Lots of racing all over North America this weekend on both the NRC and UCI calendars. With conflicting schedules, teams have to decide where best to apply their resources with the NRC Air Force Cycling Classic’s Clarendon Cup in Arlington VA on Saturday, the NRC Tour de Grove (formerly The Tour de WingHaven) in Missouri for both men and women. The NRC races are the showcase of a whole weekend of racing for each of the venues.
Also this weekend are two new UCI races in Canada, as part of La Grande Visite de Gatineau. Le chrono de Gatineau, an individual time trial, on Saturday for both men and women and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau, a circuit race for women only on Sunday.
The 2010 Air Force Cycling Classic provides an entire weekend of bike racing and riding for everyone on Saturday and Sunday, June 12 and 13. In its 13th edition, the Air Force Cycling Classic’s Clarendon Cup is run on the 5-corner one-kilometer course with short straightaways around Clarendon Metro and surrounding neighborhood streets. The difficult course has made it difficult to predict the outcome with the winner coming out of both bunch sprints and breakaways in the past. One thing we do know is that the event becomes a race of attrition.
Last year’s winner Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis/Sutter Home) is returning to defend and with his fouth-place finish in Philly is certainly a favorite going in. But he almost lost the win in 2009 with an early celebration as Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) almost caught him at the line and had to settle for second. Hanson is also returning. Other teams that will line up for the men’s race include BISSELL, UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Kenda p/b GearGrinder, Bahati Foundation, Fly V Australia, Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joe’s, Amore e Vita, CRCA Foundation, Bikereg.com, Danish National Team, Haymarket and AXA Equitable. No roster available for women at this point. (See men roster)
Women race for 50 laps (or 50 km) at 9:55am and men for 100 laps starting at 12:00pm.
On Sunday the action moves to Crystal City Race. Run as a UCI-sanctioned Circuit race in 2008 and 2009, the race returns to its original criterium format first run in 2007. The 2-kilometer course provides a long straightaway along Crystal Drive. The Men’s Pro race departs from the U. S. Air Force Memorial at 11:30am and the riders make their way down to Crystal City to race on the 2km criterium course. Women’s Elite race will follow at 1:20pm. (See map)
Meanwhile, in Missouri is the Tour de Grove event culminating with the NRC crit on Sunday. The riders will face a 2.8-mile (4.5-km) course with eleven turns and a very technical finishing stretch. On the line will also be the King/Queen of the Grove competition where each rider through the start/finish line on each lap is awarded points. The rider who has led the most laps wins.
The pro men seem to be poised to be a battle between the Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Kelly Benefit Strategies squads with 2009 Tour of Winghaven winner Andy Bajadali. Watch other teams such as Rubicon-ORBEA;Benefiting LIVESTRONG that will try to take advantage of the battle.
With the conflicting races, only 5 women have pre-regisstered for the race so far. (See pre-registered riders here).
Pro women will race 14 laps for a total of 40 miles starting at 1:00 pm. Pro men will complete 28 laps for 79 miles starting at 3:00 pm.
The event companion race, the Mid Town Alley Grand Prix at a new racing venue – a traditional 4-corner crit course – and will also feature the county’s top men’s and women’s teams. (See map).
Up in Canada are the two new UCI races, the first edition of La Grande Visite de Gatineau in the province of Quebec. Saturday brings the individual time trial, 11 miles (17.7 km) for the pro women and 22 miles (35.4) km, or 2 laps of the same circuit for the pro men.
The team to watch on the women’s side is the always strong HTC-Columbia with Evelyn Stevens. Other riders to watch include Katheryn Curi-Mattis and Amber Neben (Webcor Builders), Jessica Philips (Colavita/Baci) and Alison Starnes and Ruth Corset (TIBCO/To The Top).
TIBCO has an extra incentive to do well at the races are taking place just across the Ottawa river from the hometown of Team TIBCO founder and managing director Linda Jackson.
“I’m extremely excited to have a new UCI race in my old backyard,” Jackson said. “With the recent departure of the Montreal World Cup, it’s good to see another UCI race take it’s place. We want to do what we can to support the race and help it grow. And we also want to bring a roster that will have an impact on the race.”
On the men’s side, riders to watch include Mt Hood Cycling Classic overall winner Marc de Maar and Morgan Schmitt of UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis, Ben Day and Charles Dionne of Fly V Australia and François Parisien and David Boily of Spidertech p/b Planet Energy.
Sunday brings the 99 km (61.5 mile) road race for the pro women only. The 5-rider strong HTC-Columbia with Stevens and Emilia Fahlin will once again be the main squad to watch. Taking them on are full squads from Webcor Builders, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light, TIBCO/To The Top, Canadian National Team, Nanoblur Gears with Audrey Lemieux who has been racing in Europe and others.