Moving from its long-time home in Downers Grove, Ill. as a part of the USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships, the elite women’s and men’s criterium contests highlighted the fourth day of competition at the USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite Road National Championships. Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) topped the powerful elite women’s field, while Steve Reaney (California Giant Cycling) earned the elite men’s title. Benjamin King (Trek-Livestrong) however provided the surprise performance of the day as the road and time trial specialist took the U23 men’s criterium national championship.
Hundreds of spectators showed up for the evening’s premier event in the heart of downtown Bend and Evans simply out sprinted the 75-woman field to win the first elite women’s criterium held in conjunction with this event in years. Even against all of the top women in the country the recent winner of the Tour of New Zealand was certainly on the list of pre-race favorites, and thanks in part to her powerful Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 squad, will add a Stars-and-Stripes jersey to her wardrobe. It did not come easy however as the Team Vera Bradley Foundation ladies set up multiple attacks forcing others to cover. In the end it was all together as expected with Evans set up for the sprint. Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) came on strong to grab silver while Evans’ teammate and fellow track cyclist Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) finished third.
In the men’s U23 competition the peloton just missed catching Benjamin King (Trek-Livestrong) and Oscar Clark (Mountain Khakis fueled by Jittery Joe’s) at the line making the finish one of the most thrilling of the day. The pair opened up a gap on the final run of the 46-lap criterium and was just able to stay in front of the surging peloton as King claimed another national title. Multiple attacks were attempted throughout the 60-kilometer event but nothing was quite enough to stick against the field of the nation’s strongest up-and-coming young riders. King’s Trek-Livestrong teammate Justin Williams (Trek-Livestrong) led the group’s surge to grab the bronze.
“Our plan was to set something up four our sprinters and I went out on a late-race attack trying to do just that,” King said of his Trek-Livestrong team’s pre-race strategy. “It worked because Justin got third, but we just never quite got caught and I ended up winning.”
The Elite men’s contest was a shoot-out with the huge group of nearly 150 of the nation’s top amateurs going at it for 80 kilometers, or 62 laps on the 1.3-kilometer circuit in downtown Bend. After nearly an hour and a half of fast paced racing it all came down to the sprint with Reaney nipping Carlos Vargas (Team Hotel San Jose/Hotel San Jose) and Eric Marcotte (Pista Palace/Team Pista Palace) by less than a second.
The most decorated junior cyclist in American history did not disappoint in the women’s 17-18 contest. In the race’s early going Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) took off in pursuit of another junior strongwoman Kendall Ryan (VRC-NOW-MS Society). The dominant pair held a huge lead throughout much of the 20-kilometer affair and with the pack unable to track them down it was a two-woman race. Rivera timed her sprint perfectly and took Ryan, a savvy racer who comes from a strong family of cycling, by several bike lengths. Yesterday’s fourth-place-finisher Ruth Winder (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) won the pack sprint to take the bronze today.
“The plan between my teammate Ruth and I was for me to cover Kendall’s attacks,” explained Rivera after winning her 27th Stars-and-Stripes jersey. “I didn’t want to go that early but I had to follow her. I won on this course last year at Cascade so I just tried to start my sprint in the same place.”
Lawson Craddock (Hot Tubes) was once again the story of the 17-18 men’s race, soloing off the front for his second victory in as many days. Several riders and groups animated throughout the 50-kilometer event, but no one could stay away until Craddock went hard with around five laps remaining. The Specialized team chased in hot pursuit and James LaBerge (Specialized) was able to hold Craddock’s wheel for a couple of laps, but in the end no one could keep pace with the reigning junior time trial world championship silver medalist.
The 15-16 men’s criterium event started the afternoon off in downtown Bend in exciting fashion with Erik Volotsky (Cycleworld) winning a bunch sprint to earn his Stars-and-Stripes. With things altogether following 18 of the 20 laps of racing, Andrew McRae (Frazier Cycling) made things interesting as he took off with two remaining. The pack was too strong however, swallowing him up with a lap to go and leaving Volotzky to narrowly outsprint Drew Bercaw (Project Velo) and 55 others for the win.
Racing will continue at the USA Cycling Juniors, U23, Elite and Paralympic Road Cycling National Championships tomorrow as the junior men 15-16, junior women 17-18 and U23 men contest the road race starting and finishing near Bend’s Summit High School.
Top 5 Elite Women Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Shelley Evans (Scotts Valley, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 1:10:36.40
2. Erica Allar (Fogelsville, Pa./Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 01:10:37
3. Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 1:10:37.10
4. Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Colavite-Baci p/b Cooking Light) 1:10:39.70
5. Jennifer Wheeler (Seattle, Wash./Lake Washington Velo) 1:10:39.80
Top U23 Men Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) 1:17:4.80
2. Oscar Clark (Atlanta, Ga./Mountian Khakis Fueled) 1:17:5.20
3. Justin Williams (Los Angeles, Calif./Trek-Livestrong) 1:17:6.10
4. Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./BikeReg.com-Cannondale) 1:17:6.30
5. Logan Loader (Pacific Grove, Calif./Lucemie Espoir Quimper) 1:17:6.30
Top 5 Elite Men Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Steve Reaney (San Jose, Calif./California Giant Cycling) 43:40.5
2. Carlos Vargas (Kingwood, Texas/Team Hotel San Jose/Hotel San Jose) 43:40.6
3. Eric Marcotte (Phoenix, Arix./Pista Palace/Team Pista Palace) 43:40.7
4. Remi McManus (Boise, Idaho/Team Exergy) 43:40.7
5. Ryan Parnes (Davis, Calif./Yahoo Cycling Team) 43:40.8
Top 5 Junior Men 17-18 Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Lawson Craddock (Houston, Texas/Hot Tubes) 01:07:25
2. Juan Carmona (Breinigsville, Pa./Young Medalists) 01:7:30.90
3. J Fette (Woodinville, Wahs./Lake Washington Velo) 01:7:30.90
4. Wesley Kline (Emmaus, Pa./Young Medalists) 01:07:31
5. Benjamin Swedberg (Kent, Wash./Rad Racing) 1:7:31.10
Top 5 Junior Women 17-18 Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 31:9.80
2. Kendall Ryan (Ventura, Calif./VRC-NOW-MS Society) 31:10.40
3. Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) 32:13.80
4. Somersby Jenkins (Santa Barbara, Calif./Echelon Santa Barbara) 32:15.90
5. Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wis./Team Kenda) 32:16.00
Top 5 Junior Men 15-16 Criterium Results (Complete Results)
1. Erik Volotzky (Chatsworth, Calif./Cycle World) 35:24.80
2. Drew Bercaw (North Canton, Ohio/Project Velo) 35:24.80
3. Lucas Wardein (Naples, Fla./Orlando Road Club) 35:25.20
4. Alex Howard (Mill Valley, Calif./Above Category Racing) 35:25.90
5. Taylor (T.J.) Eisenhart (Lehi, Utah/Velosport Racing) 35:25.90