Evan Huffman racked up two consecutive victories this weekend at the San Ardo Road Race and the University Road Race, the fifth and sixth race of the CalCup series.
“Pretty nice, back to back wins. The form is definitely really good.” smiled Huffman after his victory on Sunday. “I’m actually doing the Tour of China in September with the National team so I’m pretty excited to get ready for that.”
Huffman will be leaving for China for 11-days of racing in early September for his second stint with the USA U23 National team this year.
But first, the 21-year old is focusing on the 11-race CalCup series which he now leads.
“I think I have a pretty solid lead at this point so it should go well.” he said. Coming into the fifth race, Huffman was sitting second, at only one point down. It now bodes well for the overall.
Huffman continued, “Next weekend, Winters Road Race and Vacaville Gran Prix should be fun, and then the following weekend, Challenge will be really hard and the time trial at Esparto. Hopefully I can get a lot of points at those two but I think next weekend will be fun racing with the team and maybe working for the other guys.”
Huffman along with six CalGiant teammates lined up for the San Ardo Road Race on Saturday morning. After aggressive racing of the first laps around the 22-mile loop of flat and rolling country roads in Monterey County. By the fourth and final lap, the bunch sprint seemed inevitable.
“We had (Sam) Pickman and (Keith) Miller riding tempo on the front.” Huffman explained, “All five of us were right in the front, we were going to set up for Chris Stastny for a sprint.”
But then an attack by a lone rider spoiled the plan. “I jumped with him, got on his wheel, looked back and we had a big gap so I just started working with him really hard because it was only a couple of miles to go and we had a good gap. I just started riding harder and harder, the more it looked like it would stay away, I kind of just rode him off my wheel, I guess he was tired, so the last few minutes I was solo and was able to hang on for the win.” Huffman said.
Chris Stastny took fifth.
On a foggy and drizzly Sunday morning in Santa Cruz, the team set out to get more points for Huffman. While he rested in the field, his teammates covered attacks for the first five laps around the 3-mile loop until Jared Barrilleaux was off the front solo with 14 laps to go. The next lap, Huffman bridged across to his teammate.
“A couple of guys put on some pretty hard attacks and I just saw a good opportunity to counter it and it worked out. I got a gap and they just let me go.” said Huffman.
A third rider, Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Strava) made his way across. “He caught on right on the top of the hill and I had attacked right at the start/finish. So then there was the three of us.”
For the next laps, Barrilleaux did the bulk of the work to push the pace but once the break was firmly established, all three worked well together.
The games started with two laps to go. “I really wasn’t too keen to wait until the last lap to sprint, but I didn’t want to attack too early and work over Jared and leave him by himself for a number of laps.” Huffman said.
The trio was still together with one lap to go. “I attacked, Justin was able to follow me. I put in a couple of attacks and I wasn’t able to get rid of him so then pretty much the whole last lap I just sat on him, he opened the sprint up a couple of hundred meters and I was just barely able to get around him. It was a really hard sprint, he was stronger than I expected.”
Huffman came around Rossi to take the win. Barrilleaux held on for third.
Covering an attack a few laps earlier, James Mattis made his way into a chase group and finished fifth.