ShoShani Laxson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes), Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) win inaugural UBC Grand Prix; Newest BC Superweek race big hit with fans and cyclist
report by BC Superweek
A couple of two-rider breakaways provided the winners of both the men’s and women’s race at the inaugural Original 16 UBC Grand Prix presented by Mahoney and Sons Public House on Tuesday night in Vancouver.
Carlos Alzate, a Columbian Olympian riding for the Idaho-based Exergy Pro Cycling Team, won a late sprint with Victoria’s Marsh Cooper to win the inaugural UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday night. Alzate and Cooper, who races for Minnesota-based Kelly Benefits Strategies Pro Cycling, broke away from the field 12 laps in and stayed ahead through the finish line, with the Columbian sprinter pulling ahead before the final corner to finish 40 laps of the hilly 1.3-kilometer circuit around the UBC campus in one hour, 15 minutes and 8.21 seconds.
“Carlos is a really good criterium guy and he showed today that he was very strong,” said Andres Diaz, a fellow Columbian and Exergy teammate, acting as Alzate’s interpreter. “We knew for sure that he was going to win.”
Cooper, who was three seconds back, knew too. Vancouver’s Ryan Anderson, home from Europe where he competes for Team Spidertech, a squad founded by Steve Bauer, won a sprint out of the chase group 37 seconds later to take third.
Alzate and Cooper spent the final 28 laps on their own, but Cooper was no match for the Columbian sprint specialist at the end, settling for second place.
“Alzate is incredibly strong. I felt that as long as I could hold onto him we would have a pretty good shot at staying away” said Cooper. “He’s an incredible bike handler and incredibly quick as well. I knew it was going to be extremely tough for me to take him and it kind of went the way I thought, unfortunately.”
Cooper, who is originally from Aldergrove and earned his US Pro Team job while racing BC Superweek for the local Trek Red Truck team, could have tried to hold Alzate up and set up a sprint with Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth Dan Holloway, who also happens to be the current USA Criterium champion.
“But he gave us the green light to go and this is my hometown race, so the boys were nice enough to give me a little bit of leash,” said Cooper.
It was also a home race for Anderson, who won the opening BC Superweek criterium at the Tour de Delta on Friday night. Neither he nor Cooper was able to come away with a win at UBC, but both left impressed by the first ever race.
“It was getting louder and louder and I want to give a big thank you to everyone who yelling my name out there, I really felt the support,” Cooper said.
In addition to $10,000 in prize money, organizers doled out more than $3,000 in designated lap primes, including a $1,250 crowd prime that was donated by the fans in attendance. Alzate took 2/3 of that for being first across the line and Exergy teammate Ben Chaddock, another local rider who earned his pro job with a strong BC Superweek performance last season, won the other $450 for being the first one across the line from the chase group on that same lap.
“BC Superweek is really important and to have this new event and be part of it was really important for cycling in Canada,” said Anderson, who spent the spring racing in Europe. “And to be in B.C. to do it is unbelievable for me.”
The women’s race also featured a two-rider break well out in front at the finish line, but that’s where the similarities to the men’s race ended, Shoshauna Laxson and Laura Brown only got away with five laps left in a 30-lap race that was filled with continuous attacks and countermeasures between their two teams.
Brown’s Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+ team did most of it, in large part to keep Laxson’s Trek Red Truck team from delivering Karlee Gendron to a sprint finish after she won both Tour de Delta criteriums over the weekend.
“We were just trying to make it as hard as possible for the Trek team to set up their sprinter,” Brown said. “We had to get a breakaway going. It was our best chance to win, so we just sent attack after attack after attack.”
Trek Red Truck covered each one, so when Brown, a World Cup track medalist and strong medal contender in pursuit at the 2012 Olympics in London, took off up the hill at the start-finish line, Laxson stayed right on her wheel.
She was content to let Brown do most of the work the rest of the way, knowing if the field caught up it would likely set Gendron up for another sprint victory. Instead they stayed away from the field, and Laxson surged past before the final corner, finishing 39-kilometers in one hour, four minutes and 11.4 seconds.
“It’s pretty exciting, my first win,” said Laxson, a Whistler native. “I was hurting really bad, I’m not going to lie. We were doing our best to follow their attacks. They had the numbers and if they kept working to get away and we weren’t on it well then they would have ridden away. She went and then I went.”
Gendron, who was also second in the road race, and took the overall at the Tour de Delta, won a sprint out of the final corner to finish third 45 seconds later.
“We fought hard, we didn’t give it up easy, not without a fight,” Brown said.
The $65,000 BC Superweek continues with the return of the Giro Di Burnaby on Thursday (another criterium), and then wraps up with the 32nd Tour de White Rock, a three-stage race that runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Top 10 Women Original 16 UBC Grand Prix (Complete Results)
1. Shani Laxson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes) 01:04:11.53
2. Laura Brown (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)
3. Karlee Gendron (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes) 01:04:56.443
4. Jenny Lehmann (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)
5. Shailie Sanbrooks (Russ Hays Bike Shop)
6. Noe Cooper (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)
7. Kristine Brynjolfson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)
8. Diane Campbell (CVC Racing)
9. Amy Dearden (Russ Hays Bike Shop)
10. Sarah Coney (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)
Top 10 Men Original 16 UBC Grand Prix
1. Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) 01:15:08.209
2. Marsh Cooper (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) 01:15:11.188
3. Ryan Anderson (Spider Tech) 01:15:48.345
4. Daniel Holloway (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)
5. Ben Chaddock (Team Exergy)
6. Tommy Nankervis (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team)
7. Michael Smith Larsen (Socalcycling team)
8. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)
9. Andres Diaz (Team Exergy)
10. Adam Carr (Form Fitness)