A quick recap of the racing that happened this weekend, from the Southeast to the Northwest and points in between. Fly V Australia continued to rack up wins, Colavita/Baci women’s team split the team up to win both crits and a hilly omnium.
Crit season opened up with the Terrapin Athens Twilight Criterium on Saturday under horrendous weather conditions with both the fans and riders faced with torrential downpours. With such bad conditions, riders were dropping out early with riders disappearing in the first few laps of the women’s 40-km criterium leaving only 19 riders to finish. Attacks were tried but nothing stuck and it was matter of staying at the front and out of trouble for the contenders. A point well proven when a crash on the final lap took out much of the field and created a split of eight riders at the front.
At that point, it became a drag race from the last corner to the finish with Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci) taking the win ahead of Sam Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) and Erica Allar (Team VBF).
The downpour continued for the men’s criterium where only 35 riders out of the 151 starters finished the race. Attacks flew and riders pulled out until a move finally stuck about halfway through the race.
Luca Damiani (Kenda p/b Gear Grinder) instigated the decisive move, and was quickly joined by Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare p/ Maxxis) Alessandro Bazzana (Fly V Australia), Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation), Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) and Ty Magner (Locos Cycling Team). The six riders worked well together to get a gap which got bigger and bigger until they could see the back of the field. At that point, some riders in the break sat up and they did not want to lap, preferring their odds in a break sprint.
Behind them, Mt Khakis who missed the move lined up to try and chase the break down but they could not close the gap.
Once the threat of lapping the field was dismissed, the riders in the break worked together again until the final lap. Menzies attacked, Bazzana covered the move but Menzies was able to get passed him to take the win. Bazzana held on for second, Clarke was third.
The racing continued with the Historic Roswell Criterium on Sunday where the riders were greeted by welcomed sunshine. All attacks were brought up for the final bunch sprint where once again Cliff-Ryan bested all to take the win. Sarah Caravella (BMW-Bianchi) was second and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) third.
The men’s race also finished in a bunch sprint after all attacks were neutralized with many legs tired from late night and hard racing on Saturday. Hanson timed his sprint perfectly to take the win ahead of Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) and Aaron Kemps (Fly V Australia).
Check out Adam Myerson’s take on the race: How to lose a sprint in 15 easy seconds
Over in New Mexico, Carmen Small continued Colavita/Baci’s winning ways winning the omnium for the first ever RoadRunner Classic. Luis Amaran led a Jamis/Sutter Home domination on the men’s side with the team taking the first five spots overall. The RoadRunner Classic, positioning itself as a “tune-up” race for the SRAM Tour of the Gila consisted of two stages in one day, a time trial in the morning and a circuit race in the afternoon both raced on the same 6.3-mile course. The wind played a factor in the race, with gusts of 30+ mph buffeting the riders and blowing goatheads (aka puncturevine) onto the wide-open, exposed course
Team VBF’s Alison Powers set the fastest time on the TT in the morning with Small in second spot. Powers’ teammate Robin Farina was third. Since cumulative time was not a factor in the race, top placings in the road race were essential to take the overall. Powers was befelled by a flat and three riders got off the front, Small, Farina and Katheryn Mattis (Webcor). Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci) bridged up to lead out Small to the win in the road race. Mattis finished second overall and Powers third.
The Jamis/Sutter Home riders set the stage from the TT, with Amaran setting the fastest time followed by his teammates Nick Frey, Tyler Wren, Ignacio Pereyra and Andy Guptill. After a few hours of rest, they were at it again in the afternoon’s 63-mile race. After attacks and counter-attacks, Amaran and Pereyra escaped off the front together to make it to the finish delivering the overall to Amaran. Pereyra finished second in the omnium and Wren third.
In Arizona, Darren Lill (Fly V Australia) successfully defended at the 32nd edition of La Vuelta de Bisbee. Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) set the fastest time in the opening prologue with a lead of 14 seconds on Phil Zajicek (Fly V Australia) and 16-seconds on his teammate Max Jenkins. Once again, just like last year, Lill soloed away to win the 32nd edition of La Vuelta de Bisbee on Saturday morning. Roman Kilun (UnitedHealthcare) finished second and Christian Helmig (Metro VW) third on the stage and both moved up on GC to second and third.
Sutherland, once again, set the fastest time on the time trial on Saturday afternoon. Zajieck was second at 16 seconds back and Darren Rolfe (Fly V Australia) third at 41 seconds. Lill was fourth at 51 seconds and kept the GC lead of 23 seconds on Kilun going into the final stage.
In order to protect their jersey, Fly V Australia let a break of 10 riders up the road which included David Tanner and Charles Dionne from the Australia team, and the UnitedHealtcare duo of Max Jenkins and Marc de Maar and Michael Mattis (AXA Equitable). The break stayed away with Tanner take the win ahead of Mattis and Dionne.
Behind them, UnitedHealthcare launched attacks to try and drop Lill but the South African stayed strong and held on to win the overall. Kilun finished second and Helmig third.
On the west coast, Paddy Bevin (Rubicon-ORBEA) and Robin Secrist (Riverstone Women’s Racing Team) claimed the overall at the Cherry Blossom Classic, the 4-stage race in Oregon.
Bevin soloed to victory in stage 1, the 80-mile Columbia Hills Road Race after his breakmate fell off the pace in the final lap. Sam Johnson (Hagens Berman) took the field sprint for second ahead of Mike Northey (Rubicon-ORBEA). In the tough second stage, the 73-miles Orchard Run Circuit Race it was Johnson’s turn to battle with a breakmate, yellow jersey Bevin, after the field had exploded. Johnson crossed the line first but Bevin, finished second and kept the yellow. Ian McKissick (LENOVO) was third.
Well known for his time trial skills, McKissick set the fastest time on stage 3, clockng 20:42 on the 8-mile TT course. Johnson finished second at 35 seconds back and James Strangeland ((Keller Rohrback) was third at one minute. Bevin finished fourth at 1:12 down and kept the lead.
Not only did Bevin defend his yellow jersey but he won another stage, the 60-minute Cherry City Criterium. Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) was second and Steven Beardsley (Gentle Lovers) third. New Zealander Bevin claimed the overall with 1:12 on Johnson in second. McKissick was third.
Melissa Sanborn (Cyclepath) won the women’s stage 1 bunch sprint ahead of Jennifer Triplett (Hagens Berman) and Jadine Rolcik (Team Group Health) to take an early lead. Next day, defending champion Secrist soloed to victory getting over one minute to the chase by the time she crossed the finish line. Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) was second and Sanborn third at over two minutes down from the stage winner. Secrist established herself in the yellow with over a one minute lead of Butler.
Secrist increased her lead in the stage 3, setting the fastest time of 24:16 on the 8-mile time trial. Butler was second at 21 seconds back and Patricia Bailey (Keller Rohrback Cycling Team) third at 47 seconds down. Sanborn won the final stage in another bunch sprint ahead of Brenna Lopez-Otero (Bend Bike ‘N Sport Race Team) and Bailey. Secrist finished safely in seventh to claim the overall ahead of Butler and Bailey.
Check out Oregon Cycling Action for in-depth reports and photos of the Cherry Blossom Classic.