Pro racing to light up San Rafael this Saturday with serious firepower

Posted on 07. Jul, 2009 by in race

Fast racing under fading sun

Fast racing under fading sun

The men’s  pro/1/2  field is sold out for this Saturday’s 11th Annual  San Rafael Twilight Criterium. While not on the NRC schedule, some serious firepower is showing up to race in front of a crowd expected to be over 10,000 strong – and we’ll be there.

Taking it to the streets will be  2008 San Rafael Twilight Champion Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly), USA Pro Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing), Tour de Nez winner Chad Gerlach (Amore Vita Lifetime Fitness),  USA Elite National Criterium Champion Ken Hanson (Team Type 1), 2008 San Francisco Twilight Champion Dan Ramsey (Mountain Khakis),  Ben Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL Pro Cycling), Jackson Stewart (BMC) and lots more. (Complete start list not available yet)

As for the women’s race, uber-junior  and winner of the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix Coryn Rivera (ProMan Hit Squad) will be heating it up.  The TIBCO trio of Alison Starnes, Rushlee Buchanan and Alison Rosenthal will also be racing. Will post more names when I have them.

Bernard Van Ulden drives a 3-man break late in the race

Bernard Van Ulden drives a 3-man break late in the race

Taking place on a four-corner, eight-block radius course on the streets of downtown San Rafael, California,  the racing will be fast and furious as the riders juggle the corners under the fading sun.

Last year, Van Ulden made his move from an ever-dwindling break and held off Scott Zwizanski – then riding for the BISSELL squad – and two chase groups to claim the victory in front of thousands of cowbell-clanging fans lining the course. Fabrice Dubost (Webcor Alto Velo) won the three-up sprint for the third spot on the podium.

Helene Drumm takes the win in the womens race

Helene Drumm takes the win in the women's race

The winner of the women’s race also came from a break as Helene Drumm of the Proman team used the slight uphill on one side of the course to outride her breakmates taking the win. Her teammate Shelley Olds was second and Sarah Bamberger, then riding for the now-defunct Cheerwine Cycling team, was third.

Racing starts at 2:30pm with amateur categories and continues until the pros battle it out as the sun goes down. The event includes kids’ races, a large Expo and a Pro Athlete Village where spectators can collect signatures of their favorite racers.  The women’s pro/1/2/3 race starts at 6:40pm and the day ends with the men’s pro/1/2 race at 8:00pm.

There are still open spots in the women’s race.

Many of the same pros continue on to the inaugural Lodi Cycle Fest presented by Michael David on Sunday July 12th. Joining Manhattan Beach Grand Prix winner Bahati on the streets on Downtown Lodi will be Hanson and his Team Type 1 teammate Chris Jones, Daniel Holloway (Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin) who just returned from racing a 6 days in Italy. Stockton’s own Andres Gil (Delta Velo), a Lodi Unified School District teacher, is the local favorite and will be looking for a top spot among Bahati and Hanson.

Rahsaan Bahati wins 2009 MBGP

Rahsaan Bahati wins 2009 MBGP

Hanson finished third to Bahati a couple weeks ago at the MBGP and 2nd at the San Luis Obispo Criterium, so the racing should be fun to watch this weekend. The race  is run on an  0.8-mile (1.2km) figure-8 course with tight turns, good pavement and some brick and/or cobblestone.

The Lodi Cycle Fest will also feature a professional women’s race and several amateur races. This is the first cycling event of this magnitude to hit Lodi and the biggest for San Joaquin County since Tour of California’s Stage 3 start in Stockton back in February of 2007. Go check it out, the organizers have pulled out all the stops for this event including a wine garden.  The first race starts at 8am, with the 60-minute women’s pro/1/2 race at 2:05pm and the pro men go off last at 3:15pm.

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