The best things in life are free
But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees
Now give me money (that’s what I want) ….
The richest 3-day cycling prize purse of $225,000 is on the line in the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove in Illinois starting on Friday August 1st.
No start list is avaliable but with $170,000 on the line for the pro men, we can expect strong representation from the teams. Last year’s overall winner, Nathan O’Neill tested positive for the stimulant Phentermine and is serving a 15 months for doping violation.
The stage race starts off with the 4.5 mile (7.2 km) Elk Grove Village Bank & Trust Pro Men Time-Trial with five turns, and a long straight away to the finish line (map) . On Saturday afternoon is the 105-mile (170 km) Citi Men Pro road stage which includes a 7.6 mile (12.2 km) loop repeated 10 times (map). The race ends on Sunday with the 68-mile (110 Km) Gullo Pro Men Criterium, where the men race 40 Laps of a 1.7 mile circuit with four turns, and a long straightaway to the finish line (map). The pace should be fast and attacks numerous in the final two stages as there as some serious primes on the line including sprint lines.
The only race for Elite Women is the Alexian Brothers Women’s Open with a purse of $3,000 – a 50 minute criterium on Saturday afernoon.
More money on the line in the 5th annual Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Charlotte Criterium is the only crit to be ranked at 1.1 in the National Race Calendar (NRC) for both the men and the women, is also part of the USA Crits Series and is the last stop on the 2008 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. This race also offers pro cyclists a chance to win some serious prize money in front of an estimated 35,000 enthusiastic race fans – the men’s purse totals $50,000 and the women will compete for $25,000.
The course is a 1.2-mile circuit in the shape of a barbell that includes a long straightaway and eight corners. There is a small hill on W. 5th Street and a long uphill grade along S. Tryon Street to the finish line.
The women start off first at 5:30 pm for their 25-mile crit followed by the men’s 50-mile twilight crit.
Both the men’s and the women’s 2006 and 2007 winners are returning. Hoping to return on the top step are 2006 winner Shawn Milne (Team Type 1) and 2007 winner Frank Pipp (Health Net-Maxxis). They’ll be facing competition from the overall USA Crits leaders Adam Myerson (Time PRO), TOSHIBA-Santo duo of Yosvany Falcon and Frank Travieso, Seth Hansley (Locos Grill & Pub), and Hilton Clarke (Toyota-United). Rock Racing, Colavita/Sutter Home Jittery Joe’s coming off from winning the overall at Superweek, and Texas Roadhouse are also teams to watch.
The current USA National Criterium Champion Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) is hoping to make 3 in a row. She’s have her work cut her for her against Kat Carroll (Aaron’s), criterium ace Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine) and her teammate Kelly Benjamin, Vanderkitten duo of USA Crits Series’ leader Jennifer Wilson and Leigh Valetti, Taitt Sato (ValueAct), Brooke Miller (Tibco), Laura McCaugheyTheresa Cliff-Ryan (JuicePlus) and (Verducci/Breakaway Racing). (Women’s roster here)
Sunday brings the second NRC race of the weekend, the Hanes Park Classic held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina since 1997.
The 90-minute men’s crit and 50-minute women’s crit is raced on a tree-lined 1.3 mile circuit around a park in Winston-Salem’s Historic West End neighborhood. The course includes rolling hills, straight runs, and an exciting uphill sprint to the finish.
No start list available, but I expect that most of the riders from the Charlotte Criterium will also be present on Sunday where Tina Pic will try to defend her title. Look for the Time PRO team to be particularly aggressive as they are based in Winston-Salem.