To say Canberra cyclist Michael Rice and his teammates have had an emotional week would be a huge understatement.
Seven days after they lost beloved team member Chad Young to injuries sustained in a high speed crash during a race, Rice paid tribute in the most remarkable way.
Rice picked up his second win for the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team in the stage three City of Highland circuit race at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
The former Daramalan College student finished the 93.5 kilometre circuit in 2:05:19 and dedicated his second win of the season to Young.
"It has been a real emotional week," Rice said.
"A tough week for everyone. Not just in the team, but I think in cycling in general. So it was really nice to get the win for Chad today. He was a very close friend of mine, actually, so it definitely means a lot.
"The support for Chad has been enormous. It just goes to show how good of a person he was."
Young died after a crash during the final stage of the Tour of the Gila race in New Mexico aged just 21.
An emotional Rice was going to do all he could to honour one of his closest mates, and the whole team came together to do so.
With only five riders crossing the start line, Axeon Hagens Berman's roster was three below the maximum and the smallest of the 25 teams competing in the race.
"We were all in for the sprint today," Rice said.
"I was there and well-positioned by the team. We just kept calm and patient. On the last lap, we used a few guys down the back stretch to put me in the right spot and I had my lead out man, Christopher Blevins, who positioned me well on the climb."
Blevins was five seconds off the pace and finished eighth, with Rice crossing the finish line with arms raised in triumph to follow his win on the final stage of the San Dimas stage race in March.
Axeon Hagens Berman is considered one of the world leading development teams and Rice became the outfit's fourth rider to have won at least two races this year.
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