Riders are getting ready to take on tough competition this weekend at the largest stage race in Arizona – Valley of the Sun.
They’ll face fierce opponents; Olympian Evelyn Stevens, USA Cycling National Criterium Champion Eric Marcotte and Worlds time trial bronze medalist Brandon McNulty are all among the registered riders taking on a time trial, road race and criterium.
Imagine some riders’ delight when finding out Stevens, who is going for the hour record at the end of the month, is signed up for VOS:
Several riders mentioned the challenge of taking on Marcotte: “Luis Amaran and Eric Marcotte, two champions on the same team! They will be bringing the pain of a one-two punch,” said Joshua Berry (Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis).
We’ve broken down the numbers for you for this year’s VOS, and found out some inside info on riders’ game plans. Who’s registered?
Riders’ takes on VOS:
Eric Marcotte (Team Jamis)
On why he’s doing VOS this year:
Our team, Team Jamis, had originally looked at getting four to six riders together to get some more race time together. Now, it’s just Luis Amaran and I. What’s good is the ability to get three disciplines in, to test the TT bike position and from, road race tactics and fitness and crit skills and power.
On his goals/expectations:
Goals are just to get some race pace miles in at high intensity and begin dialing in the TT bike (just received it so no rides on it yet).
Her team is the biggest team in the Women’s Pro 1/2 field, with 11 riders. Here’s what she had to say about the race:
VOS is such a fantastic local stage race that I feel like all riders in the Valley should support. The weather is incredible. The courses are challenging and awesome for early-season stage racing, and finally, it is in my backyard so I don’t need to get on a plane to travel anywhere. Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling team is hosting team camp in Phoenix leading into VOS. The energy is high and it’s really fun having everyone here getting amped for a killer season. We are stoked Twenty16 will be at VOS, and we can’t wait to battle it out.
Brandon McNulty (LUX/Stradling)
With VOS being early in the year, I’m using it for mostly training so it’s supposed to be pretty low stress and not a lot of expectations. I’d love to get a good result in the TT, as this is my favorite discipline. As far as the the road race and crit go, I’d just like to have some fun and try my best to throw down with some of the nation’s best! And of course this will be a huge learning experience as I’ll be lining up with seasoned pros like Chad Beyer, [Eric] Marcotte and his teammate Luis Amaran, who’s won this race a number of times, so learning is my main goal!
On who to watch:
Luis Amaran and Eric Marcotte, two champions on the same team! They will be bringing the pain of a one-two punch. DiMarchi half won El Tour de Tucson Tandem. That’s like winning worlds to the Tucson community. He could rip it up. Chad Beyer is one of the classiest riders and will be making the right moves to win the road race.
On his goals/expectations:
I have no expectations but I will be putting the pressure on myself to figure out how to win this event overall. My TT is no where near where I expect to be, but I have been working tirelessly on that skill and this is great place to really push myself. It’s a great stepping stone for my goals later in the year.
Craig Streit (Stone House Group p/b Pro Bike)
First, we’re super excited to see the number of racers this year, the largest fields in recent years. The competition will be fierce. As with any stage race, we’ll evaluate the team’s situation after the TT. The TT results will determine if we’ll be defending a GC position or if we’ll be free to fly and chase individual stage results.
Reiley Pankratz (Canyon Elite Women’s Racing)
We are using VOS as an opportunity to get more experience racing bigger and stronger fields. Later on in the season we plan on racing a lot of the NRC crits and the VOS crit is a perfect warm up for those. It’s a technical course with a lot of really strong women racing. It is a little intimidating that Evelyn Stevens will be there but it is also pretty exciting too. Cycling is unique in that you get the opportunity to compete against the highest levels of riders and use it as an opportunity to see where you are at and what you can improve on. I don’t think that’s something you get in a lot of sports.