Most men’s and women’s teams were not fielding full squads for the second race on the NRC, the Sunny King Criterium, and the results could not have been any different. Control in one and chaos in the other. And all under the darkness of night with only a few lights illuminating the course.
In the women’s race, the Colavita Forno d’Asolo controlled from start to finish where Janel Holcomb claimed a solo win and her first NRC win. Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) took the field sprint for second ahead of Kelly Benjamin (Colavita Forno d’Asolo).
The men’s race was a free for all with no team able to take control and attacks after attacks flew. In the end, Australian Crit Champion Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) won the bunch sprint with Mike Northey (Pure Black Racing) second and Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ Pista Palace) third.
Control. Using its numbers, the Colavita Forno d’Asolo dominated the 60-minute race held earlier today in Anniston, Alabama. In the first laps, Andrea Dvorak (Colavita Forno d’Asolo) took a solo flyer and quickly established a gap. Behind her, the chase could not get organized and that was really the story of the day.
TIBCO/To The Top and Rouse Bicycles gave chase but it down to one rider per team, with most teams not fielding full squads to keep the travel costs down. After 30 minutes of time-trialing at the front, Dvorak started to slow down and falter and the field finally reeled her in. Holcomb was ready. With about 20 minutes to go, Holcomb counter-attacked when Dvorak was caught.
“We came through the start/finish with a prime, I think we caught Andrea right before the first turn.” Holcaomb told race announcer Chad Andrews after the race. “We went around the second turn, people were sitting up and I had an opening on the left-hand side because the entire team was up in front. If anyone was going to go, we were ready to cover and I had an opportunity, everyone was in front of me and I just went for it.”
Holcomb was able to open a gap on the field, and hold it to the line. Once again, the chase could not organized as her gap grew to 50 seconds. The field settled to fight for the other podium spots.
“[DS] Rachel [Heal] knew that we had the advantage, we have the numbers and we also a very strong team. All the six of us who are here were capable of winning this race, we could win from a small break, we could win it solo and we could win it from the bunch, we just have riders who are able to cover those kinds of situations. So yeah, we wanted to be aggressive. Andrea took the bull by the horns and got it going right from the gun. For all we knew, she could have lapped the field so we had the advantage to sit in the field and rest while she was doing that and it worked out from there.” Holcomb added.
That makes another win for the team who claimed three stage wins at the NRC opener Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Chaos. It was all out non-stop attacking in the men’s 60-lap race with the Kiwi team Pure Black Racing launching grenade after grenade. Riders were off solo, in pairs or in bigger groups but nothing was sticking. It wasn’t just the Kiwis, BISSELL, Kenda/5-Hour Energy, RealCyclist.com, Chipotle Development, Kelly Benefit-OptumHealth and Mt Khakis all tried their luck off the front.
Then with 30 minutes to go, a dangerous group of 12 riders was off with about 13 laps to go. But the group could not get organized to push the pace and increase the gap.
“There was a pretty decisive move with about 30 minutes to go and I actually thought that was going to be it because there was about 11 or 12 guys in the break.” Cantwell commented. “I think the thing with tonight’s race, it wasn’t full teams here with 6 to 8 guys where they can really control the race. We only had 3 guys here from V Australia so it was kind of everyone for themselves and I’m surprised that a break didn’t go tonight because every year it does.”
It all came together with five to go. Cantwell explained, “With three laps, it was full gas, the average speed tonight was about 47 km per hour. It was a fight for position and being on a street race at night time so late, it’s really hard to see, you can’t tell if someone is to your left or someone to your right, you really have to have eyes at the back of your head on a race like this.”
With two laps to go, BISSELL was organizing at the front but Cantwell was sitting right behind and ready to go.
Back to back wins for V Australia at Sunny King Crit following last year’s win by Ben Kersten,
After the race, the Mt Khakis team tweeted “Luke Keough was 3rd tonight at #sunnyking, but disqualified for being given a free lap just as the free lap expired. Heartbreaking.”
Top 3 Women Results (Complete Results)
1. Janel Holcomb (Colavita / Forno D’Asolo)
2. Samantha Schneider (TIBCO to The Top)
3. Kelly Benjamin (Colavita / Forno D’Asolo)
4. Christina Gokey-Smith (Rouse Bicycles)
5. Laura Van Gilder
6. Meredith Miller (TIBCO to The Top)
7. Carrie Cash Wootten (Pedal the Cause)
8. Kate Chilcott
9. Debbie Milne (Absolute Racing Team)
10. Cinthia Lehner
Top 3 Men Results (Complete Results)
1. Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia)
2. Mike Northey (Pure Black Racing)
3. Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ Pista Palace)
4. Patrick Bevin (BISSELL)
5. Raymond Kreder (Chipotle Developent) B
6. Luca Damiani (KENDA Pro Cycling)
7. Emile Abraham (AeroCat Cycling)
8. Ty Magner (Team Type 1 Development)
9. Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare)
10. Daniel Holt (Team Type 1- Development)