STITES SPRINTS TO VICTORY
AT VALLEY OF THE SUN
February 14th, 2019
Tyler Stites launched Aevolo to its first win of the season at Valley of the Sun stage race, winning stage two's 94-mile road race in dominant fashion.
Stites’ teammate, Laurent Gervais sprinted to a solid third place.
"We had (Michael) Hernandez and me in a large split that went right at the start," Stites said. "With two laps to go, Hernandez rolled off the front with one other guy, which almost stayed away, but was still great because it allowed us to relax and wait for the sprint. Overall, I think we raced well as a team, which allowed us to grab a nice early season win."
After a solid start to their 2019 campaign during stage one's time trial, Stites, Hernadez, Gervais and Andrew Vollmer were confident at the start line.
"We decided on a plan of not being too afraid to go with multiple attacks, knowing that even though some squads have eight to 10 riders, the Aevolo youngsters have made the most of their racing experiences and can lead with their front foot," team director Jono Coulter said.
From the first lap, the racing was aggressive. Stites and Hernandez found themselves in a group of 20 riders with a minute lead on the yellow jersey led peloton. With some powerful racing by Hernandez, the group whittled down on successive laps to the strongest eight riders. However, the leaders stopped contributing to its forward momentum, despite a lead of over two minutes. Hernandez continued in the breakaway with Quinn Simmons (LUX), and they made a push for the line with 35kms to go.
Alas, it was not to be. Shortly after Tyler’s selection was caught, Simmons and Hernandez succumbed to the same fate. On the final lap, several teams attempted to control the race while 19-year-old Vollmer kept Gervais and Stites in top position. At about 300 meters from the finish, Stites wound up his acceleration and gained five bike lengths immediately. Gervais was handily positioned and timed his sprint to finish third with a hand in the air.
"The lads were pleased afterwards and agreed in the debriefing that their communication and self-belief was excellent coming into the race," Coulter said. "I am looking forward to seeing them build on this momentum."
The Valley of the Sun stage race concludes today with an hourlong criterium in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.