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Jeremy Vennell - Most Courageous Rider
May 15th, 12. Kiwi Jeremy Vennell told RoadCycling.co.nz he was honoured to receive the Most Courageous Rider jersey following his breakaway in Stage 2 of the Tour of California.
The 2012 Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous Jersey is awarded each stage to the cyclist who 'best exemplifies the character of those engaged in the fight against cancer – courage, sacrifice, inspiration, determination and perseverance.'
"It's an honour, I'm pretty stoked," Vennell told RoadCycling.co.nz while in transit to the hotel for the night.
It is his first Tour of California jersey in four editions of the week long race.
Vennell (Bissell Pro Cycling) was awarded the jersey for his perseverance – he was involved in a couple of the earlier moves before driving the main break of the day and being one of the last guys left in the move.
The Kiwi was in the break with five others. They managed to slip free 30km in to the race establish a 10min margin.
"We rode pretty conservatively along the coast but there will still a bit of headwind and crosswind all day. When we turned off for the big climb it was all on for there – it was pretty brutal!" Vennell explained.
"It was a long climb, it was relentless. Every corner you went round you saw it was going to be the end of the climb – but there would still be 5km to go."
The 16km Empire Grade climb (after 112km of racing) caused fragmentation in the break, with Geniez the strongest, staying solo out the front. Vennell and White fought for as long as possible before being caught by the peloton.
"I'm quite tired now, but still feeling pretty good. I rolled in with a good bunch about 13min back, trying to save the legs a bit – not that I could have probably stayed with the front group anyway!" Vennell joked.
Yesterday's stage around Santa Rosa, Vennell's home base in the US, was a highlight for the 2009 NZ TT Champion.
"That was one of the highlights. Having all of my friends and family at the start, and riding on your home turf. I know every inch of the road – it was awesome, one of those experiences that you don't get very often."
The Tour of California has been a success for the Bissell Pro Cycling team so far, with a team member been present in each break, and Ben Jacques-Maynes winning the most aggressive rider yesterday.
"It's been a huge success for the Bissell Pro Team so far – we've been on fire. We have featured in every break so far and we would like to keep that as a tradition – being the most aggressive team in the tour. Hopefully I will have some good recovery and I might try again one of these days."
Not all the Bissell team had a great day today though. Patrick Bevin, the second Bissell Pro Cycling Kiwi, had a day to forget and was disappointed to finish outside the time cut.
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