The UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis team sprinted to the top three spots on the podium at the Air Force Cycling Classic's Crystal City Cup on Sunday in Virginia. Jake Keough crossed the line first with a victory salute ahead of his two lead-out men Karl Menzies, who placed second, and the previous day's Clarendon Cup winner Hilton Clarke in third.
"The wind was tricky today, so Hilton went on the right and that allowed me to get the run up to Karl," Keough said. "I felt other guys coming up on my shoulder and I kept going. I looked across and we were all together so it really could not have been better."
"We showed yesterday that we had all eight of us there at the end and Hilton had the legs to kill it," he added. "I think it was obvious that we had the full lead-out today and it was just a matter of putting it all together right. I couldn't be happier with how this weekend has gone for us."
UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis stretched its legs at the front of the peloton for the remaining four laps with an eight-man lead-out. Keough took the reins on the back of the train behind his last lead-out men Menzies and Clarke.
"Since the start of the season we've known that we have the fastest group of riders," Keough said. "It was kind of irrelevant who was the main sprinter today because we were all coming to the line together with fast sprinters. I've normally been the last sprinter and no matter what the order is in the line up it works out."
Some 120 Pro riders hovered under an overpass to stay out of the sun before the start of the AirForce Cycling Classic's Crystal City Cup. The warm temperatures from the previous day's 100 km Clarendon Cup might have zapped the rider's legs of some energy but it was nothing compared to the still, heavy air that weighed down the peloton before the start of the 90-minute criterium on-hand.
Fausto Fognini (Amore e Vita) kicked off the race with a strong attack followed by Justin Linden (BikeReg.com-Cannondale) and Stephen Cummings (Haymarket). The trio worked well together but the moved proved to be too early and did not include representation from the several other dominant squads.
Richmond Pro Cycling and BikeReg.com-Cannondale continued to put forth multiple strong attacks that shook up the peloton and forced a chase from behind. Josh Dillon (BikeReg.com-Cannondale) launched himself off the front to win a pair of Shimano racing wheels.
Jake Rytlewski (Kenda p/b Geargrinder) and Evan Fader (Kelly Benefit Strategies-LSV) initiated a two-man move that struggled to gain more than a mere 10-second gap ahead of an active field. Their efforts acted as a launching pad for the previous day's breakaway rider Sergey Grechin (Amore e Vita) allowing him to gain a few seconds. Next to go was the dangerously fast sprinter Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita) and Phil Gaimon (Kenda-Geargrinder).
Daniel Holt (Team Type 1) rode off the front solo and was followed by a reshuffling group of riders that included Alessandro Bazzana (Fly V Australia), Adrian Hagyvary and Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis), Joey Rosskopf (Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes), Chris Monteleone (Kenda-Geargrinder) and Guido Palma (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita).
With three laps to go, all breakaway attempts were reeled back into the field by the beginning of the sprinter's lead-out trains. UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis was the first rally at the front with a series of strong sprinters in tow that included Clarke, Menzies and Keough. They were swiftly followed by the Bissell team working for Daniel Holloway, Fly V Australia protected Ben Kersten and Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita supporting Ivan Dominguez.
"Coming on the team, I am not just the one sprinting," Clarke said. "We were all still there with 200 metres to go and so we had a lot of depth in this sprint today, even though we started the lead-out a little too early. We lined up with Menzies, me then Keough and sometimes in these lead-outs you don't know if you are going to run out of guys so if we did, Keough would have been the last guy we were leading out. But today, Menzies and I were still sort of shooting for the win and we were all sprinting for the line together and Jake got it."
Farina brings home the Crystal Cup
Robin Farina (Vera Bradley Foundation) won the sprint against a late-race breakaway of three riders to win the Air Force Cycling Classic's Crystal City Cup held in Virginia on Sunday. The breakaway specialist lead-out the sprint through the final corner and held off Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light) who placed second and local rider Erin Silman (Fruit 66) in third.
"I'm really happy about this win because the whole weekend was a great event," Farina said. "I thought the courses were fun and we are happy with getting third yesterday and the win today."
"Cath was sitting on me from the last turn," she added. "I've been working on sprinting lately so I was watching her from under my arm. I felt like I had some confidence today. I made sure I was in a gear that I could keep going during the sprint."
The 40-rider women's field welcomed the cloud cover that took the edge off of the stifling 90 degree heat during the 60-minute criterium at the Crystal City Cup.
"The heat made it tough out there," Farina said. "It was a long race in the heat yesterday, too, so I don't think we could have made it for much longer today. I think it affected the pack but I felt good in the breakaway. I thought maybe I was doing too much too early so I was worried that the heat would catch up with me later in the race. I hydrated well and felt OK."
Several small breakaways rolled off the front of the field but none gained more than a few metres before they were brought back by strong teams like Colavita-Baci, Vera Bradley Foundation and Kenda.
"I was in a breakaway first with Andrea Dvorak from Colavita and Sinead Miller from Peanut Butter," Farina said. "We had a little room on that one but I think it was a little too early. I think maybe it wasn't a good break for us. Sarah Caravella came across and she is a good sprinter so I sat up and let the field come back."
Vera Bradley Foundation had three riders participating in the weekend's set of criteriums with Robin Farina, Carla Swart and the previous day's Clarendon Cup podium finisher Erica Allar. The three women were aggressive despite being short handed and responded to many of the attacks that came from the dominant Colavita-Baci squad.
Cath Cheatley initiated the winning breakaway and was followed by Farina and a local Crystal City rider Erin Silman (Fruit 66). The cycling newcomer hung on to the fast-pace set by the break's two veteran racers.
"I was watching Cath and Dvorak the whole race, covering them for a break," Farina said. "We knew they were going to be aggressive and that they would be OK with having a break. Cath and I drove the break and Erin seemed happy to sit on. She knew early that she wasn't going to out sprint us or go for primes she was there for the ride."
Farina lead the trio through the final three corners and onto the finishing straightaway with Cheatley and Silman on her wheel. She paid close attention to Cheatley, who started her sprint with 400 metres to go. Farina reacted to Cheatley's attack and was strong enough to maintain her lead all the way to the finish line.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis)|
|2||Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis)|
|3||Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Robin Farina (Vera Bradley Foundation)|
|2||Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light)|
|3||Erin Silman (Fruit 66)|