The Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove, the land of cash and turns, a purse of $50,000 and 565 turns – give or take a few – over three days of racing for the pro men. With flat as a pancake courses, a short time-trial and lots of bonus seconds, this is one for the sprinters.
The Men’s Pro 3-day, 3-stage – a time trial, a circuit race and a crit – are all held in the in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove Village which explains the number of turns. Each stage winner gets a big check and the overall winner will get the biggest single individual prize: $18,000. Finally, the winner in the team classification gets $2,000. The total purse for all the racing over all categories this weekend is $150K.
With that amount of cash and NRC points also up for grabs, you can count on the racing to be aggressive. All previous winners are returning – with full squads – two with the UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis team, Karl Menzies who won in 2009 and Hilton Clarke in 2006, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda’s Mike Friedman who won in 2007 and Kelly Benefit Strategies’ David Veilleux in 2008. Also in the mix are FLY V Australia, Jamis/Sutter Home, BISSELL, Mt Khakis f/b Jittery Joe’s and Team Hotel San Jose. Once again, Chris Horner (Radioshack) is racing solo and will be a marked man (See very preliminary roster).
Follow @podium_live for updates during the race, and stay tuned for reports and photos.
The stages. (See cheat sheet for maps and details). The race starts off with a 4.5-mile (7.2-km) time trial on an out-and-back course with five turns and a long finishing straight. The first rider goes off at 5:30pm, and every rider thereafter at 1 minute interval. A short-enough course that sprinters won’t lose too much time on the TT specialist. Last year, Tom Zirbel (BISSELL) clocked the fastest time of 8:25 with eventual overall winner Menzies finishing 3rd at four seconds.
Saturday is the 96 miles (155 Km) AXA Equitable Road Race, 10 laps with 26 turns each – for a grand total of 260 turns, and some are tight. Time bonuses of 20, 12 and 6 seconds at the finish and also awarded to top 3 in the three intermediate sprint points competition. Last year, the stage came down to a bunch sprint won by Colavita/Sutter Home’s Sebastian Haedo ahead of Menzies and Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia).
The race concludes Sunday, with the 72 miles (115 km) Gullo International Criterium with, you guessed it, more turns. A total of 60 laps of the 1.2-mile (2 km) circuit with four 90 turns and one 180-degree turn and a long straightaway to the finish line. That makes 300 turns. Once again, time bonuses of 20, 12 and 6 seconds at the finish and also awarded to top 3 in the three intermediate sprint points competition. Cantwell came out on top of the chaotic sprint last year ahead of Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) and Haedo.