After an exciting season of outstanding competition, the stage is set for today's finale of the USA Crits 2008 Championship Series. Expect extremely aggressive fields of professional and elite male and female cyclists to speed along the one-of-a-kind course at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Firmly in their sights will be the prospect of a prestigious victory, lap-leader cash awards, team bragging rights, and a healthy prize purse to motivate racers to step up their performances.
Nobody has to spell that out for Cuba's Yosvany Falcon (Toshiba-Santo), who says he can't help but consider the racer who will try to knock him out of first place overall in the men's competition. Hot on Falcon's back wheels in the standings is Adam Myerson (Time Pro-Cycling), and the final race is nothing more than another chance to stage an upset. Here's how things stand right now at the top of the men's leader board.
"I'm excited about the final," says Falcon. "To win the USA Crits Series will probably be the best result for me in the United States this year. Of course, I'm going to try to maintain my lead using my speed because I definitely don't want him [Myerson] to pass me on the last lap." Falcon adds that he expects his Toshiba-Santo teammates Mark Hekman and Frank Travieso to help him fend off all threats.
The race is more than a little interesting in the women's lineup too. Cheerwine Cycling's Kelly Benjamin is in the overall lead, but the UNLV graduate is still being chased hard by Jennifer Wilson (Vanderkitten).
Benjamin has been a study in consistency for most of the USA Crits Series this year, and that has helped her stay just out of reach for months. The biggest question is this: Can she maintain her form and her lead to claim the championship, or is it physically and statistically possible for Wilson to catch and overtake her? It's a rivalry to watch. Also watch out for champion racers Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine).