May 18, 2017 (Mt. Baldy, CA) – Canada’s Rob Britton showed he is one of the most daring riders in North America, animating the fifth stage of the Amgen Tour of California with a bold 40-kilometer solo breakaway that ended just five kilometers from the finish. His heroic effort set up teammate Sepp Kuss for a top ten finish and earned himself the stage’s Most Courageous Rider award.
“Today it was my job to get in the breakaway and take the pressure off the guys behind,” said Britton. “I went solo because the peloton was going to catch the break before the final climb and we didn’t want to give other teams the opportunity to counter attack. The squad has been fantastic all week. From day one we rode as a team, we knew our objectives, and everyone has remained focused. We rode with a plan today and delivered another top result.”
Though Britton’s ride was spectacular, it wasn’t a bid for personal glory. The team’s strategy was to deliver Sepp Kuss to the final kilometers with a chance for stage glory. The 22-year-old Kuss is one of the top climbers in North America with mountaintop wins on the Oak Glen climb at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Mount Megantic at the Tour de Beauce.
“Our plan was to get a few guys out front and let the race play out behind,” said Performance Manager Jonas Carney. “We wanted Sepp to have support on the final climb and put some pressure on the other teams. Everything went according to plan, but we just lacked the firepower at the end to get the stage win. Tenth place is a great result for Sepp in the Queen stage of a WorldTour event, and Rob’s ride was impressive. The blue jersey is a good takeaway from the day.”
By the time Britton was caught, the lead group was down to just 12 riders and among them was Rally Cycling’s climbing phenom. Kuss weathered several attacks before settling into his rhythm for the final three kilometers. He would cross the line tenth amongst some of the top climbers in the world.
“With Rob and Evan in the break, along with some other big names, the pressure was on Lotto, Bora and Cannondale to bring down the gap,” said Kuss. “It took the pressure off us back in the field and allowed me to conserve energy. Colin and Danny were incredible and kept me in position and got me to the base of the climb in good shape. We caught Rob with about 5 kilometers to go and then the attacks started. I didn’t have much left there in the end, I was kind of running on fumes, but when it’s steep like that, you can kind of grind into the hill, so it almost makes it easier to stay on the gas. I’m pretty satisfied, and Rob had an awesome ride and stuck it out until the bitter end.”
Bid on Rob Britton’s custom Diamondback Podium. The bike is up for auction online May 9 – 20, with 100-percent of the proceeds going to benefit the UHCCF. The UHCCF provides grants to families who need financial assistance to help pay for their children’s health care treatments, services, or equipment not covered, or not fully covered, by their commercial health insurance plans.