The men lined up for at 9:30pm to race the 37-mile (60-km) USA Crits Finals criterium on a technical 1-kilometer course in a parking lot at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, held at the same time as the Interbike trade show. The racing was aggressive and fast as only 38 points separated Toshiba‐Santo’s Yosvany Falcon over Time Pro’s Adam Myerson in the men’s overall competition going into the final race.
Hilton Clarke and his two Toyota-United teammates Ivan Stevic and Sean Sullivan, took advantage of the cat and mouse games being played by the Toshiba-Santo and Time Pro teams to easily pull out the win. Aldo Ilesic (Blacksheep) was second and Myerson finished third.
“It feels amazing. Tonight was a really sketchy course and I have the best cornerer in the business with Ivan Stevic and he just looked after me the whole race and the word of the night was composure. I just really, in the last three laps, had to keep my composure, it was just crazy out there. So just in the corners, every time, I just gave a bit of distance, I really made sure I had that last corner though, everyone else I think on every corner could outcorner me but that last corner, I kept waiting for it and I kept watching it, going through it and knowing I could do it in that last corner.” said Clarke.
In a familiar refrain this year, Clarke is also looking for a contract as his Toyota-United team lost its sponsor.
With a similar course as last year, the race was again marred by crashes especially on the first tricky corner. So much so, that a crash occurred in the first corner on the first lap. And that got Clarke’s attention.
“When they fired that gun I got to the first corner in third place and a guy crashed in front of me so I never went further back than about tenth position the whole race just it was too hard to move up and I had two guys just looking after me the whole race, I never had to do a thing, I just had to finish it off. ” said Clarke about staying safe.
“I was near the front with three [laps to go] to go, Stevic rode from I think with three and half to go, he rode me in with one lap to go. [Ricardo] Escuela [Successful Living] jumped past me and then balked and the guy that came second jumped me in the back straight and that worked perfect for me, I just didn’t panic, keeping distance into the corner so I could take the last corner much better.” said Clarke.
USA Crits overall winner Yosvany Falcon (Toshiba-Santo) and a pre-race Adam Myerson (Time Pro).
By finishing seventh in the final race, Toshiba-Santo’s Yosvany Falcon was able to hold to win the overall USA Crits Series. Adam Myerson was second at only three points back. Seth Hansley (Locos Grill & Pub) was third. Toshiba-Santo also won the USA Crits Team competition over Time Pro, again with a 3 point lead.
“You know, it’s a long season, it’s a lot of races, I don’t win all that often but I’m in the top ten or in the top twenty in every race that I do and that’s what a series like this [USA Crits] is all about, I was there every weekend. You could go back in the results and look at all the little places where I… you know after leading out [teammate Eric] Barlevav in Harlem, I stopped to put my hands up instead of pedaling ten more feet, I lost five places and that would have won the whole thing for me. It’s little things like that but you can’t manage every point in detail. This course, it has to be one of my favorite criterium in the country, it’s really the coolest parking criterium I’ll ever do. The course is perfect for me, it rides like a cyclocross race, I never left the top fifteen guys all day long, it feels like play out there, I had a really good time in this race, I had good legs. ” said a dejected Myerson right after the race.