Andres Malovos took the win at the Valley of the Flowers Crit!
Andres raced a smart race with his team putting the pressure on the group the entire race.
Valley of Flowers Criterium Men Cat 3
This past Sunday the 805 Criterium weeknd finished off with the Valley of Flowers Crit in Lompoc, and a real show of power from the Platinum Performance Cycling Cat 3 Squad. With 6 Platinum riders taking to the starting line we had equal numbers with Cal Pools/ Primal, and the field also contained a few other teams with 2 or 3 riders. The successful breakaway, and the high heat of the previous days race meant many racers took to the line Sunday looking to finish off their weekend with a good result, myself included. What others probably didn’t expect was how hard we were going to make them work to make that happen.
The six man Platinum squad consisted of John Echeveste, Alfredo Gallegos, John Cutler, Tucker Eurman, Alex Shelton, and myself. Tucker and Alex have a gift for being in the right place when sprints matter most; both John Echeveste and Alfredo never seem to get tired while off the front; and John Cutler is a calculated race strategist thinking two moves down the road. Most all the races of the weekend were won from breakaways, so the plan was for me to get into a break with one or two Platinum riders if possible. Alex and Tucker would stick up front and sprint, Alfredo and both Echeveste and Cutler were going to attack, keep it fast, and try to establish a break.
Our 50 minute race was fast from start to finish. It had many attacks, big accelerations, and a few white knuckle corners to keep you paying attention. The course itself was a 8 corner figure eight, bumpy in places, but with wide corner exits. Except one corner, the start of the back loop saw a wide four lane boulevard bottleneck into one lane with crowd stopper barriers. Most of the time everyone was well behaved through that corner, but with such a wide avenue beforehand, people saw it as a great place to launch a high speed attack, or make up position and take the inside of the corner.
We rode together, at the front, the whole race. We were in every single move that went up the road. From Alfredo’s solo laps off the front that won him a preme, to the short leash breakaway with John Echeveste. We were up front and calling the shots. Despite our many attacks the field had many motivated racers, and nothing was going to stick. Every move was eventually reeled in, and never given much of a gap.
As the final laps ticked by the race became faster and more aggressive, it got dodgy, but it was up for grabs. The team was near the front of the race and keeping it fast, but I had lost some position. On the final lap I was able to work my way up through the first 4 corners, and as we went down the big boulevard approaching the back loop an attack went up the road on the right side. I jumped as hard as I could, and I was glad to be off the front heading into that bottleneck back corner. We had a gap, but I was also gapped by a few bike lenghs and giving everything I had to reel him in. Another Santa Barbara rider was on my wheel through the final three corners, and I was just catching the lead rider as we leaned the bikes into the final corner. The three of us exited the corner together, and a 250 yard sprint was there for us to settle things. I carried my momentum wide, and opened up a sprint with everything I had left. Despite the hard effort leading up to that I still had good sprint power, and accelerated all the way to the line, winning by two bike lengths.
Most importantly the six of us put on a great demonstration of teamwork, and managed to win a fantastic local race with many familiar faces there to see it.
Andres Malovos 1st
Tucker Eurman 6th
Alex Shelton 8th
John Cutler, Alfredo Gallegos, and John Echeveste eased up and rolled across the line together after their work was done.