Two-time defending champion Devon Haskell will lead a four-rider Team TIBCO/To the Top squad in Saturday’s Glencoe Grand Prix. The race will be run on the same course and the same day as the men’s U.S. Pro Criterium Championship.
“I’m really happy to be back racing in Chicago,” said Haskell, who began her racing career while in school at the University of Chicago. “I’d definitely like to make it a three-peat in Glencoe, but I know we’ll be happy if the title stays within the team, no matter which of us wins.”
The course will go in a different direction with a different configuration from previous editions of the race. At just over 2 km and with 10 turns, the course is longer and more technical than the Downers Grove course that hosted the men’s and women’s national criterium championships the past 24 years.
Glencoe offers up enough climbing to cause separations and encourage attacks, in particular, the one-block climb up Hazel Avenue, followed by five blocks of false flat until the final turn and a fast run to the line. Unlike the Downers course, the last turn is wide open.
U23 criterium national champion Samantha Schneider, who will join Haskell in Glencoe, had a chance to preview the course earlier this year.
“I rode it with the promoter a couple months ago and it’s a really beautiful course,” Schneider said. “It has some similarities to Downers Grove but it’s more technical, which really adds to the criterium racing. But the last corner should be a lot safer than at Downers Grove. The town re-paved the roads so they’re super smooth. And the promoter has done a great job with the course to make it spectator friendly. The finishing straight goes right through the middle of downtown Glencoe. It should be a lot of fun to watch.”
If the race comes down to a sprint, Schneider will be one of the favorites. But if the hillier portions of the course cause the pack to splinter, the finish may suit Haskell or teammates Megan Guarnier and Meredith Miller.
Team TIBCO/To the Top for the Glencoe Grand Prix, August 14, 2010:
Megan Guarnier, USA
Devon Haskell, USA
Meredith Miller, USA
Samantha Schneider, USA