Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis) capped off a successful weekend for Australians racing in the USA by capturing the overall title in the 2009 Tour of Elk Grove this weekend. For his efforts, he earned a $25,000 prize which he will share with his team.
The Tasmanian sprinter congratulated his teammates on a job well done in their efforts to maintain the race lead in the final stage, a criterium held in Elk Grove Village, Illinois on Sunday.
"All the fastest guys in the country were here and all the best teams," Menzies said. "It's just a shame you don't get this at every race. This is the best field assembled and it's amazing. Everyone comes here because there is good prize money but there is also great racing. The prize money was a bonus because we came here to win the race."
Menzies started the weekend by taking third place after the opening time trial. He moved into the race lead by virtue of capturing a time bonus for his second placed finish in the stage two road race on Saturday, and maintained it through the final criterium on Sunday.
Menzies' compatriot Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia) finished off a long month of racing in the Great Lakes region with a win in the final criterium in Elk Grove. The Australian maneuvered his way through a cagey 200-metre dash to the line, outpacing runner-up Ken Hanson (Team Type 1) and Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home), who placed third.
"Well, Karl's not really Australian because he's from Tasmania," laughed Cantwell. "The win today is really for my team, who did a lot of work. My guys rode for me and [Bernard] Sulzberger to get the win. It was a good weekend. The stage wins were our number one priority after we knew we weren't up there in the overall. Today we had the legs and it worked."
Cantwell and his teammate Bernard Sulzberger arrived to compete in the Tour of Elk Grove after a successful week at the International Cycling Classic, a 17-day string of races that concluded in last Sunday in Whitefish Bay, Milwaukee. Sulzberger, the Australian national criterium champion, won the overall there, maintaining his lead from the first race to the last. Cantwell placed third overall.
"I felt like these races in Elk Grove were stages 18, 19 and 20," laughed Cantwell. "We had a really good string of racing. There's no better way to prepare for a race like Elk Grove than to race 17 fast criteriums beforehand."