Milwaukee, Wis. — Rock Racing’s Sterling Magnell got a much-needed victory Saturday to pull within three points of the overall title at the Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic.
Magnell delivered Rock Racing’s second straight win at the Great Downer Avenue Bike Race by attacking on the final lap of the 62-mile (100 km) race. Last year, Kayle Leogrande won the race, which typically attracts huge crowds to the neighborhood race outside Milwaukee, Wisc.
“I pulled one out of the bag tonight,” Magnell said. “I was really marked, as I have been in pretty much every race. But I was feeling good and made some moves.”
No move was bigger than the 28-year-old’s attack on the final trip around the eight-tenths-of-a-mile course. It came on the heels of teammate Justin Williams’ sprint that won him a $7,000 crowd prime – believed to be the largest one-lap amount ever offered up in the history of racing in the United States – with two laps to go.
“Justin got a massive lead-out from Peter Dawson,” Magnell said. “My teammate, Rahsaan Bahati, won it last year (and) my goal today was to set up for it and win. And that’s exactly what I did.”
Magnell said he keyed off a concerted lead-out that was organized by nearly the entire squad of Kelly Benefit Strategies presented by Medifast.
“With half a lap to go I was sitting about 10 riders back,” Magnell said. “I put it in my biggest gear and attacked them and never looked back.”
The win was Magnell’s second of the 17-day series and closed the gap to Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team) in the overall standings with only Sunday’s criterium at Whitefish Bay remaining. Should the two be tied on points, Magnell would be declared the overall winner based on his two wins (to none for Cantwell).
Bahati will return to action Sunday after missing the past three races while attending a wedding. He trails Chad Hartley (Jittery Joe’s) by 18 points in the Bianchi Sprints competition.
“Everyone is tired but the race at Whitefish Bay will be easier to control,” Magnell said. “It will take a miracle, but sometimes miracles happen.”