Something grand and unexpected happened today. A member of the Hincapie Racing Team won a staggeringly difficult stage 3 of the biggest week long race in the North American professional cycling calendar. The win today came with a large enough time gap to cause Toms Skujins to also become the leading rider of the stage race; the wearer of the coveted Amgen Tour of California leader’s yellow jersey.
Hincapie Racing Team and Amgen Tour of California
The Hincapie Racing Team received its first invitation to race in the Amgen Tour of California this year. The race rewards invitations to the very best professional teams from around the world, as well as to teams which the race organizers considered as “up and coming”. The invitation to race in the Amgen Tour of California could have been enough of an accolade for the Hincapie Racing Team, and if the young team could snag a podium placing before the end of the week? Well, we could all hold out hope!
In yesterday’s stage 2, Skujins’ team mate Robin Carpenter foreshadowed the potential of the Hincapie Racing Team by winning the “King of the Mountain” and “Best Young Rider” jerseys in a very fast flat race won by a very famous Brit cyclist named Mark Cavendish. This same Mark Cavendish had already won nine races in 2015. This same Mark Cavendish was the yellow jersey leader of the race. The difficulty of stage 3 can be illustrated by one fact; Mark Cavendish finished over 20 minutes behind Toms Skujins today.
The opportunity for young riders like Toms Skujins and Robin Carpenter to gain international attention for their sponsors and team are rare. The battles which occur over thousands of miles of roads in races small and large are won by a scant few who are considered the “stars” of cycling. Welcome to the new night sky, star Toms Skujins! Thanks also to all who lend a helping hand to the riders of the Hincapie Racing Team. From the sponsors who contribute many thousands of dollars and equipment, to the families who allow team members to become house guests in race towns across America. You are helping the next generation of cyclists achieve their goals and dreams.
The author of this blog Dr David Mruz is the team chiropractor for the Hincapie Racing Team.