Breaks 21 year-old record set by Andy Hampsten a former Giro d' Italia Winner

"Chepe" Garcia Wins Toyota of Stuart Cycling Classic

Toyota-United's Ben Day Wins Vail Pass Hill Climb for Team's 40th Win of the Season
Bend, OR- After seven weeks of pain and frustration due to his high-speed crash at this years Tour de Georgia, Ben Day finally turned the corner by winning the famed 9.8 mile Vail Pass Hill Climb in a record pace of 25:48, beating the old course record by 45 seconds set by Andy Hampsten in the 1987 Coors Classic. "I spent five days last week in Durango with a teammate's chiropractor who helped me get my full pedal stroke back and I have to say it felt great to not ride with pain for once". Day continued, "There was definitely a tailwind, but I guess you have to take what the course, gives you and today, it happened to be in my favor for a change".

Day's Teammate Chris Baldwin was second place in a time of 26:29 also besting the record by 4 seconds. For Baldwin, this is a good sign of the form he is building after what's been a slow start to his season by his own standards.

Back in Stuart, Florida, "Chepe" Garcia and Justin England bathed in the hot June sun typical of the Toyota of Stuart Cycling Classic held each year by John Pierson's Toyota. Toyota-United riders look forward each year to attending this race as Mr. Pierson hosts the riders and a first class bike race.

After placing 3rd and 5th place in Saturday's opening criterium, John Pierson sat down with "Chepe" and Justin to express how important it was to him that they win Sunday's race sponsored by his company. Chepe and Justin regrouped and feeling the pressure, came out firing on all cylinders Sunday with Garcia lapping the field with four others riders and then out sprinting his breakaway companions in the finale for what was his 3rd victory of the season. According to Garcia's account, Pierson was ecstatic of the teams win and could not have been more delighted to see a Toyota-United rider win his race.

Earlier in the week, the Toyota-United team competed in the famed "Philly Week" which consists of three races in the Philadelphia tri-state area. The first race was held at a new course in Allentown where the men raced 85 miles on an undulating circuit. Toyota-United rider's road aggressively all day, attacking and covering moves in a race that averaged 28 MPH, but despite a last kilometer attack by Toyota-United strongman Dominique Rollin, the pack came in to a sprint finish and Team Captain Henk Vogels was 7th place.

The next race was a 74 mile difficult course with a very steep one kilometer climb that pushed all the racers to the limit each lap. Toyota-United's Caleb Manion and Dominique Rollin were in a breakaway of 15 riders with 8 miles to go, but the group was simply too big and came back near the end. Then it was Oscar Sevilla from Rock Racing showing his true world class talent and form riding away from his remaining three breakaway companions to win solo for his team's first big victory of the season on US soil.

Sunday's Philadelphia International Classic is considered by most cycling aficionados to be the most prestigious one-day race in America. The race is in downtown Philly covering 156 miles in what this year could best be described as a sauna. With temperatures holding at 99F for most of the day with humidity above 65%, the riders faced a daunting and downright scary challenge.

The race had its usual early breakaway that consisted of seven riders this year and lasted out front four hours before the peloton caught them. Then the real race began with attacks coming every lap up the infamous Manayunk Wall, a steep 250 foot, one mile climb that has pitches of 17% gradient. Nearing the end of the race, Caleb Manion covered several moves to make sure Toyota-United has representation at the front. Then when that move came back, it was Toyota-United's Ivan Stevic the current UCI B World Road Champion who attacked on Lemon Hill to try and win solo as he did last July when he won the World title last July. But in the end, the heat was too much for all the riders and no one was able to make anything stick so the race came down to a field sprint as it has many years past. Although, Toyota-United has four of its original eight starters in the finale, the chaos that ensues in a field sprint and the high level of competition made it impossible for the red, white and blue train to launch themselves are their fans are so accustomed to seeing and Dominique Rollin was the teams highest place finisher in 8th place.

Next up is the Nature Valley Grand Prix where Ivan Stevic will attempt to defend his title from 2007. Racing begins tomorrow and concludes Sunday in and around the Minneapolis, MN area.

Photo courtesy of Dominique Taylor/Vail Daily