Astellas Oncology Team p/b ABD Report: ToAD

The team racing at the Tour of Dairyland displayed grit and dedication. In early April, the team kicked off the season competing in the grueling Tour of Battenkill. Since then there has been no break as the team consistently obtained results and gained experience by racing a rigorous schedule.

The Tour of Dairyland marked the last series of races before the team took a mid-season break. Tired legs were excited for a deserved rest. At times like this it is easy for racers to mentally check out. Yet, the boys displayed their ability to focus. The first night in Sheboygan, the team shook out the legs and got back into action, ending with Brandon placing top-20 in the field sprint. The following night, in Fond du Lac, the team stayed aggressive and learned some hard lessons from expending too much energy early on. Determined to stay focused and get a result, the team designed a game plan for the most important and prestigious Tour of Dairyland criteriums: Downer Ave.

An hour before the race, the team gathered together and discussed the plan, where each rider would have a specific role: Zach, Andre, Matt, and Bryan would stay aggressive early on, making sure to cover every attack and stay up front in the thick of it. Brandon would conserve energy for the sprint and Dan would conserve energy for a late attack to take pressure off the team, thus allowing the Astellas boys to form a lead-out train for Brandon.

By far the fastest and hardest night of racing, with a massive Milwaukee crowd buzzing full of energy and well “lubricated”, Downer Ave was flooded with festivities. And the team followed their game plan exactly. Aggressive tactics equaled an Astellas jersey in every move. Andre even positioned himself for the gamblers prime, narrowly missing out in the sprint for $6,500.

Directly after the gamblers prime, with 16laps to go, there was a huge attack by two of rides favored to win. Dan quickly recognized this was a dangerous move and joined a breakaway of nine riders. As Dan and the breakaway gained more and more time, Andre, Zach, Matt, and Bryan surged to the front of the pack to position Brandon for the sprint. On the last lap Dan sprinted against heavy hitters and came out 5th overall. Back in the field, Brandon and Matt had a solid run, both placing top-20 and in the money. These solid results came purely as a reward from the aggressive and cohesive teamwork.

After the big success at Downer’s Ave, the team carried the focused momentum into the last race on Sunday in Madison. The team pushed hard, despite the now very tired legs, determined to finish the races on a high note. Racing around the Wisconsin State Capital building, Andre nabbed a big money prime and Brandon led out Zach and Dan who both finished top-20 and in the money.

Enough can’t be said for the focus and commitment these Astellas boys had to stay competitive after a long season of racing. They can now all rest easy and recuperate knowing every one of them did their job and performed as a team. For a first year team, Astellas Oncology has clearly shown they are force to reckon with. Stay tuned for more results sure to come during the second half of the season.

Thanks for the support
Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD

Astellas Oncology Team p/b ABD Report: Nationals

This year the US Elite and U23 Cycling National Championships were held in Augusta, Georgia which is more known for being the home of the Masters Golf Tournament. Although for this one week everyone in town welcomed the cyclist and knew what was going on as this was the towns second time hosting the event.

The Astellas Oncology p/b ABD Cycling team members partaking in the races were Nick, Dan, Bryan, and Jake in the elite races and Andre, Brandon, and Zach in the Under 23 events. The first race was the time trial and the only team members racing were Nick and Dan. Both went out and put out great efforts. Held on a rolling course in very warm conditions both were able to place in the top 20.

The following day were the criteriums. First up was the 80km Elite Men’s event held in the middle of the day under very warm conditions. All members raced near the front of the 144 rider field. A late crash took down Jake, but Bryan was able to keep pace near the front and finished in the top 25.

Later in the day was the Under 23 event. They young guys really put on a show. The racing was super fast laps consistently coming in under 2 minutes on the 1 mile course, which is over 30mph average speed. A lot of riders in the race fell off the pace early on, while Brandon, Andre, and Zach were able to keep up front and in the heat of the action. Brandon once again showed he was on great form by finishing in 13th place. He has 2 more years in this category to improve on this great placing.

The following day the Under 23's were the first to take to the 104 mile road race. Once again the heat was a big factor in the race. Unfortunately an early mechanical took Andre out of the race leaving the Astellas guys with just two riders. The field blew apart under early pressure into many small groups. Brandon and Zach both made it into groups that finished the race which was good as only a small amount of the race actually finished.

The last event was the Elite Road Race Championships. The race started off fast and aggressive with a group of 12 forming off the front after the first of 7 laps. The team saw this as a threat and Dan tired to get across. After not making it he took Jake to the front on one of the bigger hills on the course and Jake bridged across with 3 other riders. The 15 rider group would ride much of the race off the front only a minute or two from the field. Some more riders would bridge later on, but coming into the last lap 3 riders shot off the front. Then on the last lap the remaining break away riders would be caught by the field. From there Jake, Dan and Bryan did what the could to try help bring back the 30sec gap unsuccessfully and finished in the group 17second behind the winners.

The team didn't come away with any medals or jerseys but they put themselves into position in the race to have a chance to win and that is more than half the battle. You can't win till you are able to put yourself in a position to win.

Thanks for the support
Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD

Team Report: Quad Cities to Mount Pleasant

The team had very busy, but very successful, several weeks starting with four big races in Iowa/Illinois Quad Cites over the Memorial Day Weekend holiday. First up was the Burlington Road Race where Jake Rytlewski soloed home to take the victory while Adam Kaye came in for a strong 12th place. In the Melon City Criterium, Brandon Feehery and Jake both finished in the top 20. The team finished the weekend strong with putting 4 riders in the top 20 in the Quad Cities Criterium led by Andre Vandenberg's 8th place finish.

The following week the team spent time up in the Chicago area as they were part of the Astellas Oncology booth at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual meeting held at McCormick Place. 

In between riding rollers at the booth, the riders raced in the Lake Bluff Criterium where Adam took 7th in the Cat 2 race and the Glencoe Grand Prix where Brandon won the Illinois State Criterium Championship.

Wrapping a couple of very busy weeks was the Le Tour de Mont Pleasant held in Michigan. It was a 3 day race that included a 4mile time trial, a 75 minute criterium and a brutal 120 mile road race. Jake took 6th in the time trial to start off the weekend. Then in the criterium the team rode very aggressive leaving many of the other teams to chase us down. However race came down to a field sprint where Brandon finished 3rd, Jake finished 4th and Kiwi Matt Gorter rounded out the top 10. 

In the road race, the team continued its aggressive strategy. Jake took his turn to attack and found himself in a 4 man group 30 miles into race. The rest of the team sat back and watched as other teams tried hard to chase them down. Jake won all the the KOM and Sprints while building a lead of over 5 minutes and riding his breakaway companions off his wheel, soloing to victory. Brandon came across next for the team in a solid 4th place finish. With the victory in the road race Jake also took the overall victory.

While most of the team was in Michigan, Dan was back home out west and competed in the Wenatchee Omnium where he was 2nd in the time trial, 4th in the criterium, and also soloed to the victory in the road race that featured over 6,000ft of climbing!

Thanks for the support
Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD