Stage 1 was a tight little half mile crit course with a bit of a hill on it. With 100 guys it was bound to be chaos and the promoter decided to make no time splits. So if you lapped the field there was no time benefit and if you got dropped there was no time penalties. Pretty weird but whatever. We field a pretty sick team: Tim Swain, Ryan Gamm, Bennett VG, Joe Cooper, Josh England, Matt Winstead, Hayden Godfrey, and myself.
Our team plan was to keep our GC boys safe and for me and Hayden to go after the 3 sprint jersey sprints and then see how the end played out. I was immediately in the 1st break-away as D Dickey went off the line. Our group swelled to about 10 with Bennett joining me. At one point I thought we would lap but it got shut down in about 15 laps. The race stayed really aggressive but we were all together for the 1st sprint and Josh did a great job leading me to the final corner and I took care of the rest winning the 1st sprint. I stayed out of trouble and on the 2nd sprint there was a group of 5 away and I jumped across to them catching them in the 2nd to last corner but came up short running the leader down and got 2nd in that one. Back together for the 3rd sprint and I told the boys I needed to win this one. Josh lead me and Hayden to the 2nd to last corner and Hayden launched me around to win the 3rd sprint. Back in GREEN!
After the 3rd sprint the race picked up and I was struggling to hold on. There were only about 30 guys left out of the 100 that started and the race got super aggressive. With about 15 to go Matt flew off the course and smashed into a spectator which was pretty scary. He recovered well and instantly went off the front and made the winning move of 4. He did well finishing 2nd on the day and I survived and finished in the field.
All in all a good day for the team. We like to win but not having the jersey might do us some good the next few days. For me, I am super stoked about going from being hurt to being back in the green jersey. We have 2 road stages next with no sprints so I will atleast keep it until Thursday. Will post some pictures when I get them.
Time for bed as we have an early start tomorrow with lots of climbing...