The current USA Elite Criterium Champion Daniel ‘Dholla’ Holloway (VMG/Felt) won the rain-drenched, slippery, stopped-for-tornado-warning, doesn’t-count-for-the-overall-GC, reduced-to-24-laps final stage in downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday to bring to an end the inaugural Tour of Pennsylvania. Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) finished second with Skyscraper Harlem Cycling Classic winner Erik Barlevav (TIME Pro Cycling) taking third place honors.
Québécois David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) won the overall classification with a 12 seconds lead. Second place overall went to Christoff Van Heerden of South Africa (Konica Minolta), and third place was taken by Brazilian Stefano Barberi (ZTeam) who was 18 seconds off of the leader.
Six laps into the scheduled 33 laps, the race was stopped by Pittsburgh officials when a tornado warning and heavy rains necessitated a pause and required thousands of spectators to take cover until the tornado threat had passed.
“We started the crit on dry roads, then there was a warning of violent storms. The organizers didn’t want to take any risks. The circuit was wet and it was becoming very dangerous.” said Veilleux. “The race was stopped for about 20 minutes and we knew that the results wouldn’t count for the overall general classification. We returned to the course for the television.”
Once safe to return, UCI officials announced that the results would be neutralized and that the stage prize money would be donated to charity. With the GC locked in, Veilleux decided to not take any risks. Not all riders returned to the race, the Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy from Belgium pulled its team and left.
But Eric Chabrot (PA Lightning) wouldn’t have missed the ‘the Slip’n Slide’ :
“I took the turn with the speed everyone else had but on a farther line on the outside. I squeezed my front brake and noticed my rear wheel beginning to lose its grip on the smooth bricks. At the last moment I braced for impact and took one last Slip’n Slide turn into the curb. Sweet, maybe they got that on television, I thought. I got up and pedaled to the finish line with the tear gone and a smile in its place.”
The VMG/Felt squad controlled the last 5 laps of the race, displaying the form that earned them the overall team GC for the entire week. And the team also rode away with 2 jerseys, Peter Salon won the best U21 classification, and Peter Stetina won the KOM classification.
Fifty-one seconds later, Veilleux and teammate Ben King safely crossed the line together for the biggest win of the 20-year old’s career. Veilleux also won the Sprint classification.
Keir Plaice (Team RACE Pro) was awarded the Most Aggressive jersey.
Fan photos from Stages 4-6