Eight California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized riders will contest the Cascade Cycling Classic, July 15-20, in and around Bend, Oregon. In good form and with morale high, the Berries are going in with a focus on getting on the podium at the final stage race of the 2014 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC).
The California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized roster is Stefano Barberi, Robin Eckmann, Yannick Eckmann, Colin Joyce, Tobin Ortenblad, Justin Oien, Torey Philipp, Benjamin Swedberg and Benjamin Wolfe.
Benjamin Wolfe and Tobin Ortenblad became a two-man wrecking crew, claiming the top two spots at two Northern California races this weekend. On Saturday, at the California Giant Berry Farms headquarters in Watsonville, Wolfe took first and Ortenblad second at the 37th Annual Watsonville Criterium. On Sunday, the roles were reversed with Ortenblad taking the win and Wolfe second at the Lodi Cycle Fest. In both cases, the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized riders rode in the break all day.
“It was a blast, it was a really good weekend.” Wolfe said with a laugh. Their plan for the weekend was simply to “ride our bikes really fast.”
Benjamin Wolfe goes to front after lapping the field at Watsonville Criterium
The California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized team is splitting up once again this Saturday July 12 to take on two criteriums, the Andersen Banducci Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho and the 37th Annual Watsonville Criterium in Watsonville, California.
Five Berries will travel to Boise, for the Andersen Banducci Twilight Criterium, the 12th event the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and the eighth event of the USA Crits Series. Starting at 8:15 pm, the men will race for 90-minutes under the lights on a four-corner rectangular course in Downtown Boise. Colin Joyce placed eighth at the 2013 race.
Racing cohesively as a team, the California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized riders were well positioned at the Under-23 Criterium at the USA Cycling Amateur National Championships until a crash derailed their hopes of a title on Sunday evening. With one lap to go, Tobin Ortenblad crashed out while his leadout man Benjamin Swedberg narrowly avoided the chaos to finish 13th in a bunch sprint in Madison, Wisconsin.
“We played the plan to the T, Benny was setting up Tobin who got taken out on the second turn on one to go. Somebody put him into the curb and that was it.” said Team Manager Anthony Gallino. “Benny made it through. Tobin went down, tore himself up but he’s alright. He’s more angry than anything.”
“It was disappointing. Last year, we went a little early and kind of blew up and this year, we were patient, rode a few breaks. The guys rode awesome and the plan was with three to go to set it up and we did it and it’s one of those things that happens in racing.”