UnitedHealthCare was able to shake off their recent bad luck and deliver Robert Förster to his second win of the season at the Clarendon Cup, a National Criterium Calendar event. Förster and several break mates would use the six-corner course to their advantage and lap the field in one of the few 100-kilometer races left in the United States.
Förster, who won his first NCC race in St Louis earlier this spring at the Tour de Grove, came to the race thinking he was on domestique duty. "I did a good training last week, long training," said Förster. "I thought I'd make the lead out for the other guys, and then I was in the break. It's hard but I'm still happy."
Jamis-Sutter Home rider Jamie Driscoll initiated the main move of the day and was rewarded for his efforts with the most aggressive jersey. The strong effort by Driscoll took its toll. "I was glad to hear people yell that three people were coming across,” said Driscoll a renowned US cyclocross racer. “When I saw them they had a significant gap from the field and I decided to sit up because they were going to catch me inevitably."
The break, composed of Förster, Logan Loader (Team Exergy), and Alexey Shmidt (Team Type 1 Development), worked smoothly over the next twenty laps and lapped the field with forty laps to go. "Sometimes somebody's not working, and try to save," said Russian sprinter Alexey Shmidt. "Not today, today everybody's working."
For Team Exergy, who took control of the later half of the race in order to set up Logan Loader for the finish, the day was a mixed blessing. "We lapped the filed with a good guy. It was a tough call with Förster in there,” said Team Exergy DS Tad Hamilton. “We could have sat Logan up, but I like my guys to ride. It gives them motivation to know that they can ride for the team and be the leader on occasion."
The early race was marked by attacks from Team Type 1, Team Exergy, and United Health Care. Jamis-Sutter home sent Driscoll off the front 25 laps into the race never to return. Förster, Loader, Shmidt organized a chase and made contact with Driscoll at 60 laps to go. The break worked efficiently together and caught the field over the next twenty laps. Once they made contact with the pack Exergy controlled the race until 10 laps to go at which point United Health Care took over at the front to set up Förster and keep the closing laps safe. For Exergy the United Health Care train would prove too powerful to overcome. Förster beat his break companions to the line, but was passed at the line by Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy), whose finish would give him fifth overall. Shmidt would take second, followed by Driscoll. Loader, who ended up on the wrong wheel and lost contact with leaders in the final lap, took a hard fought fourth.
Even with a top notch lead out from his team Förster had a scare coming into the final corner, "My back wheel slipped in the last corner so I was a little bit off, 45-60 degrees, and stopped pedaling for four to five meters," said Förster. "I started sprinting but the gear was too high, 53 x 12, and I was full on the limit. I saw an Exergy guy and I was like aahhh, I hope it's not number 12 (Loader.)"
At the finish Team Exergy already had their eye on the second day of the Air Force Cycling Classic, the Crystal Cup. "For us it's been like this all spring," said DS Tad Hamilton, "I think it’s just a matter of moving from third position, to first position, and hopefully this is the year we can get it done."
Grant's winning strategy
Emma Grant took her first US win at the Clarendon Cup on day one of the Air Force Cycling Classic in Arlington Virginia. Grant, a British rider for the Optum Health p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies squad, spent 30 laps of the race off the front with TIBCO's Kendall Ryan before jumping away with five to go for a solo win.
The Clarendon Cups downtown circuit zig-zags through a revitalized section of Arlington, Virginia, which is located directly across from Washington DC. The short one-kilometer course, strong wind, hot sun, and a slight uphill drag to the finish ensured that the two major teams in attendance, Optum and TIBCO, would be active from the gun. "We wanted to be aggressive and get a breakaway." said Optum Director Rachel Heal "The girls race really well when they race aggressive."
TIBCO, led by former road race national champion Meredith Miller, joined Optum in several early attempts to split up the field with a break. "It started off as a fast race," said Miller who is only just starting her road campaign. "It took a while for anything to materialize. There were a few breaks that would go for three, four laps and come back together if it wasn't the right mix."
Winner, Emma Grant, who will be heading back to the UK for the British national road championships this week, came into today's race fresh off of a big block of training in her adopted hometown of Asheville, NC. "My team came to this race pretty tired from Philly and Exergy Tour, but I was feeling pretty fresh so I just wanted to be as aggressive as possible, and set Leah up for the win." said Grant. “I ended up
getting in the move, so I just kept pressing on."
The 50-kilometer criterium started with constant attacks from TIBCO and Optum. The pack reshuffled every few laps until Grant, Ryan, and Kacey Manderfield (Pure Energy Cycling) managed to drive a break up to 16 seconds 20 laps into the race. Just as the break was about to be absorbed into the pack Grant attacked again, taking Ryan with her. As Manderfield sat up and exited the break, Optum and TIBCO decided the right mix was in place and the field slowed their efforts, which enabled Grant and Ryan to start increasing their lead. At five to go Grant attacked on the final straight and rode away from Ryan for the eventual win. After being dropped by Grant, Ryan struggled but was able to hold off the pack for second place. Leah Kirchman (Optum Health) opportunistically used the powerful TIBCO lead out train, lead by Meredith Miller and Joeanne Kiesanowski, to win the field sprint and take third place.
"It's a young team here. A young and inexperienced team, and they raced really well," said Optum Director Rachel Heal. "They were represented in every break, and when that one went we thought it was coming back. I told Emma look behind her, she saw it was coming and went again"
For Kirchman her team's win and her own podium was a positive sign going into day two of the Air Force Cycling Classic, The Crystal Cup. "I love tomorrows' race," said Kirchman who has several top finishes this year including a podium at the Exergy Tour. "I won that stage (Crystal Cup) last year." The Air Force Cycling Classic, which is part of the National Criterium Calendar, is splitting the top teams this week, with the Tulsa Tough, which is being run in Tulsa Oklahoma.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|2||Alexey Shmidt (Team Type 1 - Sanofi )|
|3||Jamie Driscoll (Jamis-Sutter Home)|
|4||Logan Loader (Team Exergy )|
|5||Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy )|
|6||Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|7||Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|8||Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|9||Luke Keough (Mock Orange Racing)|
|10||David Lozano (Team Type 1 - Sanofi )|
|11||Barry Miller (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|12||Adam Farabaugh (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|13||John Grant (Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team P/B Motorex)|
|14||Ryan Dewald (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|16||Keck Baker (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|17||Gavriel Epstein (Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes)|
|18||Faustino Alzate (Team Exergy )|
|19||Mart Ojavee (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)|
|20||Phil Mooney (Yahoo Cycling Team)|
|21||Neil Bezdek (Team Mountain Khakis)|
|22||Gabe Lloyd (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|23||Jon Hamblen (Team Mountain Khakis)|
|24||Peter Van Dijk|
|25||Jackie Simes (Kenda - 5-Hour Energy Cycling Team )|
|26||Sean Barrie (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|27||Ben Chaddock (Team Exergy )|
|28||Pat Raines (Team Mountain Khakis)|
|29||Steven Wong (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)|
|30||John Bergmann (TEAM CLIF BAR Cycling)|
|32||Jared Nieters (XO COMMUNICATIONS p/b CISCO)|
|34||Adrian Hegyvary (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) (Lake Washington Velo)|
|35||Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)|
|36||Anuar Manan (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)|
|37||Andres Diaz (Team Exergy )|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Emma Grant (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies )|
|2||Kendall Ryan (Get Crackin'-MS Society)|
|3||Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies )|
|4||Jennifer Purcell (TIBCO to The Top)|
|5||Samantha Schneider (TIBCO to The Top)|
|6||Joanne Marie Kiesanowski (TIBCO to The Top)|
|7||Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training pb ABRC)|
|8||Jessica Chong (Morgan Stanley Cycling Team)|
|9||Lenore Pipes (River CIty Women's Racing)|
|10||Lex Albrecht (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies )|
|11||Kacey Manderfield (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|12||Kate Veronneau (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|13||Anna Barensfeld (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|14||Amy Cutler (Riptide Cycling)|
|15||Arley Kemmerer (MVP Health Care Cycling)|
|16||Kristin Lotito (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|17||Colleen Gulick (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)|
|18||Erin Silliman (MVP Health Care Cycling)|
|19||Marni Harker (Team Kenda)|
|20||Jennifer Wheeler (Lake Washington Velo)|
|21||Kristine Church (Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom)|
|22||Julie Kuliecza (Tradewinds Elite)|
|23||Meredith Miller (TIBCO to The Top)|
|24||Victoria Hanks (Peanut Butter & Co. Human Zoom)|
|25||Erica Chard (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training pb ABRC)|
|26||Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder)|
|27||Bergen Watterson (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training pb ABRC)|
|28||Kathryn Clark (Team Kenda)|
|29||Amanda Watson (Tradewinds Racing)|
|30||Emma Swatman (Team Kenda)|
|31||colleen paine (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder)|
|32||Kelley Bethoney (Syn-Fit Race Team)|
|33||Wendy Ulmer (Pixel Envy Cycling)|
|34||Anne Racioppi (Team EPS/CSS p/b Shebell &Shebell)|
|DNF||Mindy Simmons (Mellow Mushroom Racing)|