Lots of racing this weekend, on both the NRC and UCI calendars. With conflicting schedules, teams had to decide where best to apply their resources with the NRC Air Force Cycling Classic’s Clarendon Cup in Arlington VA on Saturday, and the NRC Tour de Grove (formerly The Tour de WingHaven) in Missouri for both men and women. Each of the NRC races were the anchor to a full weekend of racing in each region.
Also this weekend were 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 UCI circuit race for women only on Sunday.
UHC domination at AFCC. The UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis team dominated the two races at Air Force Cycling Classic, not only taking the win on both days but sweeping the podium on Sunday. On his first race with the team Hilton Clarke hit it out of the ballpack on Saturday. Along with a teammate, he made his way into a 6-rider break which lapped the field, a perfect setup for a leadout. And the team delivered with Clarke crossing the line first, ahead of the entire field not just his breakmates. Valodymyr Starchick (Amore e Vita) finished second and Daniel Holt (Team Type 1) third. (Read the team’s report on the race).
The UHC team continued where they left off on Sunday. With five laps to go, the 8-rider strong leadout train set up and kept control until the end to deliver the sweep with Jake Keough taking the top step followed by Clarke and Karl Menzies in third. (Read the team’s report on the race).
Miller wins in Clarendon. The combination of the speed of the 50 lap/30km race with the hot, humid weather, had the field to whittled down to a mere 25 riders halfway through and the bunch sprint was on. With five laps to go, the trains of TIBCO/To The Top and Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light were wrestling for control at the front. With 200 meters to go, Brooke Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) jumped with Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci) coming up on her right side. The two were neck and neck with 50 meters to go and apparently, Cliff-Ryan hit a bump, which forced her to wobble and hit Miller’s handlebars. Miller won the race, Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) was 2nd and Erica Allar (Team VBF) 3rd. Cliff-Ryan went down and sustained some minor road rash from the crash. (Read reports from Team VBF and TIBCO/To The Top)
Farina victorious at Crystal Cup. About halfway through the 60-minute Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal Cup crit, 3 riders escaped the field and stayed away until the finish. The battle was on between Robin Farina (Team VBF), Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci) and Erin Sillman (Fruit 66). Farina led the trio into the final corners, Cheatley jumped at 400 meters but Farina stayed in front for the win. Cheatley took 2nd and Sillman 3rd. (Read the team VBF’s report on the race).
A Wet Tour de Grove. On Saturday, Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) took the win at the warmup race, the Midtown Alley Grand Prix ahead of the Rubicon-ORBEA duo of Ben Chaddock and Taylor Gunman. Carrie Cash (Team VBF) took the win for the women’s race, beating Jill Kislia (Team Kenda) and Molly Vetter-Smith (Mesa Cycles).
Both the winners in Sunday’s NRC circuit race, the Tour de Grove, had flown in from the AFCC Clarendon Cup. n the women’s 40-mile, 14 lap race Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) took a flyer from the field 3 laps into the race. No one seemed to want to chase as her gap went up to one minute until a mid-way prime was announced. Carrie Cash (Team VBF) went for the prime and kept on going, joined in the chase by Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite). The duo closed down the gap but they never managed to catch Van Gilder who soloed to the win with Cash taking 2nd and Wangsgard 3rd.
The battle was on between Kelly Benefit Strategies and Jelly Belly p/b Kenda in the men’s 28 lap/79 mile circuit race. Having the most numbers in the race, KBS hit it immediately from the start to get something away and the move that stuck was initiated by David Veilleux about 19 miles into the race. His teammate Scott Zwizanski bridged up quickly thereafter and the duo was off. Behind them, Jelly Belly was leading the chase. And then Mother Nature got involved. With rain, wind and thundestorms, race officials shortened the race. The teammates crossed the line together with Zwizanski taking the win and Veilleux second. Mike Sherer (Verizon U23 p/b ABD) led the field in for third.
UCI Races in Gatineau. Showing that he’s back on form after his hard crash at the Amgen Tour of California, Ben Day (Fly V Australia) clocked the fastest time in the first ever Chrono de Gatineau, a new UCI race in Canada. Day set a time of 42:30 over the out-and-back 22 miles (35.4) km course. Ryan Roth (Spidertech p/b Planet Energy) was second at 1:14 down and Aaron Filion (Ride with Randell) third at 2:06 back.
In the women’s 11 miles (17.7 km) course, Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia) won with a time of 23:05, besting her teammate Linda Villumsen by 11 seconds. Continuing to improve, Alison Starnes (TIBCO/To The Top) was third at 44 seconds down.
The racing concluded with the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau, a UCI circuit race for women only on Sunday. Continuing to show that she can read a race, Joëlle Numainville (Webcor Builders) outsprinted Ruth Corset (TIBCO/To the Top) and Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling) for the win in the 99 km (61.5 mile) road race. Numainville used the HTC-Columbia leadout train to her advantage to come out first of the final 180-corner at 300 meters from the line.
The racing continues this week with the NRC Nature Valley Grand Prix for both men and women and the UCI Tour de Beauce for men only. It will be interesting to how the form honed during the Amgen Tour of California impacts the men’s racing.