Aldo Ino Ilesic won his second stage in a row Sunday to cap a strong, but mixed week for Team Type 1 at the Tour do Rio in Brazil. In the team’s first foray into South America, Chris Jones finished second overall, 19 seconds behind Tomas Alberio (Trevigiani Dynamon Bottoli), while Ken Hanson finished second to Alberio in the final sprint classification.
“I’m proud of my result and how the team rode this week,” said Jones, who moved into second on GC when he was runner-up to Alberio in stage 1 from an 18-man break. “We were short-staffed with only five riders — while the rest of the teams had eight — so everyone had to step up and pull double duty. Our sprinters were protecting me on the big climbs and I was leading them out for the sprints.”
Jones maintained his overall position for the duration of the five-day, UCI 2.2 stage race. The talented all-rounder held his place through three sprint stages and finished with the leaders in the mountainous third stage on Friday. In his third year with Team Type 1, the result was arguably the top GC showing of Jones’ career.
The U.S. based Continental team expanded its schedule in 2010 as the program builds for a possible move to Pro Continental registration next season. Ilesic won stages at the Tour du Maroc (Morocco) and Vuelta Mexico Telmex earlier this year. When he fought a strong headwind to snag the top step in stage 4 Saturday, the Slovenian secured the team’s first win on the continent.
A day later, Ilesic, who recently completed a six-week block of training in Slovenia, led Hanson out as the peloton chased the remnants of a late breakaway. At the time, Hanson was within a stage win of the final sprint jersey; he’d worn the frock for three days as the second place sprinter in the race. Four race motorcycles and a bizarre run-in with spectators in the road blocked the Nature Valley Grand Prix stage 5 winner’s path, however, and Ilesic was able to squeeze through and pip the leaders at the line.
“There was kind of a confusion in the last two kilometers,” said Ilesic. “They (breakaway riders) didn’t expect the field to catch them so quickly and suddenly. All the motorbikes and stuff were all around. I could barely find a way through.”
Hanson crashed late on Saturday to lose his first shot at the green jersey. A day later he was disappointed at his personal results, but satisfied with how the team rode in Brazil. “I’ve never been more frustrated leaving a race,” he said. “Yesterday, I thought I was going to win but a guy knocked me off Aldo’s wheel when I wasn’t expecting it. I cracked my bike, tumbled on my back and scraped up my knee. That’s just how it goes. I’m really glad that Aldo won yesterday and today. As long as someone on the team wins, I’m happy.”
Director Vassili Davidenko said after Sunday’s stage that “this was really a successful trip. It was logistically tough, but successful and today was a great example of that.”
Team Type 1 serves the mission of raising awareness of the possibilities for those living with diabetes. Fabio Calabria and Joe Eldridge, both Type 1 diabetics, were on the team’s roster for Rio and Davidenko pointed to success for them on the road and in relation to the team’s mission. “We had a lot of attention for the Team Type 1 and its mission to raise awareness about diabetes,” he said. “Joe and Fabio did a good job and were especially useful in helping chase breakaways or get in breakaways and in the sprint finishes since we only had five riders.”
The team’s Rio roster will return to the States this week and Hanson and Ilesic will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the start of the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium Saturday. Ilesic finished second out of a late-race breakaway to David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) in Charlotte in 2009.