The Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team showed they are on form and ready for Philly week by winning six out of the nine races they entered in the week leading up to the important US event.
The winning streak began with former USPRO National Road Champion Chris Wherry winning the Iron Horse Criterium on May 26th in his hometown of Durango, Colorado. "It's really nice to make my way up to the top step again" said Wherry after his win.
The next win came by way of "The Horse" Dominique Rollin, who won the difficult Ricola Twilight Criterium in Baskin Ridge, New Jersey, on May 28th. The 40-mile mid-week criterium is known as one of the most difficult criteriums in the country due to its technical nature and tough uphill finish on the one-mile circuit. "After crashing in the final two laps at the Tour of Somerville Criterium a couple of days before, I was really motivated for a win" said Rollin. "I followed the Team Type 1 lead-out train the final lap and just overpowered them up the hill for the win," continued Rollin.
Just days before the Ricola win, Rollin also took third place at the Kelly Cup in Baltimore , MD. The result came on the heels of finishing a strenuous training block, as he was in his final preparation for Philly week. Rollin was in a break of eight riders that went up the road and during the final laps – not sure he was fresh enough to out-sprint his breakaway companions – he decided to just ride hard and try and take the sting out of their legs for the finale and was able to reduce the break to four riders.
In the final race before Philly week, Rollin raced the very technical and competitive 100K CSC Invitational Criterium in Arlington, Virginia. As he has been all week long, Rollin was by himself with no team-mates as they were racing in the mid-west. Rollin marked moves from the big teams and he ultimately ended up in a 13-man breakaway with riders from High Road, Slipstream, Health Net, Colavita-Sutter Home and a few others. The break gained a lap on the field with 39 laps to go. Colavita delivered Luca Damiani for the win, with Rollin right on his heals. "I felt so good today compared to last year, where I struggled out of the turns with the speed. Today, I was floating all the way around but came up a little short in the end, but I'm happy and ready for Philly week," said Rollin.
Meanwhile, Toyota-United sprinters decided to sharpen their legs at the Tulsa Tough Omnium Series in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from May 30 to June 1. The three-race criterium series was contested by 84 riders, trying to claim their share of the $75,000 prize purse. On the opening night of racing with temperatures at 95F and windy conditions, Toyota-United's Hilton Clarke, Jonny Clarke and Caleb Manion lapped the field with two other riders, Jeff Hopkins (Team Inferno) and Daniel Holloway (VMG/Felt). However, in a rare sight in professional cycling, the entire Toyota-United Team led-out there three men that lapped the field to insure the win and in so doing, crossed the line with six Toyota-United men giving the team first, second, third, sixth, seventh and eighth place, with Hilton Clarke taking the top honours for the team.
On day two, it was yet again, Toyota-United taking charge and lapping the field with Ivan Stevic, Hilton Clarke, Caleb Manion and Jonny Clarke with three other riders. The quartet was able to gap the other three riders and with Henk Vogels winning the field sprint, take first – fifth place. A Toyota-United first, with Ivan Stevic taking the win that night.
On the final day of racing, the course would prove to be much more challenging than the two nights before. The course was hilly and conditions were hot. However, the results were the same as Ivan Stevic, Caleb Manion and Jonny Clarke formed a breakaway with three other riders and in the end it was Stevic and Manion attacking their breakaway companions and finishing one-two, respectively. Stevic also won the overall omnium as well, with Manion in second and Jonny Clarke in third.