Robin Eckmann sent notice early that the only drama Sunday would be the ride for second place.
Eckmann hopped out early and eventually lapped the field with three laps to go, helping lock up a victory and a big day for the California Giant/Specialized team at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic men’s criterium in downtown Durango.
Eckmann’s brother and teammate, Yannick, finished second, while teammate Jesse Goodrich was fourth behind third-place rider Renan Maia, a Fort Lewis College cyclist.
On the third lap of the hour-long race through downtown Durango, Robin Eckmann decided to take off. By lap 13, he had a lead as big as 30 seconds.
“It all started out with Jesse Goodrich with an early move. That sort of brought up a fast pace at the beginning,” he said. “Also, I thought, ‘OK, that’s pretty hard right now.’ Normally when it’s like hard for me, it’s hard for the others. ... So I thought, ‘OK, that’s it. I’m going to try to lap the field now.’”
Eckmann captured a $100 prime and continued the charge through the horseshoe-shaped course, building his lead to 54 seconds, then 1 minute, 15 seconds. By the time the field was three laps from the end, Eckmann had caught them. At that point, it was his turn to return the favor for the help he received from his brother and Goodrich. He jumped to the front and helped pave the way for his teammates to score top-five finishes.
“We love the crowds at the crit, and in the crit, we work as a team. ... Always try to win the race, then after that, see what else we can do,” Yannick Eckmann said.
Part of the reason Robin Eckmann was able to build such a big lead so early was the help he received from the chase group. Goodrich and Yannick Eckmann did well to ensure that any members of the chase group who attempted to bridge the gap to the leader were tracked down and brought back to the pack.
All the while, Robin Eckmann continued his smooth, powerful romp through town.
“If somebody challenges, we jump on their back wheel,” said Yannick Eckmann, the younger of the two at 19 to Robin’s 21.
“The back and forth motion is eventually the key factor for the break to go away.
Kit Recca finished fifth, while road race champion Kip Taylor stayed in the omnium hunt with a sixth-place result. Jackson Long, Robert Chrisman, Aaron Canale and Michael Martin rounded out the top 10.
For the Eckmanns, Sunday marked quite a milestone. The brothers are becoming quite the force to be reckoned with at the IHBC, sweeping the criterium Sunday after Yannick claimed third and Robin sixth in the road race Saturday. And Yannick was second to Robin’s fifth in the 2012 road race.
“It’s awesome. Every weekend we have somebody else on the podium, and it just shows that we are having a strong team here in Colorado even though we’re based in California,” Robin Eckmann said.
Both brothers won $100 primes, so Sunday was a banner day.
Robin Eckmann also took home a guitar from Durango Guitar Works for his efforts. Before pulling his best Jimi Hendrix impression, however, he plans to start a bit smaller.
“I should probably start on Guitar Hero first, and then go from there,” he said, laughing.