Friday, 24 June 2016

American rider Brandon McNulty has won 29th edition of Trofeo Karlsberg. Ethan Hayter from Great Britain finished second while McNulty's team mate Ian Garrison was third.

The riders faced traditional route with three road stages and the crucial time trial on second day of racing. The first stage from V├Âlklingen to Herbitzheim was already a heavy test as riders faced wet roads and thunderstorms on the road of Saarland state in southwestern Germany.

We had a move of three riders just before the first bonus sprint. Matteo Jorgenson from US team took off together with Ziga Horvat from Slovenia and Alfred Wright from Great Britain. Behind them a group of eight riders formed with Brandon McNulty. The three leaders managed to keep a minute gap over the peloton and the chasers was finally swallowed by a peloton.
Stage one profile (photo:
 With no more then 30 kilometers from the finish we had a group of around 50 riders in the main peloton while the leading trio was also caught. Once the peloton was grouped we had another move on sever riders incudling McNulty again but also Ethan Heyter, Michel Ries and Matus Stocek but the peleton didn't let them go too far and despite several attacks in the final kilometers the stage finished with a slightly uphill bunch sprint won by Gerben Thijssen from Belgium. Matus Stocek from Slovakia was second while Ziga Horvat took third. 51 riders were left in contention for the overall title finishing in the front group.

Gerben Thijssen wins the opening stage (photo: Peter Melchior)
The second stage was clearly the easiest one with just one climb and the distance of 79 kilometers. The stage around Homburg ended with a bunch sprint and Gerben Thijssen has won again, this time beating two guys from GB: Fred Wright and Ethan Hayter.

Thijssen narrowly beats Wright on the line (photo:

In the evening we had a 16,9km long time trial from Rimling to Rubenheim which was clearly the crucial stage for the whole race. Brandon McNulty took an impressive win with 46 seconds gap over Ethan Hayter and took the leaders jersey. Ian Garrison was third, 1:14 back. Previous race leader, Gerben Thijssen finished 44th, almost three minutes back.

The three best riders in the time trial also took top three spots in the GC. Before the final stage McNulty leads the GC 44 seconds ahead of Ethan Hayter and 1:16 on Garrison.

Stage three profile (photo:
The final stage around Reinheim was again a lumpy one with three climbs waiting for the riders. Rico Brucker from Germany decided to go solo and managed to reach over a three minutes gap over the peleton. Behin him, the US team was able to control the field and didn't let any of their main rivals in the GC to get away. Finally Brucker was caught close before the finish on second lap (from three). We didn't have to wait long for another attack as Jakub Otruba from Czech Rep took off and was let by US team to gain a little gap. With around 10 kilometers to go Otruba was caught and we were heading to another bunch sprint.

Matus Stocek wins the final stage (photo:

First year junior Matus Stocek from Slovakia was the fastest. Ziga Jerman took another podium spot for Slovenia while Niklas Markl from Germany , another first year junior, finished third. Brandon McNulty finished safely in the bunch and sealed the overall win.

Brandon McNulty wins the GC (photo: USA cycling juniors)
I have spoke to Brandon after his win and asked him to share his thoughts from three days of racing in Germany:

In the first Stage we tried to race very aggressive and were able to split the field a few times, only to have it all come back together. It eventually came down to a field sprint and I finished with the lead group. Stage 2.1 we had a rider in the break all day so it really took the pressure off of us to chase so we were able to stay fresh for the TT later in the day. For the time trial I felt great and was able to establish a large gap and also had a teammate in third which was great. Stage 3 was all about defending and the team road amazing at the front to keep it all together! Getting this victory meant a lot to me, especially after Tour du Pays de Vaud where I didn't get quite the result I was hoping for. It's always great to win, but even more special when it was a real team effort like this one was!
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