It was a day of hypothermic rain and we smashed the race apart. We took it down to the important players and we had it where we wanted, it was ours to win.—Tad Hamilton, Team Exergy Director Sportif
On the morning of the last day of Redlands, Team Exergy was in good if not great position. Throughout the previous four days/stages, Exergy worked flawlessly, almost mechanistic. Carlos, no surprise, was in Green. Matt was second on the Polka Dot. And Morgan was in perfect postion to win the last stage and the whole race.
Sunset Loop was a miserable experience. It was cold and wet and by the end of the day the field was whittled down to nothing. Mancebo waited until the the last lap to attack. He was nearly gone until the Yellow Jersey, Phil, and his teammate Andy got on the front, full gas, to pull it back. Meanwhile I'm sitting on with some guys and by then the group was down to eight and I had basically a free ride. It was a perfect position for me. I wasn't doing any work and I only had to get seven seconds total on Gaimon to take over the whole tour. I figured once they brought Mancebo back they'd be blown and I could attack with them helpless. It was a great position.
As were headed down off the hill with 10k or so to go, Phil and those guys still working their butts off, the worst possible thing that could happen to me happens and I flat. We'e going 60k/hr and I punctured, in the wet, in the worst possible place to do it. There's zero chance I could come back from that. By the time you get off, change the wheel, and get back up to speed, there just isn't enough time to get back to the front. That's what happened and it was unfortunate. I honestly think I would've won the tour. They caught Mancebo, but they were gassed. Patrick Bevin and Evan Huffman got up the road. All i would've had to do was follow that move, get four seconds between Phil and myself, plus get the three second time bonus for third behind those two guys. It could've been so easy, instead it was just frustrating.
It's hard because you don't get many opportunities where it all comes together, where the moons align and they're chasing Mancebo and you can just sit on. That's what I've learned, when you sense an opportunity, a real and actual opportunity, you need to take it.—Morgan Schmitt
And after it all, Freddie Rodriguez left Redlands with two broken ribs.