Skujins erases memory with win in Laguna Seca

Winner

Last season Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) produced one of the scariest moments in pro cycling.

After a hard crash while out front in a breakaway in the Tour of California, Skujins stumbled to his feet, staggering across the road toward his bike, like a tequila drunk as the speeding peloton ripped downhill toward him.

He could barely keep his feet, his brain and body trying to accomplish one primal task: re-mount bike, keep riding. He was nearly hit several times as the racers sliced past him on the right and left side. It was a miracle he didn’t cause a dramatic pileup and also injure himself even more severely. Fans held their breathe, it was disturbing.

After somehow getting back on his bike, he weaving slowly and erratically down the road before his team car pulled up, stopped him and took him out of the race. He had a broken collarbone, a serious concussion and road rash. It was a slightly terrifying thing to watch for thousands and thousands of cycling fans.

Today on stage three of the Tour of California from King City to the Laguna Seca Raceway erased the memory with a thrilling and well-deserved solo victory. He bridged up to what was left of the breakaway along with EF Education First-Drapac’s Logan Owen. Hagens Berman Axeon’s Sean Bennett managed to join the mix later.

Skujins kept hammering as he led Bennett into Laguna Seca and up the short but painfully steep climb to the race track. Then it was a quick tear down the corkscrew curves, barely keeping the peloton at bay. The Latvian gave it a wild and enthusiastic celebration as he rolled across the line, three seconds ahead of Bennett. Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) would out-sprint the bunch for third place, eight seconds back.

“It’s brilliant. It’s not my first win back since the crash, which is even more surprising, but California has always been special to me just because of that first win with Hincapie [team], and having the leader’s jersey for a couple of days, and then suffering so badly and blowing up on the last day,” said SKujins. “But I definitely wouldn’t have believed it if someone said I would win this year again – even if it was me.”

His winning time was 4 hours, 52 minutes and 47 seconds. That’s how long it took him to completely erase a terrible memory.

 

 

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