On a break from his racing in Europe, Fuji-Servetto’s Hilton Clarke took the win at the Chase Food Folks & Spokes, on day 18 of Superweek 2009 in Kenosha Wisconsin. Australian Clarke was part of a 4-rider break that lapped the field with 21 km to go in the 100 km criterium raced on a 1-km course, the shortest course of Superweek 2009. Track Omnium World Champion Hayden Godfrey (Subway-Avanti) of New Zealand finished second and Rock Racing’s Sergio Hernandez was third. The fourth man in the break was American Andrew Bradley of the Gourmetfein team.
Coming into his first event at Superweek, Clarke smartly took advantage of the multiple competitions going on for the overall, for the points and for the race itself.
“These Superweek races are always pretty tactical, it’s a similar style of racing to home, with the overall sometimes it’s quite easy to come in late on your own, everyone is sort of racing for points, lots of different races going on inside the race, I was lucky to take advantage of that. ”
Even though he was riding solo, Clarke had helped from other Aussies on the last lap, and once again, Karl Menzies (OUCH) was instrumental in the win after helping Jelly Belly’s Brad Huff in the race the day before.
“I don’t have any teammates here but I’m lucky enough to have Karl Menzies here, another Aussie, who gave me a helping hand at the finish, gave me a nice easy run to the finish, he looked after me.” said Clarke who followed Menzies’ wheel on the final corner with Godfrey shadowing him. “Cantwell and Sulzberger are both going for the overall and they knew I was going for the win so there was a group of Aussies congregated at the front and we all made sure we kept each other’s interests in hand and we got what we wanted.”
As usual the last lap were chaotic and according to Godfrey, “there were guys going all over the show as usual.”
Godfrey had some trouble on the final lap. “I just got chopped for about the twentieth time. I had a bit of hard run on the back straight, I got onto Hilton’s wheel but just didn’t have enough gas at the end.”
With two days left to race, Bernie Sulzberberger (Fly V Australia) still leads the overall competition and increased his lead on second place Hans Dekkers (Garmin-Slipstream).
“I think I got Hans in the sprint, it was very close but I think I might have gotten him, I’ve got maybe 29 points lead, it’s not over until the fast lady sings. Still two days left, anything can happen but it’s still looking okay. ” said Sulzberger.
South African Jay Thomson (Team MTN) increased his lead in the sprints competition. “The team was perfect for me today. I opened a gap for the second today. Today the guys really did a great job for me today, they took a day off yesterday to rest their legs, obviously today they wanted to get back into it. I can’t say thank them enough, they did everything perfect.”
The race started off fast and stayed fast throughout even when raindrops started to fall. Lots of attacks and movement at the front of the field until finally with 35 miles to go, five riders got a gap.
“Because it’s a real fast course, it was just on, there were no real attacks, just lots of little splits and then finally guys were getting tired and basically a small group of riders off the front, it was stronger guys in there, it was good. ”
The five soon became four as the rider from Texas Roadhouse dropped out of the break, and the quartet worked well together to not only increase their gap on the field but to go for a lap on the field.
“As soon as the gap was up to 20 seconds that was when I really buried myself.” said Clarke who pushed to get the lap on the field.
“It was pretty obvious we were going to make a lap, it was just how long it was going to take. I think it was a fine line between going hard and making it as short as possible or dragging it out. We were all keen in making the lap.” Godfrey agreed.
Sensing the speed of the break, a chase group was formed which included Thomson, Sulzberger and Chad Hartley (GearGrinder). But as soon at the break rejoined the field, their teammates, friends and even a brother as Jonny Clarke (Jelly Belly) put in long pulls, came to the front to drive up the tempo and the chase group never had a chance to also lap.
“Once we got the lap, we put some of our teammates in the front, a couple of Subway guys and Hilton had a couple of his Aussie buddies at the front there, bring the pace up enough to shut those guys down. Those guys were probably disappointed but it kept things simple for us four guys.” said Godfrey about the chase group.
The field was all together in the finale of the race preparing for a bunch sprint until Hernandez tried his luck in a solo flyer but was reeled in with three laps to go.
“I was in the break with three powerhouses, just trying to hang on.I knew that they only way I was going to win to race was to ride away, I gave it a try.” shrugged Hernandez.
“Obviously, he wasn’t confident in his sprint, which is fair enough, it was a good move but there were just too many guys helping each other out, it was just a suicide type of move,” chuckled Godfrey, “but good on him.”
Caravella wins women’s race
The Colavita/Sutter Home duo of leader Nicky Wansgard and Shontell Gauthier came in with one goal in the women’s 55-km race, to get the red sprints jersey for Gauthier with the absence of their teammate Jennifer Purcell, the current leader in the points competition.
“Today we had a big goal and that was to get the red jersey, our goal was to keep it together and earn as many points as possible.”
In order to do that, the duo chased back every attack to keep the field together and Gauthier won all three of the points sprints putting her firmly in the lead.
The 41 riders in the field came in together for the bunch sprint won by Sarah Caravella (ALAN) who edged out Gauthier and Emma Petersen (Ultralink).
“I told Shontell to look out for her” said Wansgard as Caravella had been sitting in for most of the race saving her energy for the final sprint.
Complete results here
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