It wasn’t billed as a twilight race but the Madeira Centennial Criterium finished in almost complete darkness with Issac Howe (Mountain Khakis) appearing out of the night to take an impressive sprint victory! The nations crit riders have been split this weekend between the Tour of Americas Dairyland, Manhattan Beach Grand Prix and this Ohio Crit Weekend so it was a mostly amateur field that tackled the first in a 3-race series that is headlined by the USACrits race in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Cincinnati on June 26th.
To kick off the weekend the inaugural Madeira event was held over a challenging course that included two 180-degree corners that would test the 100-rider field to their limit. Throughout the entire event no significant breakaways would form with arguably the best effort coming from Mark Hekman (Mountain Khakis) who in the early running stayed away for a couple of laps.
At the midway point a malfunction with the finishing inflatable arch caused a nasty crash that saw a local rider taken to the hospital and the race neutralized for 15 minutes. Following the resumption and in the gathering gloom the pace shot up and the race was clearly destined for a bunch sprint. Team Aerocat took the responsibility for the pace-making in the final few laps but it was Issac Howe who jumped the lead-out trains into the final corner and was never headed, finishing with a solid margin over Marco Aledia (Kenda p/b Geargrinder) and evergreen Emilie Abraham (Aerocat).
A sparsely attended women’s race was for the most part low-lighted by its general inactivity. That was until six laps to go when Patty Buerkle (Fruit66- Artemis) attacked solo and was never seen by the field again. She vacuumed up a couple of primes and held off the field for a convincing victory, marking herself in the process as the danger women for the remainder of the race weekend. The rest of the field battled out the field sprint with Jane Evely (Team SummaCare) prevailing over Christy Blakely (Team CARD) and Bri Kovac (Alderfer Bergen).
Report by Geraint Parry, bloomingtonvelonews.blogspot.com
Men’s Top 3
1- Issac Howe (Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes)
2- Marco Aledia (Team Kenda p/b Geargrinder)
3- Emile Abraham (Team Aerocat)
1- Patty Buerkle (Fruit66- Artemis)
2- Jane Evely (Team SummaCare)
3- Christy Blakely (Team CARD)
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All photos by Harry Clark – used with permission