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"But I just had a really good feeling about going in the break today, especially with the weather being so bad, sometimes the breakaway gets a bit of an advantage, so I really wanted to take my chances in the break."

Photo: Sirotti


03.09.2016 @ 14:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tanner Putt (Unitedhealthcare) took the biggest win of his career when he came out on top on a wet, cold and windy second stage of the Tour of Alberta. Having spent almost the entire stage in the breakaway, he finally beat Alexis Cartier (Canada) in a 2-rider sprint before Tyler Williams (Axeon) took third 10 seconds later. Race leader Colin Joyce (Axeon) won the bunch sprint for fifth and so retained the overall lead.


We have gathered a few reactions.


Tanner Putt after first pro win: The bad weather motivated me

"It did motivate me," Tanner Putt said at the post-race press conference. "We have John Murphy here who is a really good sprinter. Me and him work really well in sprints. I lead him out usually, so it was a bit of a risk for me going so aggressively in the break and then getting caught and going again.


"But I just had a really good feeling about going in the break today, especially with the weather being so bad, sometimes the breakaway gets a bit of an advantage, so I really wanted to take my chances in the break."


"I knew being out front with just one other guy that we'd be working the whole time, we'd be hitting the wind and riding harder and staying a bit warmer, whereas in the field they were gonna sit up a bit, let this break roll and get a bit of time.


"When you sit up like that after riding hard in the rain you get pretty cold. So when we got to 30km to go I went up to the guy I was with and was just like, ‘Hey man, let's get this gap up as much as we can and hold it a bit, then when we turn right at 16km to go and we have a bit of a tail-cross, we'll hit it was hard as we can to the finish line.


"On the radio they wanted me to hit out with a little bit to go, just because whenever you are riding with somebody to the finish in the last couple of kilometres it's hard for both of you to fully commit 100 percent. We were both committed, but it's hard to give 100 percent, because you don't want to give 100 percent and then have the guy hit you. So I hit it a couple of times just to see how he was and see how his reaction was. I hit it going into 1km to go and then sat back up again and kind of forced him to take the lead going into 1km to go. I knew I could take it from 250-300, and I just waited until then and hit out."


Impressive Axeon youngster retains lead in Alberta

Colin Joyce sprinted to fifth place and kept his grip on the overall lead at the Tour of Alberta presented by ATB Financial after his Axeon Hagens Berman teammates turned in a concerted show of force on a soggy, cool second stage on Friday.

Joyce's six teammates kept every breakaway in check - with the 22-year-old even infiltrating one escape move himself - during the 182-kilometer race from Kananaskis north to Olds.

"I had a lot of confidence in my teammates and they showed that I should have a lot of confidence in them," Joyce said after pulling on the race leader's yellow jersey. "They definitely made it super easy not to stress and to stay calm. They rode like animals out there and just made it super easy for me to relax and keep yellow."

Tanner Putt, who rode for Axel Merckx's development program in 2013 and 2014, took the stage win for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team after joining up with Alexis Cartier (Canadian National Team) on a breakaway the last 75 km of the race.

But it was Axeon Hagens Berman's Tyler Williams who was the man of the moment in the late going. The recent winner of the Northern California Nevada Cycling Association Elite Road Championship followed an attack by Evan Huffman. The Rally Cycling rider was part of Thursday's breakaway and sitting just 13 seconds off the overall lead. With Putt and Cartier already up the road, Huffman was looking to snag the four-second time bonus that goes with finishing third while hoping to distance Joyce enough to take the overall lead. But Williams had other ideas.

"When I saw Huffman attack, I knew immediately it was dangerous," Williams said. "I thought Colin was on my wheel when I jumped across. When I realized we had a gap, it was just about trying to slow him (Huffman) down and neutralize the move. At 500 meters to go, I jumped and knew I had that kind of effort in me to take the bonus. It would have been cool to be going for the win, but it was a really well done day by everyone on the team. So we can all be proud."

Joyce said he also knew he had to do his own part to hold onto the race lead.

"Coming into two kilometers to go, I knew I just had to go for it," the Pocatello, Idaho, resident said. "So I just started motoring and caught some individuals that were there. Two Cannondale guys came up and I hopped on them and then Alex Howes started sprinting. So it was basically going all out the last few kilometers to close the gap as much as possible."


"It's awesome to see Putt win. He definitely deserved that win. He rode so hard today, it as really impressive. Our plan was to work for GC still and keep the gap manageable. Some other teams decided to take it up near the finish, and really bring the gap down. But our plan wasn't to bring them back. It wasn't our job to do as we were just trying to look after yellow."

Williams said some harsh weather conditions made an already challenging day for the team even more difficult. For much of the more-than-four-hour race, Axeon Hagens Berman riders like Jonny Brown, Irish Under 23 national time trial champion Eddie Dunbar, Justin Oien, Phil O'Donnell and Chad Young rode the front.

"The weather was pretty brutal for the last couple of hours," Williams said. "Especially when it got windy and blew to bits. We were able to get Colin in that front split, which took the pressure off of us. From there, it was just a mental game of surviving the cold. The way the race was ridden made defending pretty simple. The speed just carried us through and then everyone contributed perfectly and it made for a smooth day."


"It started alright and then it rained and then it got really, really cold," Joyce said. "Then I looked over at Tanner and he wasn't wearing anything except a jersey and I felt pretty bad about myself. It was pretty cold. They key was definitely trying to stay warm, so we were always going back to the car and throwing on a lot of extra layers to keep warm."

Heading into Saturday's 181.2-km stage, Joyce holds a seven-second lead over Howes (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) and a nine-second advantage over Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team). The next seven riders are between 11 and 21 seconds off the lead. Williams's third-place finish shot him from 49th to 12th overall. He and Putt (11th overall, 1:50 back) are the next closest to Joyce after Thursday's opening stage breakaway by 11 riders put more than two minutes on the field.



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