After 23 years at the same location, the US Pro Criterium Championships has a new location in Glencoe, Ill., a northern Chicago suburb and has aldo gained a new sponsor. The 2010 AT&T USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship will now be the showcase race at the Glencoe Grand Prix on Saturday, August 14.
During all those years at Downer’s Grove, the USA Pro Crit National Championships came down to the final corner where position was key; everyone wanted to be the first one out of the corner which was at only 150 meters from the finish line. But now it’s a whole new ballgame.
“Everyone knows how the race goes down because of years past it’s been the same thing. But this year, it’s a new open course, the end result could be totally different.” said 2006 US Pro National Crit Champion Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda). “Even though the course doesn’t have a key spot in it where it’s going break up the field, and teams are still going to want to go for a bunch sprint but anything can happen this year, it’s such a different course and different dynamics, I think teams have to be attentive.” (Stay tuned for interview with Huff).
The US Pro Crit is part of the Glencoe Grand Prix which offers up a full day of racing for different categories including a pro/1/2 women’s crit. Note that the Women US Elite Crit Champion, Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) was crowned in Bend earlier this year.
A big unknown. The new 10-corner, 1.3 mile (2.1 km) course at Glencoe has a figure-eight design and a short uphill leg-burner midway through the course. The two-block straightaway leading into the final turn should be an ideal stretch for lead-out trains, and the last corner is wide with a good surface. The course was modified from last year’s GP, with its length increased from 0.9-mile and it is now run clockwise – so everyone is coming into an unknown.
The 60-minute Pro/1/2 women race starts at 3:45pm CT for a purse of $7,500 and the 2010 AT&T USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship, 100-km long, starts at 7pm CT with $15,000 and the title on the line.
Follow @podium_live for live updates for the women and men races.
First and …. second? The US Pro Crit Championships, is the only Championships left in the US that still allows non-American to race, which means that the winner of the title does not have to win the race. Just like last year when Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) won in Downer’s Grove with John Murphy coming in second place to claim the Stars & Stripes. Murphy is currently racing in Europe with the BMC team and will not be defending the jersey. It does lead to interesting choices in certain teams, do you support your faster non-American sprinter or your American sprinter, or try to do both?
The other question is – can anyone beat Cantwell? While Kersten is back, the big favorite for the win is Jonathan Cantwell of Fly V Australia. The man is on fire. In the past weeks, he racked up six wins in a row in mass-start stages/races – the final three races at the Point Premium Root Beer International Cycling Classic Superweek Pro Tour, two stages at Elk Grove, and the win at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational in Charlotte. Canadian
Crit Champion David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit) came close to Cantwell in one stage at Elk Grove and sat up, with his team, the Charlotte crit. He did just win the Mardis Cyclistes de Lachine on Tuesday night in Montreal. But then, Kelly Benefit also has American Alex Candelario who has come close to the jersey and this year has been providing expert leadouts to Veilleux.
Team Type 1 also has a choice between American Ken Hanson, who won the 2008 Elite Crit Championships as an amateur and Aldo Ino Ilesic, of Slovenia. Same for BISSELL with Kiwi Paddy Bevin.
2008 US Pro Crit Champ Rahsaan Bahati would love to re-take the jersey but his Bahati Foundation team is not fielding a full squad. Jelly Belly p/b Kenda has multiple choices with Huff, Mike Friedman and Sean Mazich. The list of American sprinters goes on with Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis), Mark Hekman and Isaac Howe on Mt Khakis f/b Jittery Joe’s. Or will a break make it to the line with a power rider? (see preliminary roster)
Huff was right when he said “It’s an exciting time in the United States.”
Women’s race. While the women’s race is not a championship race, there’s still the win and the $7,500 purse on the line, the racing will still be aggressive. Devon Haskell is back to defend with the TIBCO/To The Top squad with current US U23 Criterium Champion Samantha Schneider. Presbyterian Hospital Invitational winner Theresa Cliff-Ryan is in the house with, for now, two Colavita/Baci teammates including the always dangerous Modesta Vzesniauskaite. Team VBF is fielding six riders which include Robin Farina and Carrie Cash Wooten who won the final crit at the Alexian Bros Tour of Elk Grove. Riding solo once again, Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) will be hoping to disrupt the trains which she almost did at Charlotte, coming in second. (See very preliminary roster).
Schneider previewed the course in May. “All the bases are very well covered–both spectator and racer-wise,” she said at that time. “The course offers a wide variety. I love the corners because it adds a technical aspect to the course. The final straight is fast and perfect for sprinters.”
Activities galore. A full slate of activities will take place in conjunction with the Glencoe Grand Prix throughout the weekend beginning with a professional team development seminar, August 13 at 4:00 p.m. at the Glencoe Village Hall. This session is aimed at amateur teams looking to take the next step into the professional arena and will be hosted by a panel of experts including USA Cycling’s Managing Director of National Events and former Jittery Joe’s General Manager, Micah Rice. The event press conference (streamed live) will follow at 6:00 p.m. at the Glencoe Village Hall where top athletes will be on hand to answer questions from the media.