Riders discuss game plans, thoughts on VOS

As riders descend upon the Valley this weekend for one of the biggest and earliest season stage races in the nation, they shared their race strategies and expecations with Clipped In.

From pros to beginners and Masters riders, the competition at Valley of the Sun will be anything but tame, and it begins with the time trial on Friday.


“I’m looking forward to seeing where my early season form is. It should be a good race. I think my team Superissimo can have a good showing. It’s a race heavily weighted toward time trial specialists, and a time trial specialist I am not, so we’ll see how it goes. It looks like a pretty solid field so I don’t think there is one person or team to watch for.”

Chad Beyer (Superissimo) Pro/1, Scottsdale, Ariz.


“I’m excited to race in warm weather! I’m truly looking forward to the TT and crushing it on my Felt. I expect us to get the win for each race, and we are the team to beat.”

– Allie Dragoo (Twenty16 presented by SHO-Air), Pro 1/2, Grand Rapids, Mich.


“It should be a fun weekend full of fast and aggressive racing.  The junior race is one of the races that the U.S. national team director looks at to select riders for the European trips, so a good result could earn you a spot on the national team. I’d like to do well in the TT but I am really looking for a good finish in the overall GC.”

Brandon McNulty (LUX Development Team), Junior 17-18, Phoenix, Ariz.

“The ladies of Holliday Rock p/b Zoca look forward to Valley of the Sun every year to test their race legs early in the season. The race is well supported and provides a weekend away from the usual hectic SoCal race scene. It’s almost like a mini team camp. The competition is always fierce, but the race is well organized and supported. Also, with the Women’s 4 category being separated from [Cat 3], which is very uncommon in SoCal, this helps to introduce our newer riders to stage races with a lower intimidation factor. Regarding the Womens 1-3 field size, this is fantastic! More women racing bikes! Also, maybe they could consider separating the Women’s 3 field next year.”

– Jennifer Stokes (Holliday Rock p/b Zoca), Cat 3, San Diego, Calif.



“The general classification in Valley of the Sun hinges on the time trial; though that is not necessarily the end all, it is a very good indicator of who is in good form. For me and my teammates the criterium is a very good opportunity to get a result, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try to get in position for a good ride in the road race! If we have a rider pull off a top TT on Friday that will definitely influence our tactical decisions for the rest of the weekend.”

Victor Riquelme (Stone House Group p/b VeloVie), Pro/1, Tucson, Ariz.


“I am thrilled that there are 13 women Masters 50+. If you add the 35+ you’re looking at 17 women Masters. It feels good to know I have new competition in my age group, but it’s also making me a bit nervous to be measuring myself to women I don’t know. Looking forward to making new friends. It will be my first VOS although I’ve been racing for three years. You can say that I cannot wait. It will be my first major event with national attraction. Stage races are demanding because they require all of your abilities as a cyclist.”

Nathalie Potvin (Jobing.com Women’s Racing), Masters 50+, Scottsdale, Ariz.


Eaton-980x653“Oddly enough I’m looking forward to the TT. The win at that TT always seems to elude me, so this year that will be a target for the race. This year with me doing Tour of California, and other personally important races in Europe, I am not really targeting this race. In my opinion,
I think the [KHS-Maxxis-JLVelo] team will be trying to take control, but it looks like a lot of the [Elevate Cycling Team] riders are signed up, so they may battle it out through the road race and crit. In short, yes I would like to win again, but I won’t be to hung up if I don’t. The main goal is the TT, and there will probably be a team battle between Elevate and KHS, but who knows, a break could get away in the road race, and that’s the race.”

– Danny Eaton (UCI CT: Axeon Cycling Team), Pro/1, winner of VOS 2014, Mesa, Ariz.


“VOS will be an extension of training camp for Visit Dallas p/b Noise for Good as the team has spent the week getting to know each other better and fine tuning equipment. We are riding the phenomenal re-engineered Orbea Orca Road bikes and Orbea Ordu TT bikes, so it has been important to get our fits dialed. We have an incredibly strong roster this year and will have a lot of cards to play at VOS. We will be using the race to learn to race together more and develop team tactics. It is fantastic to have VOS at this time of year in AZ to help teams prepare for the upcoming season.”

– Anna Sanders (Visit Dallas p/b Noise for Good), Pro 1/2, Phoenix, Ariz.


“The same Cali talent is back again, so defending [Master’s] champ, Phil Tintsman, will predictably take the first jersey. Jetset is coming off a big weekend of aggressive racing and results, winning both Masters races over the weekend. We plan on carrying that momentum and racing aggressively again this weekend to represent AZ.”

Kyle Reedy (Jetset Racing), Masters 35+, Mesa, Ariz.



“I really enjoy being able to participate in a three day stage race against a strong field of Masters. The highlights of my year are the Tour of the Gila Masters race, which ends the year, and the Valley of the Sun Masters race, which begins the year! What will be exciting about this year’s addition of the VOS will be the fact that Zia Velo brings five solid Masters racers, including two riders Al Senft and Thomas Cunico who both placed highly [in 2014] in the all important Friday TT. You need to ride a great TT on Friday to be in the mix for the overall GC.

Timothy Ketelaar (Zia Velo Cycling), Masters 45+, Las Cruces, N.M.


What is your game plan for this year’s VOS? Share it on our Facebook page.

Sarah Muench