Velo having a stacked squad as well, Project Echelon Racing placed Zach Gregg and Tyler Stites first and second and Alexander White with CS Velo rounded out the top three.
With the time trial setting the tone for the rest of the race, it was up to Project Echelon Racing to control the field and CS Velo Racing to follow or try to get someone up the road in the 82 mile road race.
With the road race course having some rolling sections along with a long straight descent and a gradual climb that lead into the finish, it was difficult to have the riders really gain any major time. It seemed like the pack would stay together as a few stray riders tried to make solo moves to no avail. With Project Echelon Racing and CS Velo Racing controlling the field it came down to a long drawn out field sprint that would most likely benefit someone that had a good sprint but could climb reasonably well to maintain their position in the field heading to the line.
Project Echelon Racing burned their guys off to have Tyler Stites take the sprint for the win ahead of Sam Morris (Above and Beyond Cancer P/B Bike World) in 2nd followed by James Hilyer (Team Rio Grande Elite Cycling) in 3rd and Carlos MacPherson (SoCalCycling.com Team) in 4th.
The GC didn’t change much in terms of time heading into the Stage 3 Circuit Race.
With the race starting in the early morning for the 50.4 mile Circuit Race that meant a slightly cooler start. With the winds not being too much of a factor, the race was under the control of Project Echelon Racing and CS Velo Racing. There were breakaway attempts, but nothing gained more than a minute or so during the race as Project Echelon Racing kept the race in check for race leader Tyler Stites.
As the field wound down for the final laps of the Circuit Race, Project Echelon Racing took control and monitored the pace for their race leader Tyler Stites as they wound it up for the field sprint.
Tyler Stites (Project Echelon Racing) took the sprint from the front and held off the field in a commanding style and Sam Morris (Above and Beyond P / B Bike World) and Peter Olejniczak finished second and third on the stage. It was great to have Carlos MacPherson (SoCalCycling.com Team) mix it up again to get seventh on the stage. Not bad for a little climber!
The final GC would be Project Echelon Racing teammates Tyler Sites in 1st and Greg Zach in 2nd with Alexander White (CS Velo) in 3rd rounding out the top three for the overall.
Tucson Bicycle Classic Photo Gallery
Photos by Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com