As has become the norm for the US Pro Championship Road Race, riders were greeted with high temperatures, high humidity and an unyielding sun as they congregated in downtown Greenville, SC, for their noon start. With just over 112 miles of racing ahead of them, including four trips up race-defining Paris Mountain, every rider knew this would be one of the most testing races of the year. New for 2012 was the King of the Mountains competition which awarded points to the first five riders to reach the summit of Paris Mountain each lap, and the rider accumulating the most points by the end of the day would be recognized on the podium with a dedicated jersey.
As racing got underway, riders wasted no time launching attacks and the peloton was quickly strung out in a single-file line. Several breakaway attempts achieved a small advantage, but then on the last of three short opening circuits in downtown Greenville, a split of 27 riders was able to pull clear and quickly settled into a brisk paceline. Representing the Jamis/Sutter Home Professional Cycling Team in the break were climbers Tyler Wren and Carson Miller. Tyler, knowing he was on great form, sat back as much as possible while Carson continually drove the pace higher, steadily extending the group's advantage. As they crested Paris Mountain the first time, Tyler kicked hard to the top and was the first rider to cross the KOM line, netting him maximum points.
As the race progressed, the breakaway achieved a maximum advantage of almost four minutes and Tyler continued to show his strength by taking first place points on the second and third ascents of Paris Mountain! Heading back into downtown Greenville for three short finishing circuits, one rider attacked the breakaway and was able to stay clear, but Tyler held strong in the very select front group and as the line approached, jumped with every ounce of energy he had remaining. He crossed the line in an incredible 6th place! His aggression on the climb did not go unrewarded and he smiled widely on the podium as he was presented with the polka dot KOM jersey!
Meanwhile, at the Tour of Somerville criterium held the same day in New Jersey, another group of Jamis/Sutter Home riders were flying the Team colors proudly. After miles of lightning-fast racing with relentless attacking, the field was all together for a group finish. Exiting the final corner in good position, sprinters Demis Aleman and Alejandro Borrajo launched toward the line with everything and finished 3rd and 4th, respectively, giving the Team its second podium appearance of the day!
Visit Jamissutterhome.com for information on the 2012 team and race schedule.
Photo Credit: John Segesta