Team Type 1 - SANOFI Update: Tour of China & Univest Grand Prix Race Reports

Posted: Sep 18, 2011

Shmidt roars uphill to 5th in Pennsylvania at Univest GP Team Type 1 - SANOFI rider Aleksei Shmidt sprinted uphill on Saturday at the Univest GP, finishing with a lunge across the line to come fifth in a heavily fractured field. Shmidt, from Russia, said the final laps of the 160km circuit race were whipped into a very fast pace by teams intent on shedding sprinters for the finish. "The race fell apart in the last kilometers, because the final loops were constantly up and down, with almost no flat sections, and I saw the group drop from maybe 60 guys down to 20 or 25. The breakaway had three riders in it and wasn't coming back, so the teams that weren't in it all went to the front and just split up the peloton," Shmidt said. Saturday's Univest GP was the first of two races over the weekend in southeastern Pennsylvania, and 118 athletes lined up for the 12 laps of a 10.4km course followed by five laps of a shorter 7.2km loop. Two riders escaped at nearly the beginning of the day to lead by around two minutes through the larger laps, before a flurry of activity sent the peloton scrambling at the endgame. "We had a plan at the start to cover any breaks of 10 or so riders, but the whole peloton seemed to have the same idea. So the two riders got away and then it was just us working for the finish," Shmidt said. Team Type 1 - SANOFI riders Will Dugan and Ben King guided Shmidt through the ups and downs of the finishing loops, following a prerace strategy that if a mass finish were in the offing, the Olympic track rider from Moscow would be best placed among the team. "Scott Stewart held the early part of the race down, and the team had me in good hands for the sprint. To be honest it got so fast at the finish that you couldn't even look around, and the last 300 meters went uphill, so all I could do was put my head down and look at other riders' shoes," Shmidt said. Team Type 1 - SANOFI rider Alex Bowden, who has type 1 diabetes and must monitor his blood glucose continuously and periodically take insulin to manage the disease, said he had a nearly perfect day. "I started at 190 and finished right about there, too. Most of the race I just held it at that level with eating and drinking normally, so it was just about perfect," Bowden said. On Sunday the squad moves to a classic American criterium in nearby Doylestown, with most of the same teams lining up in the 80km event. Rosskopf climbs into the clouds, Efimkin gains slightly on stage eight at the Tour of China Team Type 1 -SANOFI rider Joey Rosskopf chased into the fog of a high Chinese mountain on Sunday, powered by a strong desire to overcome an untimely puncture at the base of the climb and rejoin his teammate Vladimir Efimkin on the descent. Rosskopf, from Georgia, started the 134km stage eight with the intention of shepherding Efimkin to the front of the bike race and assisting him over two climbs to the finish. Efimkin, who lives in Sacramento, was 17 seconds out of second place at the beginning of the day, and as a Tour de France stage winner and a deeply talented climbing specialist, was likely the most watched rider in the peloton. "I went through a lot of people on that first climb, but was still 20 or 30 seconds off the back of the front group at the start of the second climb. It rained off and on most of the stage, and the descents were pretty scary with switchbacks. At the top of the climb it was really foggy, and we did the first part of the descent pretty blind," Rosskopf said. Team Type 1 - SANOFI Director Sportif Michael Carter said the day's strategy was upended by Rosskopf's flat tire. "He flatted at the very bottom of the first climb, which turned out to be the most inopportune moment, as the ascent was much harder than the profile indicated. The field shattered and the caravan was barraged. Rosskopf had to bridge from group to group. On the second climb the field shattered more," Carter said. Vladimir Efimkin rode at the front of the race on the 30km remaining to the finish after the second climb, and tried to put time on his competitors, finding a hasty alliance with six other riders to open a 30 second gap with around 10km to go. Riders determined not to allow Efimkin a time gap organized themselves behind his breakaway and traded efforts to track him down and reel him in. "It was a good mountain, and seven of us got over it together. But we were caught by a larger group a few k to the finish, and it was all I could do to hold the wheel of a Slovenian rider I knew would win the sprint. He did, and I turned myself inside out to stay on for a top 10 and not lose any seconds in the sprint," Vladimir Efimkin said Vladimir Efimkin gained a one second advantage on Sunday, and moved up from to 9th from 12th on the overall classification, with one final 85km criterium stage on Tuesday in Tianjin. He remains 16 seconds out of second place, with race leader Muradjan Khalmuratov of Uzbekistan more than three minutes ahead and virtually unreachable. "Today I had so much fun racing again, in a really great competition for the win. There's still a chance for the final podium, and we'll work for it on Tuesday," Vladimir Efimkin said. Team Type 1 - SANOFI riders Fabio Calabria, Joe Eldridge and Martijn Verschoor, who all have type 1 diabetes and must monitor their blood glucose continuously and periodically take insulin to manage the disease, all finished the day in arrears, their job setting pace and chasing down dangerous attacks done early. Eldridge started the day at 200, and finished with a BG at 150. Verschoor finished at 177 after a 250 start. Calabria, who was pushed into the guard rail on a rainy and slippery descent by a caravan vehicle, said he started at 180 and finished at 200. "It got a little hairy. I pulled my best Tokyo drift move and was about 1 second from unclipping and ejecting when it it all healed up and went back to normal. It was impressive in hindsight and makes for a good story when I remember it," Calabria said.