Owen Earns Mountains Title At Classica da Arrabida

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By Sean Weide
05 Mar 17

Miradouro de Palmela, Portugal - Logan Owen captured the "king of the mountains" title at Classica da Arrabida Sunday while teammate Eddie Dunbar was the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team's top finisher, in fifth place.

Dunbar overcame a crash and damage to his bike that left him unable to switch gears on the climb to the finish. The Irish Under 23 national time trial champion crossed the finish line only 19 seconds back of solo winner Amaro Antunes (W52/FC Porto). Sérgio Paulinho (Efapel) was runner-up and Andreas Vangstad (Team Sparebanken Sør) was third.

"I had the big ring and the smallest cog in the back - the 12 sprocket - which is not a great gear for climbing," Dunbar said. "Rui and Ivo Oliveira both waited for me and did a brilliant job of getting me back to the group. From there, the guys got me to the foot of the climb in fifth wheel and my legs were really good. So it was disappointing not to be able to finish it off for everyone. I probably averaged about 30 revolutions per minute the whole time up to the finish on the gravel roads and cobbles."

Owen made the most of pedaling his Specialized S-Works Tarmac nearly 140 kilometers at the head of the race. Winner of a stage of Volta ao Alentejo last month, the 21-year-old American was first over the top of all but the last of the five categorized climbs.

"The plan going into today was to help the guys because I have been sick the past two days," Owen said. "I didn't mean to be in the breakaway, but it worked out that I could help my teammates because they could sit in behind in the peloton."

From what was originally an escape group of six, Owen's climbing prowess quickly whittled the front group down until only Norwegian Trond Trondsen (Team Sparebanken Sor) was with him.

"The two of us worked together the last 70 kilometers," Owen said. "I would say he was stronger on the flats and I was stronger on the climbs. I just kept a good tempo for him on the climbs and he let me take the KOMs (king of the mountain prizes). There was no real organization once the group from the peloton came up to us. They were asking me to pull, but I knew the other guys probably had fresher legs. So I just followed as many attacks as possible before pulling the pin at the base of the last climb."

Axeon Hagens Berman Sport Director Koos Moerenhout said the late crash that took down three of the team's riders was unavoidable on the rain-slickened roads.

"We saw that we had a great team today, but we just had back luck," he said. "Fortunately, all the guys seem to be fine with no serious injuries."

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