The 2009 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships opened in the velodrome at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday as Cody O’Reilly (BISSELL) and Cari Higgins (ProMan) were awarded the first-ever elite omnium national titles.
After collecting four medals at this year’s Pan American Track Cycling Championships, Higgins won the first of the eight events she will contest at these championships. Higgins claimed her sixth national title by finishing an impressive first in three of the five events – the 200m, the 500m time trial & scratch race – a second and a fourth place.
“This was the most important race for me this week because I feel like on the world level this is where I’m most competitive,” explained Higgins. “I really wanted to show what I can do in this event and the dominance of our entire Proman squad.”
Long-time endurance racer Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breakaway) earned the silver with an all-around strong performance while Heather Jackson, who won the 2K pursuit, grabbed the bronze after winning the points race event.
ProMan Racing last year held the inaugural Women’s International Style Omnium at Hellyer Velodrome, San Jose CA. The Omnium consists of five events, 200m, 500m, 2k, points race and scratch race with riders scoring the same number of points as their finishing position in each race. So, five first places would give a final score of five points. Five second places would give a score of 10 points. Lowest points total wins. The Omnium is now a World Championship event and is being considered for the 2012 London Olympics.
O’Reilly, son of former kilo world record holder and Pan American champion Rory O’Reilly, used a balanced attack to take what is considered the all-around title, finishing second in the individual pursuit and kilo time trial, third in the 200-meter time trial and the scratch race and sixth in the points race.
“I have a lot of endurance from all the road racing I’ve been doing and that combined with some speed makes the omnium suit me really well,” stated O’Reilly.
Jacob Duehring (Felt Factory Team) mounted a formidable attack, including a blazing win in the individual pursuit, but had to settle for silver after an eighth-place finish in the points race. In fifth place with one event to go, Daniel Holloway (Felt-Holowesko-Garmin) put the hammer down and won the kilo to move up to third in the final podium. Holloway also won the points but had slow start in the 200-meter time trial and finished 13th in that event.
In the only other title awarded on Wednesday, Giddeon Massie (Bike Religion) clocked a time of 18.359 seconds to win the standing 250-meter time trial over David Espinoza (Bike America) and Kelyn Akuna (Veritas Cycling Team).
Championships continue on Thursday, starting at 4pm PDT, with Women’s 500m TT, Men Team Pursuit Final, Men Scratch Heats, Women Scratch Heats, Women Team Pursuit Final, Women Scratch Final, Men Scratch Final and Men’s Kilo.
Report from usacycling.org