Rally Cycling’s Brandon McNulty finished fourth on the sixth stage of the Amgen Tour of California on Friday. The result is an incredible one for the 20-year-old rising star, coming on the steep, high altitude ascent to Lake Tahoe. After dangerous splits shook up the overall standings, McNulty relied on this teammates to deliver him in a position to contest the podium. It was up to McNulty from there, and the Phoenix native went toe to toe against some of the world’s best climbers in the thin mountain air.
The front group split with 15 km to go under the pressure of Team Sky and his teammates, set to protect the young climber’s hopes in the overall, provided a steady hand. Rob Britton led the efforts, dragging McNulty back into contention after the dangerous split. In the run-in to the final climb, McNulty split the front group himself with a perfectly timed, powerful attack, finishing fourth behind stage winner Egan Bernal (Team Sky).
“I felt pretty good all day,” said McNulty. “Rob Britton is one of the best riders at altitude so when the group started to split up the final major climb, he kept me calm and close to the leaders. I could see them over the crest and I punched it across on the descent.”
After battling with each other on the day’s major climb, the WorldTour riders started looking at each other and McNulty didn’t hesitate.
“When I caught them inside the final 10 km, we kind of played around a bit and I attacked. I had the legs to go and it’s probably the best result of my career so far so I’m pretty happy. The team was amazing today.”
The 196 km stage started in Folsom and climbed into Eldorado National Forest. With seven KOM climbs on the day, the climber’s competition was wide-open. The team sent Evan Huffman up the road in hopes of repeating his 2016 KOM classification winning performance. In a battle that will not soon be forgotten, Huffman went toe-to-toe with stage three winner, Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo). Unfortunately, the breakaway was caught with two climbs remaining and Huffman missed out by one point in the climber’s competition.
After the team’s move to the Professional Continental ranks this winter, today’s result was a huge step in the team’s progression.
“The way that the team has ridden this week has been spectacular,” said Team Director Pat McCarty. “Rob rode phenomenally well to keep Brandon in contention. This isn’t a small race for these WorldTour teams and they come prepared. We did the same and showed that we were one of the strongest teams in the race.”
Tomorrow’s stage starts in Sacramento and heads west for 143 km. Ty Magner will be the protected sprinter as the team will also look after Brandon McNulty’s GC position.
Stage 6 results
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 5:30:58
2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:28
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:30
4 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:01:33
5 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:01:38
6 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:45
9 Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:46
10 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:01:50
General classification after stage six
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 22:26:40
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:25
3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:02:14
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 0:02:16
5 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:28
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:03:01
7 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling 0:03:28
8 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:03:50
9 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:59
10 Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:01
Mountains classification after stage six
1 Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo 34 pts
2 Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 33
3 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky 26