Although New York City did not get the 2012 Olympic Games, New Yorkers have a chance to watch an Olympic champion go for the win this Saturday in Central Park. American Marty Nothstein, gold medal winner in the Sydney Games track cycling competitions, leads a very strong field in Saturday's Mengoni Grand Prix bicycle race, to be held in Central Park.
Nothstein, of the Navigators pro team, is bringing top teammates as well - including Russian Olympians Vasilli Davidenko and Oleg Grishkine and the reigning Irish national champion David O'Loughlin. This is Nothstein's final year of racing, and he faces strong challenges in trying to win the Mengoni Grand Prix for the first time in several attempts.
Among the other favourites are two riders from the Dominican Republic who both now reside in New Jersey. One is last year's winner Melito Heredia of the Toga Bikes team. The other is another former winner (and a former Dominican national champion), Roselvert "Pollo" Marte of the GS Mengoni Team.
The GS Mengoni team, like Saturday's race, is sponsored by Fred Mengoni, a former competitive cyclist from Italy who has played a key role in the development of bike racing in the US through support for many past champions. The GS Mengoni team includes Discovery Channel cyclist George Hincapie, former world-professional champion Mike McCarthy and 1984 Olympic gold medallist Alexi Grewal (all of the US) among its alumni. Mr. Mengoni, who made his fortune in real estate in New York, considers himself one of Greg LeMond's closest advisors.
Saturday's lineup also includes 23-year-old Lisban Quintero of the GS Mengoni team, Todd Herriott and Davide Frattini of the Colavita-Sutter Home professional team, the UPMC-America's Cycling Team with 2002 winner Joe Papp and two former Uruguayan national champions (Alvaro Tardaguila and Mateo Sasso) and the Jittery Joe's-Kalahari pro team led by former junior world champion Jeff Hopkins. Also racing are Wendy Cruz (who captured the inaugural edition of the Tour of Puerto Rico earlier this year), Emile Abraham (the top rider from Trinidad and Tobago), and 2004 Mengoni Grand Prix runner-up Bill Elliston with his Argentinean teammate Alejandro Acton.
Among members of the promoting club, Kevin Molloy of the CRCA-Axis team will lead the charge.
In the women's race, Ashley Kimmet of Colavita-Cooking Light returns to defend her 2004 and 2002 wins. She'll face local sprinters such as Caryl Gale of CRCA-TEAm Lipton, Sarah Chubb-Sauvayre of CRCA-Comedy Central, Ashley McCullough of Deno's Wonder Wheel and Hannah Long of CRCA-Sanchez-Metro.
Start time is 6:00AM. Expected finish time is 7:15AM for the 30-mile women's race and 7:40AM for the 42-mile men's event. The total prize list is $5,000.