A quick recap of the weekend races.
Kiwis Rule Grand Cycling Classic. Racing in front of their sponsors, hometown team BISSELL Pro Cycling delivered the win at the Grand Cycling Classic. New rider on the team, Paddy Bevin soloed to victory after being on his own for 10 laps of the bumpy 1.2-km 6-corner circuit through the historic brick streets of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The chase was on but the young rider was able to stay to claim his first NRC victory of his short career. Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) won the bunch sprint for second, Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) took third.
In a repeat of her Sea Otter Circuit Race victory of 2009, Jo Kiesanowski (TIBCO/To The Top) was off the front late in the race with fellow New Zealander Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci). She put herself in that situation with an attack with about 3.5 laps of the technical 1.2 km course to go, which Cheatley, the current leader in the individual NRC standings, covered. And as she did at Sea Otter last year, Kiesanowski bested her countrywoman in the two-up sprint. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) took the bunch sprint for third.
USA CRITs weekend shakes up standings. At the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium, Clayton Barrows (AXA/Equitable) and Lauren Ellis (BikeNZ) came out on top, while Jackie Simes of Jamis/Sutter Home p/b Colavita won the Capital Criterium. Team Vera Bradley Foundation’s Erica Allar took over the lead in the women’s overall previously held by Tiffany Pezzulo (Treads.com/DFT), while Barrow’s took the men’s lead away from Isaac Howe (Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joe’s).
At the Iron Hill Twilight Criterium, small breaks tried to get away in the women’s race with none sticking until after the halfway mark, when Ellis took a flyer off the front. Ellis could not be drawn back in and maintained about 30 seconds on the field all the way to the finish. Allar won the field sprint for 2nd place and Sarah Caravella (Team CARD) finished on the podium for a second time at Iron Hill to finish 3rd.
The men’s Iron Hill Twilight is notorious for breakaways lapping the field and this year was no exception. A break of 13 rode away from the field and lapped the peloton just after the halfway mark. Included in the breakaway was 2008 Iron Hill winner and 2009 USA CRITS winner Mark Hekman, current overall leader Clayton Barrows, Jamis-Sutter Home teammates Annibal Barrajo and Guido Palma, Bahati Foundation’s Bobby Lea, and Kelly Benefit Strategies’ Scott Zwizanski.
Another break of ten riders, which included eight of the original breakaway members, took off and was able to stay away to the finish of the race. 2007 and 2008 USA CRITS Overall Champions Frank Travieso (Jamis/Sutter Home) and Yosvany Falcon (Bahati Foundation) were the two riders who were not in the original breakaway but were able to make the second selection and help their teammates in the final sprint. With one lap to go Jamis and Bahati Foundation set-up a leadout, with Travieso winning the sprint to the line, but it was Barrows who won the race. Hekman got caught in a crash in the last turn but was able to hold off the charging peloton for an eighth place finish.
“I love West Chester. I love this crowd. And you gotta love a race who’s title sponsor is a beer brewery,” said an ecstatic Barrows after the race. Barrows completed his podium climb with a second, third, and first place finish over the last three races. Lea came in second and Palma rounded out the top three.
Tour de Delta. The Canadian contingent of the Kelly Benefit Strategies team swept the Tour de Delta, the 3-day opener of BC Superweek and brought home a Maple Leaf, the Canadian National Criterium Championship with David Veilleux.
The 3-day race started with a surprise when 25-year old Ben Craddock (Rubicon-ORBEA) clocked the fastest time in the 3.2-kilometer MK Delta Prologue course. His time of 3:47 was less than half a second faster than current Canadian Time Trial Champion Svein Tuft (Garmin-Transitions) who came in second. Defending champion Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefits Strategies) was third.
Defending champion Laura Brown (Total Restorations Cycling) set the fastest time of 4:18, less than two seconds off her winning pace the year before despite a head wind after the final corner that slowed the riders. Hr teammates Jasmin Glaesser came in second at 4:23 and Sarah Stewart third at 4:25.
The race continued on Saturday with the Brenco Criterium, where for the first time the Canadian Crit Championshi titles were also awarded. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit) and Tuft broke away from the peloton with 22 laps to go on the short course through the streets of Ladner. Tuft claimed the $2400 crowd prime with eight laps to go, and Veilleux knew he had to time his move perfectly to beat the powerful Tuft.
With one lap to go, Veilleux’s attack surprised Tuft. Veilleux was able to stay away to claim the Maple Leaf and the stage win. Tuft came in second and takes over the GC lead. Tyler Trace (Trek Red Truck) won the sprint for third.
In a bunch sprint finish, Leah Kirchmann (Trek Red Truck) jumped past Laura Brown with 200 meters left to win the women’s National Criterium Championship. Kirchmann and her teammates kept a close eye on the Total Restorations team who took the top-4 spots in the prologue the night before. But she was still left without a friendly wheel to lead her out on the final sprint, so Kirchman looked instead for a fast one. She found one in Brown, then jumped past her after the final corner. Jasmin Glaesser finished third. With her second-place, Brown remained in the GC lead.
With four 8-km laps to go in the Tour de Delta White Spot Road Race, Zach Bell (Kelly Benefit) rode away from an early 10-man breakaway, building a 90-second gap with two laps to go before holding off a talented peloton in hot pursuit coming into the final corner. Bell took the win just five seconds ahead of the chase. Continuing on his hot streak, Veilleux won the bunch sprint for second. After leading Veilleux out, Anderson held off a hard-charging Andrew Pinfold of UnitedHealthcare by two-tenths of a second to claim third place.
His second place finish meant a 6-second time bonus for Veilleux, which was just enough to edge out Pro Tour rider Svein Tuft for the overall Tour de Delta title.
Mighty Riders’ Claire Cameron jumped past Total Restoration teammates Laura Brown and Jasmin Glaesser with 200 meters left down the final straightaway to win the White Spot Road Race in a dramatic bunch sprint finish. Brown’s second-place finish Sunday allowed her to retain the overall lead she took by winning the MK Delta Prologue on Friday night and kept with a second-place finish in the Canadian Criterium Championship Saturday.