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Photo credit: Steven Hewick

Victoria’s Alex Amiri took the KOM polka dot jersey at the San Dimas Stage Race in California last weekend. The 23-year-old, who was riding for Vancouver’s Hewdog Racing is a prodigy of Pacific Cycling Centre out of Victoria. BC.

It was the first time that Amiri has competed in the iconic San Dimas Stage Race. The three-day race consists of a 6.8 km time trial, a 146 km road race and an 80-minute criterium. Stage two’s road race was Amiri’s focus with a goal of taking the KOM jersey. “I had been asking other riders who had done the race before how the race would typically play out, and all of them told me it would be a race of attrition, with the rider count slowly declining over the course of the race,” he recalls. “That is not how it played out. in the first five minutes of the race people were furiously attacking the group, trying to make a move get away. Even the riders in the general classification were attacking each other.”

Amiri knew he had to make his mark so within seven minutes of the start he initiated a breakaway with Ulises Castillo Soto, of Elevate KHS, and Cory Williams, from the Legion of LA. “The three of us worked well together, at one point opening a gap of three minutes on the peloton. We knew that once we had this gap, with less than a quarter of the race to go, that it was going to be the breakaway of the day.”

During the stage there were four KOM sprints, on laps 2,4,6, and 8. “With both Ulises, and Cory targeting the sprint points, I felt pretty good about leading our trio across the KOM, gaining maximum points on all but one sprint,” said Amiri.  With 25km to go Castillo Soto surged forward to take the stage win.

Amiri had the criterium the following day to secure the polka dot jersey. With Hewdog team mate Chris Ernst they rode a strong race breaking away with four laps to go. “With 80 meters remaining we were caught, but we managed to stay safe, finish the stage, and secure the KOM jersey for good.”

Amiri attributes his success to training in Tucson and the support of his team and coach. “I am so humbled by the outreach of my local cycling community back in Vancouver, as well as the hospitality of those around me in Tucson, not to mention the unconditional support I receive from my dad, and coach, Houshang Amiri.”

Coach Amiri runs a successful training centre in Victoria. The Olympic coach has trained greats such as Svein Tuft and Erinne Willock. “Victoria is one of the best places to train all year around especially in winter months. There is a rich history of world champions and pro-tour riders who developed their skills in Victoria. Our future champions need this environment to train and gain valuable race experience.”