Despite the extensive gap in his 2007 racing calendar, Ivan Dominguez left no doubt during this year's Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium in Boise, Idaho that the 31-year old Cuban has returned to form. Dominguez flew out of the final corner of the 25,000 spectator-lined course after having been given a textbook leadout from Toyota-United teammate Caleb Manion. It was his second NRC-level victory and his first win in this year's USA CRITS Series after having been sidelined from racing following a crash during May's Tri-Peaks Challenge. Dominguez says he's finally feeling like his old self again.
"I was feeling good the whole race. It was very exciting. We did a great job," Dominguez said following the race.
The Wells Fargo Twilight Criterium started in 1987 as a local effort to advance the sport of cycling.
Dominguez and the rest of his Toyota-United squad controlled the final 10 laps of this classic race, keeping the speeds as high as possible in order to prevent any attacks coming from the rest of the field.
"My guys took the front with about 10 laps to go, and it was very easy to control because when you're going 60 or 65 km/h, no one's going to start attacking because they know that no one's going to go anywhere. The last lap was super fast and I came through the last turn behind Caleb and from there I went."
Giving chase behind Dominguez was an elite group of sprinters, that included current USA CRITS Series leader Mark Hekman, Jittery Joe's rider Jeff Hopkins, Successful Living's Ricardo Escuela, and AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork's Frank Travieso.
"Escuela was coming closer, and he came to my rear wheel. I went and started with a lot of speed, but I was having trouble with my gears and finally my 11 came through and that's when I got a little bit more acceleration.";
Dominguez said he's now eager to forget his lost time on the bike, and getting as many races under his belt as possible between now and the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) USA CRITS Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 27th which coincides with this year’s Interbike, North America’s largest bicycle trade show.
“(The crash)” is something I have to put in the past and forget about. I’m looking forward to Vegas. Do you have to ask? I’m going! I think the whole team is going to go.”
While Mark Hekman maintains his lead in the USA CRITS Series, Health Net rider Jeff Louder took the evening’s Most Laps Led prize.
The women’s race was dominated by Team Tamarack Resort’s Jenn Hallady who took not only the win but also the day’s Most Laps Led competition in front of current USA CRITS Series leader Laura Van Gilder.
The next stop in the USA CRITS Series takes place on August 4th with the Presbyterian Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Formally known as the Bank of America Criterium, the race consists of a 1.25 mile course at the heart of the city and is often referred to as "The Worldss Richest Criterium".