The eleventh CSC Invitational was held today in Arlington, Virginia. The NRC race is held on an always fast 1 kilometer course that starts up with a tough uphill drag to the top of Wilson followed by sharp left and after fast turns on the back side, the riders round the last turn for a short rise back to the start/finish line. And the riders repeat for 100 laps.
For both the men and the women’s races, the name of the game was a breakaway.
While in most previous editions, the men’s race ended in a bunch sprint, we have also seen the finish come down to a break sprint like in 2005 when Ivan Dominguez took the win. But this year we had a variation on the theme, with a break lapping the field and getting a full lead out train battle to the finish line.
Big Maggie Backstedt (Slipstream) wasting no time in launching his attack, he went on the first lap and (small) Luca Damiani (Colavita/Sutter Home) jumped quickly on his wheel, and the pair was off. This break looked good, so eleven more riders bridged up. Roger Hammond, Vincente Reynes Mimo (High Road), François Parisien (Team RACE), Luis Amaran (Colavita/Sutter Home), Ben Brooks, Chris Jones (Team Type 1), Bernard Van Ulden, Brad Huff (Jelly Belly), Karl Menzies (Health Net-Maxxis), Russ Langley (Battley-Harley Davidson) and Dominique Rollin (Toyota-United) joined the duo and that was all she wrote for the field.
With 40 laps to go, the break lapped the field and the preparations were on for a bunch sprint. By the comments on the race reports, the Pro Tour teams were surprised by the tactics after a break succeeds at lapping the field.
In the final laps, the battle of the lead out trains between Health Net-Maxxis and Colavita/Sutter Home was on, and the latter was successful. Italian Damiani crossed the line first with Canadian Rollin slotting himself into second, and Menzies was third.
Rollin was riding solo, with no team support, no mechanic, no soigneur. He drove himself to Arlington to get more training into his legs before the big 3 races of Philly week. “Even though, I was taking this race as a training, it was a difficult event. I think that of the 200 starters, we were only about 50 to finish.” said Rollin. What a stud.
Bad luck for Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) who bashed his cleat and pedal directly on a curb. Huff is showing great form since coming back from knee problems starting with Joe Martin. Let’s see what he can do this coming week.
In the past 5 years, the women’s race has come down to a break sprint four times, and this year was no different. While the pre-race favorites, Laura van Gilder (Cheerwine) and Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) were in the field, their teammates Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine), Andrez Dvorak (Colavita/Sutter Home) went up the road after about 30 minutes of racing. Joining them was Lara Kroepsch (ValueAct), and under the impetus of Cheatley, the trio was never caught.
Earlier this year, New Zealander Cheatley underwent an operation to enlarge a vein in her left thigh, and has been showing good form on her return. She is hoping that her results – second at Athens Twilight crit, two second place and one third place finishes at Joe Martin Stage Race – will get one of the two spots open for the road race.
Full results: usacycling.org
Report and photos: cyclingnews, velonews.
Photos from blacknell.net, Tom Evans.
Team Reports: The women of Colavita/Sutter Home
My interview earlier this year with Dom Rollin – Bring it on, part 1 and part 2.