By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
Both the men's and women's fields for the 11th CSC Invitational outside of Washington, DC, are quite strong this year, including two ProTour men's teams with CSC and High Road. The tough course on the streets of Clarendon in Arlington, Virginia, feature sharp turns, a long finish stretch and a pace that keeps most riders on the rivet. This, combined with a quality field, makes this race a feather in the cap for any domestic team. Last year's men's winner Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) said on the awards podium, "besides winning Nationals, this is the biggest win I have ever had!"
Both men's ProTour teams have more than adequate riders, including Bernhard Eisel (High Road) and Matthew Goss (CSC). Unfortunately, CSC will not be bringing their talented speedster Juan Jose Haedo. However, another Haedo will be in the running for the domestic teams. The younger Haedo brother Lucas Sebastian, who races for JJ's former domestic team Colavita-Sutter Home, already has a number of quality wins this year. Health Net-Maxxis will have to convert from its recent domination of US stage races to criteriums, and will likely rely on US criterium champion Kirk O'Bee and Tasmanian Karl Menzies for this job. Rock Racing will have three-time USPRO road champion Fred Rodriguez to help defend its title.
In the women's race, three former winners will race against each other for the first time at this event. German Ina Teutenberg (High Road) is keeping up her usual winning ways this year. Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) comes to this race once again as the reigning US criterium champion and herself off of two stage wins at the recent Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. Finally, Cheerwine's Laura Van Gilder has raced in all but two years at this event and is the defending champion. Her team is coming off a one-two finish at the tough Tour de Leelanau last weekend.
The two races begin after amateur events at 10:15am with the women racing 50 kilometres. The 100-kilometre men's race is the final event of the day, scheduled to begin at 12:15. The spectator friendly course is located aroundf the start-finish area at the Clarendon Metro stop in Arlington, VA at 3100 Wilson Blvd.