Hagens Berman Axeon’s Chris Blevins rode a successful breakaway to victory on stage 2 of the Tour of the Gila, winning a five-up sprint ahead of Daniel Jaramillo (UnitedHealthcare), Cormac McGeough (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) Cullen Easter (303 Project) and Janier Acevedo (UnitedHealthcare), who climbed to third overall with his result.
Stage 1 winner Oscar Sanchez (Canel’s Specialized) retained his overall lead by 11 seconds over Rally Cycling’s Rob Britton. Acevedo is now 55 seconds back in third, as Alex Evans (Mobius Bridgelane) slipped to fourth at 1:04 back.
While Blevins came away with the stage win, UnitedHealthcare may have been the big winner by moving Acevedo onto the GC podium, while the team’s Gavin Mannion is fourth at 1:21.
“We tried to race aggressively today,” UnitedHealthcare director Sebastian Alexandre told Cyclingnews before the podium ceremony. “Yesterday was very negative until the climb, so our plan today was to play our cards and just go from the gun to try and make a successful break. It worked well with two guys there. We couldn’t win the stage, but it was a well-deserved win by the Axeon kid. It was good work for almost everybody in the break.”
Blevins, the reigning U23 cyclo-cross champion and a top-level mountain biker, scored his biggest road race win from a late breakaway in the San Dimas Stage Race earlier this year. On Thursday, Blevins relied on his smarts to make the breakaway and his legs to take the win.
“It was a bit strung out,” Blevins explained to Cyclingnews about the moment the break took shape. “There were a lot of us up the road and the pack was kind of chasing back on, so in that moment I knew that was the perfect opportunity for something to go.
How it unfolded
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