Early today (NZT) PureBlack Racing riders were back on their bikes for the Foothills Classic, the second of two races this weekend in Alabama. In a sprint finish the PureBlack team set Mike Northey up for another dash to the line to claim second with Shem Rodger placing fifth. All the major teams were in action again today after yesterday’s Criterium where Northey also placed second.
While the team was keen to get a break away early in the race they were very heavily marked after their aggressive performance yesterday. At about the 40km mark a break of seven riders got away to about a 30 second lead when Tim Gudsell put the accelerator down and soloed across the gap. As the race progressed over the hilly course the break away group whittled down to five riders who built their lead out to 1min 30seconds. With the Kenda team losing their rider from the breakaway they did all of the hard work to pull the peloton back together with about 2km to go.
As the race approached the finish PureBlack’s James Williamson, Roman Van Uden and Daniel Barry set up a train to lead out Mike Northey for a sprint finish. In the sprint to the line Mike was just pipped by Cole House of Realcyclist.com and Fast finishing Shem Rodger took fifth place.
“We’ve only been in the US for three weeks and the team has performed in every race with Points jerseys, a stage win and now two podiums in two days,” said Carl Williams, Sports Director of PureBlack Racing. “We have established ourselves as a team to watch and a real crowd favourite with our distinctive black New Zealand kit and our aggressive style of racing. It's a great way to acknowledge and thank all our sponsors and supporters back home.”
After the Sunny King Criterium last night winner Jonathon Cantwell from V Australia had high praise for PureBlack in his post-raise interview telling announcers, “The New Zealand guys are probably the most aggressive and strongest team in the US at the moment and we knew they were the guys to follow and the guys to beat.”
The team’s next race will be the SRAM Tour of Gila in New Mexico from 27 April – 1 May.