Spring is finally starting to warm up but the Aetna-Expo Category 3 team has been on fire. The team started racing in early March and the results have been rolling in. With great positioning by the team and active racing tactics the Aetna Expo team raced to the following results:
March 15 - Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series - 4th Place At the Bethel Connecticut race course the Aetna-Expo team began attacking the main field with Dave Well's long distance attempt in the first lap. In a small group Dave worked hard lap after lap to keep the pack behind him. Expo teammates Nick Willette, Mark Shea, Scott Kearney, Estebon Sequera, Aki Sato, Jeff Murray and myself (Stan Lezon) patrolled the front of the group to protect Dave's lead. As members of Dave's breakaway faded the counterattacks started from the main field. Mark and myself found ourselves covering the attacks which setup a perfect opportunity for a breakaway attempt. In the final laps Myself and another racer made a move that put us in the lead. We managed to hold the breakaway to the final lap where we got caught at the finish line. However our efforts were good enough to finish in 4th place.
March 22 - Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series - 2nd Place Back in action at Bethel Connecticut the Aetna-Expo team once again executed smart race tactics to control the peleton and launch a number of furious attacks. With Dave Wells, Nick Willette, Mark Shea, Aki Sato and Estebon Sequera patrolling the main field myself (Stan Lezon) and two other racers shot off the front of the main field and quickly gained a race winning lead. As the laps counted down all Aetna-Expo teammates covered any counter attack from the main field. Only the strongest riders in the breakaway would survive and as we saw two laps remaining the group had only two racers remaining. After the sharp climb the other rider put in a strong attack that left me chasing. I crossed the finish line in second place but I had taken the leaders jersey in the Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series.
March 29 - Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series - 1st Place, 5th Place Moving to New Britian Connecticut the Aetna-Expo team continued to build on our previous success. Wearing the yellow leaders jersey puts a target on our back and we knew we had to race smart. The team continued our aggressive tactics by attacking right away. As other racers continued to watch us carefully Dave Wells established a breakaway and I (Stan Lezon) was able to bridge up to the group a few laps later. With a large breakaway of nine racers established it was time to start thinning the group. A flurry of attacks lead to me and another racer building a commanding lead while Dave Wells, Nick Willette, Jeff Murray, Scott Kearney and Estebon Sequera patrolled the remains of breakaways and main group. With a few laps remaining myself and the other racer lapped the main field and settled in for the final sprint. Wait to the last moment I was able to launch my sprint from behind and take first place and increase our lead in the Aetna Nutmeg Spring Series. Dave Wells also finished strong in 5th place!
Stan Lezon, of Expo Wheelmen, raises his arm as he crosses the line for first place at the Ronde de Walnut Hill on March 29th.
Photo Credit: William Kurtz Photography
April 4 - Chris Hinds Criterium - 3rd Place Racing in Charleston Rhode Island the Aetna-Expo team faced a large field of competitors and mother nature. With the course still drying out and strong winds the racing was dangerous and everyone needed to be paying attention. As normal the Aetna-Expo teammates of Dave Wells, Nick Willette and myself (Stan Lezon) began our aggressive attacking style. I attacked with still 18 miles of racing to go and started a small breakaway group. The main field was watching and stayed close but as the wind continued ony the strongest riders would survive. With three strong competitors the breakaway continued to put time and distance behind them and with a few remaining laps the main field was lapped. Sprinting into the wind creates challenges and timing needs to be perfect. The other two racers from the breakaway started their final kick to the finish line early and left me struggling to make up lost ground. I passed the finish line in third place.