Riding solo didn’t hamper Jelly Belly’s Brad Huff as he had the help of friends and old teammates to take the win at the Racine.org crit on day 17 of the Superweek 2009 extravaganza. Huff was part of a 6-man break that lapped the field with 39 laps to go in the 100k race on a figure-8 0.7-mile long course.
“The last lap, actually [OUCH-Maxxis] Karl Menzies, you know he’s just a great friend, we’re both here solo and he really helped me out, he got into great position, I was able to make it happen.” said Huff.
Garmin-Slipstream’s Ricardo van der Velde finished second with the assistance of two teammates, Mike Friedman who also made it into the break and Hans Dekkers.
“Mike and I were doing a lot of work, we kind of lapped the field pretty fast, that was pretty exciting. Hans let me good in the final and Mike was right behind me so I was surrounded by my teammates. I was never in trouble, it was perfect work, but I’m not a sprinter so it was hard for me to chose a good wheel but I had the best wheel. Some of the other sprinters came around me, took the inside and surprised me.” said van der Velde.
After being aggressive over the past week and half, Ronnie Strange of Hotel San Jose finally made it onto the podium for third place.
“I just want to thank my teammates, they usually tell me what to do, this is my first time on a podium, so it’s a very happy moment for me. ” said Strange.
Australian Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) took ownership of the yellow leader’s jersey on the first day and has been defending it ever since and has 244 points, shadowed by Dekkers at 28 points behind.
“It was pretty fast to start, big Hans was trying to get away obviously and that’s all I had to do, mark him and try and stay with him. I did that, and I might have gotten a few points at the finish, so not too bad a day. ” said Sulzberger.
South African Jay Thomson (Team MTN) leads the sprints points competition with 147 points followed by Robert White (Team GearGrinder) with 139 points.
“I’m actually a time trialer so the breakaway I understand and I enjoy that but the sprinting – the first couple of days I got a few points so I thought, lets just carry on and go for it and see how it goes and now it seems to be landing in my lap. [Teammate] Bradley [Potgieter] today was just giving me the perfect wheel. ”
In the early going, four riders broke away which included defending champion Jonny Cantwell (Fly V Australia), Carlos Vargas (Hotel San Jose), Brandon Gritters (Kahala LaGrange) and Daniel Bowman (Kelly Benefit).
“With three days to go, we’re playing very defensive role, Bernie has got many points up his sleeve, and I’m trying to accumulate as many points as I can still. We did a pretty good job going into an early breakaway but it was just too windy, we didn’t have enough guys. As soon as I got up the road, they seem to chase me down straightaway so that’s cool, that’s bike racing you have to deal with that. ” said Cantwell.
Menzies and Huff chased hard but never caught the foursome and one after the other rejoined the field.
“It was just a lot of attacks all day long, I was just trying to be really aggressive as was my former teammate Mike Friedman and Karl Menzies. We were all just going off the front from the beginning and then actually I was up there with Karl and I just couldn’t hold his wheel. He was so strong I just couldn’t stay with Karl. I had to go back in the field and wait for a second chance.” said Huff.
The field seemed content to let the foursome go which did not please Friedman.
“There was that breakaway of four that was up the road, everybody was kind of fooling around and not doing any chasing so I got pretty angry and brought those guys back. And then we had to get in a breakaway because I was still angry, so we just got up the road and hoped for the best.” said Friedman.
Three laps after catching the foursome, another break went up the road, this time it was six guys. Andy Bajadali (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Juan Pablo Dotti (AeroCat), Huff, Friedman, Strange and van der Velde worked hard and lapped the field with 36 laps to go. It became a game of tactics as only Huff was riding solo while the other members of the breaks all had teammates to count on.
“I got in the right move, that was just about as bad as with Karl, luckily there was four other guys to hold on to. I just tried to ride as best I could, I never really sat on, I tried to pull through but I just wasn’t as strong as the other guys.” said Huff.
In the final laps, a late break went up the road to get the points of the lower finish rankings – every point counts at Superweek. And with money on the line, the final dash to the line is always tricky.
“Fifteen guys that are here for the overall and all the races count for the overall, and guys like me who pick and chose which races to do and aren’t in the overall, so it really gets to be dangerous coming into the last couple of corners. I had a couple of teammates that are here for the overall too so you do what you can with them in the breakaway and towards the leadout and hope to God you don’t crash. That’s just the name of the game.” said Friedman.
Huff took a straight line to the finish for the win.
“Lucky for me I was able to recover for the sprint and I’m good at throwing in a really long sprint and I was able to do that, I had a straight line to the finish.” said Huff. “I just survived, that was the name of the day today, survival.”
Wansgard takes the win.
Yellow jersey Nicky Wansgard of the Colavita/Sutter Home team took the bulls by the horns and got herself in a break in the women’s 55k race. Along with three other riders, the break stayed away to the finish with Wansgard taking the win ahead of Sally Annis (Hub Racing) and Sydney Brown (Mercy Cycling).
Also in the break, Lip Smacker’s Kat Ross finished fourth while Karla Kingsley (SugarCRM) won the field sprint for fifth place.
The Colavita/Sutter Home team continues to dominate Superweek 2009. With two races to go, Wansgard leads the superweek series and the red sprints jersey passed from an absent Jen Purcell to Shontell Gauthier.
Racine results here