California–At this point the stories have all been written on how a young and talented wildcard team shook California with a quake-like “big one” impact and in the process earned them the road racing respect from any last remaining holdouts. Aboard their F1‘s and DA1‘s, the band of brothers from South Carolina known as Hincapie Racing came, saw, and conquered the 2015 Amgen Tour of California with the heart and panache of the very best.
After a predictable flat Stage 1 sprint finish, it all began with Robin Carpenter’s (above) Stage 2 all-day break with three others that, will ultimately absorbed, earned him the Best Young Rider jersey.
The following day during the race’s first real test of climbing, a young Toms Skujins (above, cover) went at it alone for over 50K to take Stage 3 in a thrilling solo win. It was a race for the ages and one which can ignite a career in a hurry. It put Toms in yellow and the overall lead.
The following two days, Stages 4 and 5, the entire team worked like clockwork at the front to cover any threat and protect Toms’ yellow jersey. It was pro racing at it’s finest as the team answered the bell rang by the World Tour laden field.
While yellow was ultimately lost in the Stage 6 TT and the following day Mt. Baldy blew the races to pieces, the victory that came with their invite had long ago been realized.
On the final day, Stage 8–a short gimme for the sprinters–a four-man break including both Oscar Clark (above) and Joe Lewis made it interesting. While it all came together in the end, it earned Oscar the day’s Most Courageous Rider jersey.
For the team it was a defining race and enough cannot be said for how Toms, Robin, Oscar, Robin, Joe, Andzs Flakis, Joe Schmalz, Dion Smith and Ty Magner raced. In the end, only three teams won stages and only two bike companies did. To say we are proud is a gross understatement. What a race. What a performance. What a team. Well done, Hincapie Racing.
To read the 2015 Amgen Tour of CA stage-by-stage report log on to: