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