Five cobbled uphill switchbacks on a tough technical course are the key components of the Snake Alley Criterium. This race acts as the centerpiece of the Memorial day weekend of races along the Iowa/Illinois border that bring out the best of Midwestern amateurs with a smattering of Continental Pro’s to mix things up! Most notably in recent years was current Radioshack gregario Jason McCartney domination of the 2004 event! It may not be the hardest crit in the country but the fans crowded onto the grassy knolls between switchbacks give this race a true party atmosphere.
Riders line up according to their date of registration, which speaks to the critical nature of getting onto the ‘Snake’ in as good a position as possible! However that didn’t appear to apply for Ukrainian National Champion Volodymyer Starchyk (Amore e Vita) who despite starting a hundred riders back picked his way through the field to hit the front after 5 laps of the allotted 20 laps. The only man able to stay with Starchyk was former US road race champion Paul Martin (Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist) who was raked over the hot coals each time up the climb as the Ukrainian kept the pressure on. With 6 laps to go Martin was beset by misfortune as a mechanical issue forced him to fall away from Starchyk.
A chase group of 16 riders formed behind the two leaders from which Tristan Schouten (IS Corp) and Eric Marcotte (Team Pista Palace) emerged as the strong men, ditching their companions to join up with the unfortunate Martin. Starchyk kept on his metronomic pace on to claim a deserved victory. Schouten won the sprint for second ahead of Marcotte and Martin. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) took the 12 man sprint for 5th.
In the Women’s race it was ‘Miller Time’ all the time as Iowan Amanda Miller (TIBCO/To The Top), fresh from the Tour l’Aude, took off on lap one. Behind the impressive Miller, the other riders each rode individual time trials to claim their finishing positions. Lisa Vetterlein (Punk Rock Cycling) kept Miller honest the entire time to finish a very creditable second with Ashley James (Team Kenda Tire), Kristen Wentworth (Team Kenda Tire) and Nikki Dallaire (Alderfer Bergen) rounding out the top five.
Temperatures into the 90s meant for tough racing in all the categories and there will be some tired bodies when the racing moves up the Mississippi to Muscatine IA for Sunday’s Melon City Criterium.
Report by Geraint Parry, bloomingtonvelonews.blogspot.com
Photo Gallery (Click for larger images)
Men’s photos c Caitlin Coar, Women’s photos c Harry Clark – All used with permission
Top 10 Men Pro/1/2 Results (See full results)
1. Volodymyr Starchyk (Amore E Vita-Conad)
2. Tristan Schouten (Unattached)
3. Eric Marcotte (Team Pista Palace)
4. Paul Martin (Panther Pb Competitive Cyclists)
5. Charles B. Huff (Jelly Belly P/B Kenda)
6. Emile Abraham (Aerocat Cycling)
7. Bryce Mead (Texas Roadhouse)
8. Steve Tilford (Tradewind Energy/Trek Stores)
9. David Hackworthy (Bianchi/Grand Performance)
10. Jordon Roessingh (Is Corp Cycling )
Top 10 Women 1/2/3 Results (See full results)
1. Amanda Miller (Team Tibco/To The Top)
2. Lisa Vetterlein (Punk Rock Cycling)
3. Ashley James (Kendice Tire)
4. Kristin Wentworth (Team Kenda)
5. Annajean Dallaire (Aiderfer Bergen)
6. Jill Kislia (Team Kenda)
7. Kelley Hess (Team Kenda)
8. Linda Sone (Flanders / Mbrc)
9. Leah Prudhomme (Bianchi/Grand Performance)
10. Bianca Bergman (Texas Roadhouse P/B Motorex )