Once the flag was down, attacks began flying and soon a five-man breakaway formed of Efren Santos Moreno (Canel’s ZEROUNO) from Mexico, Emile Hamm (Toronto Hustle) from Canada, Henry York (Rio Grande Elite Cycling Team), Jose Reyes Aguilera Garcia (SoCalCycling.com) from Mexico and Samuel Volkers (Meiyo CCN Pro Cycling) from Australia.
The break extended its gap to over three minutes before the peloton reeled them in to a safer time of two minutes and 30 seconds.
York nabbed the first intermediate sprint at 18.3 miles followed by Hamm and Aguilera Garcia. As the five riders approached the final intermediate sprint at 57.5 miles, the gap to the field began to dwindle, and Volkers launched.
As he took the most points for the sprint, followed by York and Hamm, he blew up the break, causing York and Hamm to fall off and taking Santos Moreno and Aguilera Garcia with him. The three riders managed to hold a gap on the peloton until 6.7 miles to go, virtually the base of the final climb.
All told, the break in some form, stayed away for around 70 miles.
“We got to about three minutes, and then it started to come down, with heaps of racing to go so, and we don’t know any riders here so, I wasn’t sure if there was the best climber in the race or something with us, so when we got to the second sprint, I went for the sprint, and basically just kept sprinting to force the group to try to move the time gap up a bit,” Volkers said.
Once the peloton gobbled up the three riders, it was anyone’s race. Teams, including Project Echelon, whose Tyler Stites won the leader’s jersey at Redlands, amassed at the front, as did CS Velo Racing, which includes 2020 Everesting world record holder Sean Gardener.