Wow how time flies when you’re driving all over the USA for races, but it’s time – actually way past time – for another installment of the week that was, from Charlotte NC this time.
Let’s start with some racing news. Last weekend, Tasmanian Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis) won the overall at the Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove for big money and NRC points. The race started off with a time trial won, as expected by many, by BISSELL’s Tom Zirbel. Saturday brought the road race by name only, as its 26 turns on each lap really made it into a long crit, where at the end it came down to a bunch sprint won by Colavita/Sutter Home’s Sebastian Haedo. The last day was the crit where Australian Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) came out on top.
Last Sunday was also the 61st Classique Garneau-Cascades Montréal–Québec (formerly Québec-Montréal), where Jean-Sébastien Perron from the Volkswagen Specialized team delivered a last minute push to claim victory after 242 kilometers in the rain. Perron outsprinted four other riders Michael Joanisse (Nativo Concept), Tim Abercroombie (Garneau-Club Chaussures-Ogilvy), Derrick St-John (Ride with Randall) and Keir Plaice (Planet Energy) for the win. The five riders were part of a bigger break of around 15 riders that escaped at the 160 kilometer mark. With 5 Ks to go, the group of five attacked the break in a climb right in front of sponsor Louis-Garneau’s manufacturing plant and dueled to the finish. Read Keir Plaice’s take on the race.
The 2009 Giordana Crossroads Classic, a 5-day/race omnium that visits five different NC cities started on Tuesday. Many pros use these races as preparation for the NRC and big money Presbyerian Hospital Invitational Criterium on Sunday in Charlotte NC. On Tuesday night in Mocksville, Team Type 1’s Aldo Ino Ilesic out-sprinted his breakaway companions Isaac Howe and Will Hofarth (both of Team Mountain Khakis) at the end of the hour-long race to capture the Mocksville Criterium. The trio finished about 25 seconds ahead of the field.
On Wednesday night, Ilesic did it again at the Cabarrus Creamery Criterium in Concord, N.C. where he attacked with a half lap to go to claim victory ahead of Eric Barlevav (Team Mountain Khakis) and Neil Bezdek (GS Mengoni).
“I’ve had to do a lot of work the past two nights – beating quality competition with no help because I was racing without teammates here,” Ilesic said. “Tonight, the Mountain Khakis team was attacking me all the time with six or seven guys. I was having to pull things back all the time on my own.”
Despite donning the yellow jersey of overall leader of the Crossroads Classic, Ilesic said he will not participate in the remaining three races on Thursday, Friday and Saturday but will rest and prepare for the race in Charlotte. But that didn’t make the racing easier, as fresh Colavita/Sutter Home and BISSELL riders showed up for the race on Thursday, the FUZE Beverage Criterium in Salisbury. At around 15 minutes into the hour-long race, BISSELL’s Frank Pipp attacked with Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Isaac Howe (Mt Khakis) on his wheel. The trio worked great together to build a lead of almost 50 seconds to the field. The Colavita team send one rider after another to try and bridge up until Luis Amaran started to chase solo, getting closer and closer as the lap cards went down. Amaran finally made the connection on the final lap with only two corners to go. The sprint was won by Haedo with Howe in second and Pipp finished third.
On Friday at the NOS Energy Criterium in Statesville, the Mt Khakis team finally got a win after finishing so close in the previous races but it was with mixed emotions as they lost a rider to injury. Another break made it to the line, this time it was five riders that included Mt Khakis’s Tom Soladay, GS Mengoni’s David Wiswell and Empire Cycling’s Stephen Kincaid. The 5 riders built a steady lead and once the gap was secured, started attacking each other with 5 laps to go. Soladay made his move against the three remaining riders in the break to take the win ahead of Wiswell and Kincaid. David Guttenplan of Mt Khakis crashed in the final laps and suffered a broken collarbone.
Felt-Holowesko Partner-Garmin’s Daniel Holloway tasted his first victory in Europe when he won the fifth and final stage of the UCI 2.12-rated Tour de Namur in Belgium on Wednesday while riding for the USA Cycling National Development Team. The 22-year-old Holloway bested a field of 127 riders in the 156-kilometer trek from Chevetogne to Namur to win the stage and close out the event with a 22nd-place ranking in the overall classification.
BMC’s Cole House finished 3rd in the event’s opening stage on Saturday and 15th-place overall while BMC’s Austin Carroll was 16th in the final classification and Chris Butler (Hincapie) was 34th.
Onto rider and team news. Taylor Phinney of the Trek-Livestrong team, tweeted that he also broke his “dorsal spine of my C5 vertebra” when he crashed at the Cascade Classic last month. Phinney will sit out the Tour of Utah as he recovers from his injury. He even uploaded his x-ray.
Having spent much of the 2009 domestic racing season as de facto director for the BMC Racing Team, Mike Sayers has signed a contract with the team which will keep him working with them through 2011.
“It is the position I have wanted for a long time and I think I can even say this is the culmination of my entire career,” said Sayers who retired from professional racing last year after 14 seasons.
“From maybe my first year as a professional, I have looked at the Director’s job as being what I really want to do,” Sayers explained. “Working for BMC was my first choice since it is such a great organization.”