Both men’s and women’s teams have to make some hard decision this weekend with multiple NRC races going on at the same time: the 3-crits/3-day Tulsa Tough in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup in Arlington VA. And then to complicate matter even more, the U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic also in Arlington, which is on the USA Pro Tour, is on for the men and the Montreal World Cup for the women. Why are all these scheduled on the same weekend? Also this weekend, are the Junior World Championship Trials in Nashville as part of the Edgar Soto Memorial Cycling Classic.
The 4th edition of the Tulsa Tough p/b The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis, 3 crits in 3 days with $150K in cash prizes – $75,000 for the pro/1 men and $39,000 for the pro/1/2 women – starts tomorrow, Friday May 29. The racing is comprised of 3 criteriums and an overall points omnium all part of the NRC for the first time, that fact combined with a nice payout should ensure some fast racing.
The series starts on Friday evening with the Blue Dome Criterium held on a challenging elongated figure-8 course. The eight 90-degree corner 3/4 mile (1.2km) course passes nearly every bar and club in the Blue Dome District, pretty convenient. The 55-minute women’s pro/1/2 race is scheduled for 7:10pm and the pro/1 men go off at 9:15pm CDT for 70 minutes. (course map)
The Brady Village Criterium, on Saturday is raced on an L-shaped course with 6 corners over 1.3 km (8/10 mile) in the historic Brady Arts district. The 60-minute women’s pro/1/2 race starts at 4:05pm and the 80-minute men’s pro/1 race at 6:30pm CDT (course map)
The third and last race, the technical Riverview Criterium, includes a short but challenging climb and right-hand hairpin curve in a residential neighborhood. The 60-minute women’s pro/1/2 race starts at 1:10pm and the 80-minute men’s pro/1 race at 3:25pm CDT (course map)
Weather has played a major part in past editions of the race, with thunderstorms and wind causing the shortening and cancellation of some races. Luckily this year, the weather forecast is calling for sunny conditions and temperatures in the high 80s/low 90s, with humidity hovering around 50%.
Last year, the now defunct Toyota-United with a 9-rider squad dominated the race with Ivan Stevic winning the omnium. Stevic, linked to Oil for Drugs case, has appealed his lifetime ban by the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) for use of a prohibited substance, possession of prohibited substances and illegal trafficking of prohibited substances – as far as I know there is no further news on this case.
Teams and riders to watch include Australian Crit Champ Bernard Sulzberger and Jon Cantwell of Fly V Australia, Heath Blackgrove of Team Hotel San Jose, USA Crit Champion Rahsaan Bahati, OUCH p/w Maxxis with John Murphy, Mountain Khakis, Jelly Belly and more.
Proman’s Shelley Olds who finished second last year while racing solo is returning and this time she brought teammates with her. Jen McRae who finished third overall last year is also back with a strong Team Type 1 team that includes Alison Powers and Kori Seehafer. Other teams and riders to watch include Laura Van Gilder (C3-Sollay), TIBCO duo of Meredith Miller and Kat Carroll, Stacy Marple (Colavita/Sutter Home), ValueAct, Lipsmackers, Vanderkitten, Jazz Apple and more. (See list of pre-registered riders on SportsBaseOnline).
The U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup, previously known as CSC Invitational, starts the festivites in Arlington VA, on Saturday May 30.
In its 12 years of existence, the race has come down both to bunch sprints and breakaways and its outcome is hard to predict but one thing is certain, the always aggressive race has a tradition of attrition with riders shelled off the back lap after lap. In the past 8 years, the women’s race has only come down to a field sprint once – will history repeat itself?
The riders will face the 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. Repeat for 100 laps for the men and 50 laps for the women.
The women 1/2 race starts at 10:15am EST and the men’s pro invitational is at 12:15pm.
The roster, for both races, is a who’s who in domestic cycling with a few international teams thrown into the mix. Previous winner of the CSC Invitational Luca Damiani is returning with his Colavita/Sutter Home team that includes 2008 AFCC winner Sebastian Haedo who just won the Tour of Somerville. Kelly Benefit Strategies will be counting on Zach Bell and Jake Keough for their finishing speed and DS Jonas Carney who won in 2003. Team Type 1 also has a previous winner calling the shots, Vassili Davidenko who won in 2002 will be looking to his riders Aldo Ino Ilesic and Ken Hanson for the win. Italian-based team, though registered in the US, Amore e Vita is making its first racing appearance this season led by Yuri Metlushenko and Volodymyr Starchyk.
Riders to watch include Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis) who has podiumed twice in the race, former US Crit Champion Kirk O’Bee (BISSELL), Tom Soladay (Mt Khakis), Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia) and Keven Lacombe (Planet Energy). Other teams present include BMC Racing, Rock Racing, Jet Fuel, Richmond Pro Cycling, Team Medscheme, Kenda Pro Cycling, Nordland Hamberg, Battley Harley Davidson, Danish National Team, DLP Racing and DC Velo. (See men’s rosters)
Update: cyclingnews reports that UCI once again enforced rule 2.1.009 which prohibits ProTour and Professional Continental teams from competing in national level events – which means no BMC and no Fuji-Servetto at the Clarendon Cup. And at all other NRC events this year if this continues.
Unfortunately, no women’s roster for the Clarendon Cup is available at the moment. Three-time winner Laura Van Gilder will not be present as she has elected to race at Tulsa Tough and that leaves the door open to a former winner Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Columbia-High Road). Also present will be current US Crit Champ Brooke Miller and her TIBCO team.
For the twelfth year, Montreal is holding a Women’s World Cup event, on Saturday May 30. The sixth event in the 10-event World Cup series is the only road cycling World Cup event to take place on the American continent. At midday, the women will face 11 laps of a 10km circuit with rough roads and the leg-breaking climb up Camilien Houde.
While the field will be missing 2007 winner Fabiana Luperini, World Champion and Olympic Gold winner Nicole Cooke, Kristin Armstrong, and current World Cup leader Marianne Vos, some big names will be present in the 121-rider peloton.
Last year’s winner and former World Champion Judith Arndt (Columbia-High Road) will make her return to racing in the Montreal World Cup in Canada following a period of almost eight months off the bike. Arndt broke her collarbone early in the season and then on her return race in Holland this Spring, she crashed and broke her wrist.
Other riders to watch include Tour de l’Aude winner Claudia Häusler and her strong Cervélo TestTeam including Regina Bruins who won a stage in Aude, American Amber Neben (Nurnberger) and Australian Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Belisol). Other teams present include Colavita/Sutter Home, Selle Italia Ghezzi, Team Uniqa-ELK, Team MTN Energade, Équipe Cascades-ABC Cycle and Specialized Mazda Samson. (Non-Official Start List)
And lastly, the Edgar Soto Memorial Cycling Classic (“ESMCC”) is a juniors only two-day event consisting of a time trial on Saturday, May 28th and a road race on Sunday, May 29th. The ESMCC has been designated by USA Cycling as one of the only domestic opportunities to qualify for the Junior Road World Championships to be held in Moscow, Russia August 7th to 9th, 2009. The 17-18 male and female winners of the road race and time-trial will earn an automatic nomination to the USA Junior World Championship Team.
Also, the Men’s 15-16 division only will be scored as an Omnium; and the winner will receive an invitation to the USA Cycling European race camp in Belgium during August 2009. (TT start times and Road Race startlist)