The last big block of racing for our Aevolo boys ended up like a fairytale story. Our last block of racing started with U23 nationals in Hagerstown, MD followed quickly with the 7 day Tour of Utah and the 4 day Colorado Classic. The Tour of Utah and the Colorado Classic were both UCI 2.HC races. Our previous biggest race was the Tour of Alberta, a UCI 2.1 race we participated in last year. So, these last two races on our calendar were the most important races we would do in our team’s short two-year existence.
The ball started rolling in Hagerstown for U23 nationals. We had solid results in 2017 but you always want to improve upon those. Gage had a solid 5th place ride at Pro Nationals earlier in the season so it seemed like an improvement on his 11th in 2017 was quite possible. Well, he earned his first U23 TT championship that day and we could have ended our nationals on a high note right there. Friday’s road race was one of the oddest I have seen with lightning throwing in an odd break from racing for 90 minutes to only have 30k to go when we restarted. Despite the confusion, we ended up a win for Alex Hoehn and our team. Finally, the ever crazy criterium had our team controlling it to our advantage until our two sprinters crashed out of the race with less than 2 laps to go. Gage, normally our last lead-out guy, had to switch to sprint mode and made it to the line FIRST for a complete sweep of the three races at Nationals and his second jersey of the week. What a week of racing. If our season ended right there and then we could not be any better off.
We went into Utah with some good races under our belt but it’s Utah and with the course profiles and World Tour teams in attendance it will be a tough fight for results. I’m not a cycling expert but I sort of thought a top 20 would be solid for our small team. Our Luis Villalobos was riding great on day one and ended up with 3 top 10s on stages and 8th overall PLUS he ended the race in the best young rider competition. Colorado saw Gage win Stage 1 in solo fashion and would earn every jersey except most aggressive. Some would argue he should have/could have won that too. We ended up with Luis in 13th and Gage in 14th on the final classification.
Wow. What an amazing last few weeks of our season!!! Who would have thought we would get even one or two of those results? But we earned them and our team is still feeling the excitement of those races.
On the mechanic’s side of things, I got to work with a good friend for the last two races. Jose Alcala normally works for an NRS program sponsored by Look bicycles. He has often hired me to work with HIS programs. I’ve sat in the jump seat of his car for well over 10,000 miles or races. But it is has been rare I have had opportunities to hire him to work with ME. Until now. It was a real treat to have him on my crew for the Tour of Utah and the Colorado Classic. Thanks for coming along for the “ride” guapo!!
Editor’s note: It was just announced yesterday that Luis is making the move up to the WorldTour next year! Development works and we’re glad to help play a role in giving these youngsters the experiences they need to achieve their dreams.