Two crits are on-tap this weekend in Northern California. On Saturday, the San Rafael Twilight Crit in its 13th year is bringing out some of the top American sprinters to battle against the locals. Many of the same riders will migrate a couple of hours north for the Lodi Cycle Fest p/b Michael David Winery on Sunday.
The San Rafael Twilight Crit takes place on a four-corner 1-km course in downtown San Rafael all day culminating with the pro/1/2 men’s race exploding in the dark of the night.
Two-time winner Ken Hanson (Jelly Belly) is racing in Europe and will not be defending his title but 2008 San Rafael Twilight victor Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly) will be in the house fresh off his stage win at Nature Valley Grand Prix a couple of weeks ago. Van Ulden took the win out of a break but the last two years, the race came down to a bunch sprint. One rider that is hoping for a bunch sprint is Rahsaan Bahati (SKLZ/Pista Palace) who finished second that past two years and wants that top step. While Van Ulden will be riding solo, Bahati will be supported by four teammates.
Also making the trip to the Bay Area are Alex Candelario and his Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth teammate, and Nature Valley Grand Prix overall winner, Jesse Anthony. Other local pros riding solo include Roman Kilun (Kenda/5-Hour Energy), Andy Jacques-Maynes (BISSELL), Freddie Rodriguez (Exergy) and Kirk Carlsen (Chipotle Development). But the pros will have their hands full with a full field that include top local talents such as 2010 Elite Crit Champion Steve Reaney and his CalGiant teammates and Logan Loader (RideClean). And of course, expect Nate English (Yahoo! Cycling) to be attacking and pushing for a break as he does. (See roster)
A small field, of only 32 riders, is registered for the women 1/2/3 race. One of the favorites is certainly 2009 winner Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) is back to defend after missing last year’s race. Rivera claimed the USA U23 National Criterium Championship, her 33rd USA Cycling national title in June. Rivera and her teammates will be battling strong riders including Vanessa Drigo (Vanderkitten-Focus), Mary-Ellen Ash (Metromint) who just won the Davis Fourth of July Crit and Rebecca Werner (Webcor/Alto Velo). One rider to watch is Swiss TT and Road Champion Pascale Maria Schnider who was riding very strong at the Testarossa Velodrome Challenge last weekend. (See roster)
The women race at 6:30pm PST, the men at 8pm. Follow @podium_live for updates during the race (hashtag #srt)
The racing continues on Sunday with the Lodi Cycle Fest p/b Michael David Winery in the quaint downtown area of Lodi, in the northern portion of California’s Central Valley. The race is run on an 0.8-mile (1.2km) figure-8 course with tight turns, good pavement and some brick and/or cobblestone.
The women 1/2/3 race 55 minutes starting at 12:10pm and the men pro/1/2 race 65 minutes starting at 1:15 pm PST.