The fifth event of the USA Crits series, the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium was held last Saturday in West Chester PA. With leader Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) not participating in the race, it left the door wide open to move up to the top of the heap, and the Toshiba-Santo team took full advantage of the opportunity.
On the 10th lap of the 60 laps around the narrow roads that make up the 1-mile circuit through historic downtown West Chester, Toshiba-Santo’s Mark Hekman attacked and with his teammates blocking, he finally lapped the entire field with 20 laps to go.
“The race was sweet. The course there is my dream course. Super tight corners and half of the course was up hill.” said Hekman on his blog.
Last year’s USA Crits overall champion Frank Travieso (Toshiba-Santo) and David Guttenplan (Time Pro) escaped with 15 laps to go and would manage to stay away until the finish line and would duke it out for the final 2 spots on the podium. In the end, Guttenplan got second place and Travieso third behind the winner Hekman.
After points were counted, Toshiba-Santo’s Yosvany Falcon (who finished in the 10th place on the day) is now leading the series, Travieso moved up to second place and Adam Myerson (TIME Pro) now sits in third place. (Current series standings here).
The top of the leaderboard was also up for grabs in the women’s race as current leader Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine) also did not make the trip. Erica Allar (Aaron’s), Gina Grain (Webcor), and Vanderkitten’s Leigh Valetti were all aggressive but the race came down to a field sprint won by Laura McCaughey (Juice Plus/NC Racing) ahead of Sarah Caravella (Tibco). Canadian Grain (Webcor) finished in third place.
With her sixth place finish, Jennifer Wilson (Vanderkitten) moved up to take the lead in the series followed by Benjamin and Allar. (Current series standings here).
With six events remaining, the USA Crits Series now heads even farther north for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Tour de Gastown on July 16th. The 1.2 km Gastown course will see the field competing for more than $15,000 in cash prizes.