“The best things in life are free
But you can give them to the birds and bees
I want money”
It’s time for the Tour of Elk Grove.
Pancake-flat, lots of turns, time bonuses and a boatload of money is the best way to describe the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove which takes place on Friday July 31 to Sunday August 1. The Men’s Pro 3-day, 3-stage – a time trial, a circuit race and a crit – all held in the in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village offers up a whopping $152,500 for its purse. Each stage winner gets a big check and the overall winner will get the biggest single individual prize: $25,000. Finally, the winner in the team classification gets $2,500.
With such money on the line and with the race also on the NRC, the competition will be stiff. Last year’s winner David Veilleux of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team who grabbed victory with those magical time bonuses on the finish line, is returning with a strong squad that includes strong time-trialist and winner of the Tour de Beauce Scott Zwizanski and Fitchburg Longsjo Classic winner Zach Bell. Veilleux just won Superweek’s The Great Downer Avenue race by lapping the field as part of a small breakaway, after being off the front in another break for some 20 laps.
According to KBS’ performance director, Jonas Carney. “We are ready and are starting a very strong squad at Elk Grove. As usual it’s going to come down to a battle between the time trial specialists and the sprinters at the race – but we are strong in both of those areas and have guys who can do both extremely well.”
The boys in green will have their work cut out for them as teams are bringing in timetrialists and strong sprinters to tackle the stages – such as as current NRC leader Rory Sutherland and his OUCH p/b Maxxis teammates Chris Baldwin, John Murphy and Karl Menzies who was riding strong at Superweek and Chicago Crit, BISSELL’s Tom Zirbel a favorite to win the TT and Ben Jacques-Maynes, Jelly Belly’s Brad Huff who just won the NRC Chicago Crit. And the list goes on, Fly V Australia’s Ben Day and Bernie Sulzberger who defended his yellow jersey from the start to finish of Superweek primarily with the assistance of his teammate Jonathan Cantwell. BMC’s Ian McKissick who finished second in the Cascade TT. Track Omnium World Champion Hayden Godfrey who has been honing his form at Superweek with his Subway Avanti teammates. Mt Khakis team with Tom Soladay. The Colavita/Sutter Home squad with their strong leadout train and Sebastian Haedo. And who could forget Astana’s Chris ‘who needs a team?’ Horner. Note that no startlist is available at this point.
First stage is a 4.5-mile (7.2-km) time trial on an out-and-back course with five turns and a long finishing straight. The first rider goes off at 5:30pm, and every rider thereafter at 1 minute interval. The winner gets a nice check of $4,000 for his efforts.
Stage two, which starts at 3:15pm, is the 97 miles (156 Km) road race with 10 laps on the roads in the residential and commercial streets of Elk Grove Village. Time bonuses on the finish line for the top 3 finishers are 20, 12 and 8 seconds. The stage winner gets $11,000.
The road race also offers up sprint challenges for points, time bonuses and money. There are three sprint challenges at the end of lap 7 to go, 5 to go, and 2 to go. The top 5 riders for each sprint challenge get 5,4,3,2 and 1 point respectively. In the end, the top 3 riders with the most points get 6 second time bonus + $2,000, 4 second time bonus + $1,000 and 2 second time bonus + $500.
And to make it even more fun for the breakaways, the rider leading the race at the conclusion of the fifth lap will be recognized as the “half race” winner, and gets a nice check for $2,100.
Third and final stage is the 72 miles (115 km) criterium on a 1.2-mile (2 km) circuit with four turns and a long straightaway to the finish line. The crit starts at 2:30pm. Time bonuses on the finish line for the top 3 finishers are 20, 12 and 8 seconds. The stage winner gets $8,500.
There are three sprint challenges: at the end of lap 25 to go, lap 20 to go, and lap 10 to go. The top 5 riders for each sprint challenge get 5,4,3,2 and 1 point respectively. In the end, the top 3 riders with the most points get 6 second time bonus + $2,200, 4 second time bonus + $1,500 and 2 second time bonus + $550.
The rider leading the race at the conclusion of lap 30 and leading into the beginning of lap 29 to go will be recognized as the “half race” winner and once he finishes the stage, will get $1,500. Oh and there will be $3,200 in primes throughout the race.
But what about the women? While no stage race is offered up for the women, there are two open 50-minute (+ 1 lap) criterium for Women’s 1/2/3 categories available. The first one is Saturday at 12:45 pm with a $3,000 purse and the second one is Sunday at 11:30am with a $5,000 purse.