At this point the stories have all been written on how a young and talented wildcard team shook California with an earthquake-like impact, and in the process earned them the road racing respect from any last remaining holdouts. Aboard their Felt race bikes, the band of brothers from South Carolina known as Hincapie Racing came, saw, and conquered the 2015 Amgen Tour of California with the heart and panache of the very best.
After a predictable flat Stage 1 sprint finish, Hincapie Racing's epic journey truly began with Robin Carpenter’s Stage 2 all-day break with three other riders that, while ultimately absorbed by a charging peloton, earned Carpenter the Best Young Rider jersey.
The following day during the race’s first real test of climbing on Stage 3, young Toms Skujins of Latvia threw caution to the wind and went at it alone for over 50 kilometers to take a thrilling solo win, the biggest of his career. It was a performance for the ages and one which can ignite a career in a hurry. It put Toms in yellow and the overall lead.
The following two days, on Stages 4 and 5, the entire Hincapie team worked like clockwork at the front to cover any threat and protect Toms’ yellow jersey. It was pro racing at its finest as the team answered the bell rang by the World Tour-laden field. While yellow was ultimately lost in the Stage 6 time trial, and the following climbing day up California's iconic Mt. Baldy blew the race to pieces, the victory that came with their invite had long ago been realized.
On the final day, Stage 8, a four-man breakaway including both Hincapie's Oscar Clark and Joe Lewis made things quite interesting. While it all came together in the end, his work throughout the day earned Oscar the stage's Most Courageous Rider jersey. For the team, the entire Tour was a defining race and enough cannot be said for how Toms, Robin, Oscar, Robin, Joe, Andzs Flakis, Joe Schmalz, Dion Smith and Ty Magner all raced. In the end, only three teams won stages. To say everyone at Felt Bicycles is proud is a gross understatement. What a race. What a performance. What a team. Well done, Hincapie Racing.
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