As the 21st running of the Tour de Lafayette kicked off the 2012 Gateway Cup, all eyes were on the impending storms blowing up from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. Amateur races were subjected to heavy downpours and tornado warnings throughout the day. When night began to fall for the pro fields taking the course, saturated roads and rain-laden skies awaited the field as they set off on the fastest course of the annual series of Labor Day criteriums in St. Louis, MO.
A field of ninety-one pro and category 1, 2 men took to the streets of the historic Victorian neighborhood in St. Louis, MO and raced as if the extreme drought in Missouri was still the order of the day. Aggressive racing marked the event and multiple attacks dangled in front of the pack with little room to breathe. As one of the elite squads in the field, Jelly Belly flexed their collective muscle early in the race pushing several feeler attacks meant to soften the field. Defending overall champions, Kenda/5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder, controlled the chase for their rider, Isaac Howe. Aiding in the pursuit was the local team of Gateway Harley Davidson, who set a furious pace to control breakaways and try to bring some glory to St. Louis.
With ten laps to go, a crash in the field split the group to pieces and Jelly Belly decided to take to the front and whittle the pack down to a fraction of its original size. Their collective will delivered the win to Missouri native Brad Huff who edged out Howe and forced Colton Barrett of Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies into third. To emphasize their dominance, Jelly Belly rounded out the top five with riders Sean Mazich and Ricardo Van der Velde.
The women’s race began in a driving rainstorm and while the weather loosened up a third of the way in, the event turned into a battle between the attacking riding of Vanderkitten -Focus and the will of the pack seeking a bunch sprint. St. Louis native Maura Kinsella of Vanderkitten spent the first several laps clear and continued her aggressive riding through out the race, attacking solo multiple times. In the end, Laura van Gilder, of Mellow Mushroom, asserted her dominance in the sprint, pushing Kat Carr, of Paceline products p/b Veloforma, into second with Amy McGuire, of FCS/Rouse p/b Mr. Restore, in third. For all their heroics, Vanderkitten could only manage fourth in the end for Vanessa Drigo.
Gateway Cup Tour de Lafayette Pro 1,2 Men
1. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
2. Isaac Howe (Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Gear Grinder)
3. Colton Barrett (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies_
4. Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
5. Ricardo Van der Velde (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
Gateway Cup Tour de Lafayette Pro 1,2 Women
1. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)
2. Kat Carr (Paceline Products p/b Veloforma)
3. Amy McGuire (FCS/Rouse p/b Mr. Restore)
4. Vanessa Drigo (Vanderkitten-Focus)
5. Carrie Cash Wooten (Pedal the Cause)