Luke Keough wins Old Pueblo Grand Prix

Kirchmann repeats as women's champion

The Old Pueblo Grand Prix in Tucson, Arizona was the first race in the USA Crits series - a ten-race event that travels through the US with the finale in Las Vegas during Interbike. In addition to a winner's jersey there are several other leader jerseys to contest: overall leader jersey, lap leader jersey for most laps in the front, under-25 rider, and Transitions Out of Sight jersey for the breakaway of the day.

The race also serves as the opening round of USA Cycling's National Criterium Calendar (NCC) series.

The Old Pueblo Grand Prix course was a .6 mile rectangular loop with both wide and then narrow stretches of road.

Elite women

An early solo attack by Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) developed into the winning move at the Old Pueblo Grand Prix with the defending champion taking the win.

The defending Old Pueblo champion Kirchmann quickly distanced herself from the peloton, finishing ahead of the field with a 40 second advantage.

The first $100 prime of the night was taken by Erica Allar (Care4Cyling p/b Solomon Corp) who had Annie Ewart (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) tucked onto her rear wheel. The duo only escaped for a couple of laps. The orange helmets of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies brought the duo to heel.

Soon the action reignited with a counter attack by Leah Kirchmann. She quickly had a 22-second advantage on the main field.

Kirchmann easily took the next $100 prime and instead of the prime motivating the peloton and reducing the time gap, the Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider increased her lead to 27 seconds.

With 17 laps remaining Kirchmann settled into time trial mode and her gap stabilized at 27 seconds. Her Optum teammates were monitoring the front not allowing other teams to organize a chase.

With 13 laps remaining Kirchmann's lead extended to 30 seconds. In an effort to motivate the peloton a field prime was announced and Terra James (Kenda p/b RACC) took the cash. The field prime did nothing to decrease the time gap between them and the solo rider, however. Instead, Kirchmann added four more seconds to her lead on the peloton.

With 10 laps remaining the gap had grown to 40 seconds between Kirchmann and the single-file peloton. Lauren Stephens (FCSJZngine p/b Mr. Restore) got to the front in a last ditch effort to bring her back, but it was too little too late.

With two laps remaining the 23-year old Canadian almost lapped the field, and barring disaster, was assured of victory at the Old Pueblo Grand Prix Criterium.

On the bell lap the chasing peloton spread itself out across the street in the battle for the lower placings. Nipping at the peloton's heels was Kirchmann who had plenty of time to post up and celebrate her solo victory.

The peloton sprinted out of the darkness with Erica Allar (Care4Cycling p/b Solomon), the 2012 USA Crits series leader, was the fastest in the peloton crossing the line in second place, 40 seconds behind Kirchmann. Rounding out the podium for third was Joanie Caron (Primal Pro Women p/b BH).

The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies team strategy was fairly simple.

"We wanted to have an aggressive race and to make it exciting," said Kirchmann. "We took turns and countered off each other's moves. It worked out that it was my move that stuck."

Being off the front for the majority of the race wasn't easy for the defending Old Pueblo Grand Prix champion, but was motivated by the crowd.

"It's a bit of a mental battle to stay focused and keep my efforts steady. The cheering really helped."

Being solo for the majority of the race Kirchmann earned all four USA Crits jerseys: leader's jersey, lap leader for most laps in the front, under-25 rider, and Transitions Out of Sight jersey for the breakaway of the day.

"I didn't know there was that many jerseys in the race," said Kirchmann. "This race has given me great confidence. I've been working on my time trialing and it's given me confidence to ride away from a group."

Elite men

A three-man break managed to hang off the front of the peloton for most of the race, but with three laps remaining the UnitedHealthcare-led peloton caught the break and lead-out their youngest member and sprinter Luke Keough for the win.

With the sun dipping under the horizon 103 pro/elite men lined up in downtown Tucson for the start of the Old Pueblo Grand Prix. The field faced 75 minutes of racing on the rectangular course.

The first $200 prime of the night got the field strung out in a fast, single-file formation.

Alexander Ray (ISCORP Racing Intelligentsia Coffee) broke away and took the cash. He stayed off the front as a five-deep points prime was announced. These points went to the USA Crits leader's jersey competition.

With multiple primes constantly being announced the speed was fast which resulted in a crash, sending many riders into the neutral pit. One of those in the pit was defending 2012 USA Crits series winner Luke Keough (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) who was clutching his shoulder. However, the 21-year-old from Massachusetts was pushed back into the race.

Alex Candelario (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategy), Juan Magallanes (P&S-Specialized), Carlos Alzate (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), and Eric Marcotte (Elbowz Racing) were the first significant break to gain on the peloton. They carved out a handful of seconds advantage but a two-hundred dollar cash prime put the fire into the peloton and they were brought back.

Out of the final corner the group was altogether but Magallanes managed to hang on for the prime cash.

At halfway through the race Chad Beyer (Champion System), Gord Fraser (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie) and Luis Amaran (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) escaped and carved out a tenuous seven-second lead.

At 45 years of age Fraser, a former pro and three-time Olympian, was the oldest racer in the field.

At the mid-point of the race a points prime was announced with Fraser taking the maximum on offer followed by Amaran and Beyer. Closing fast was the blue train of UnitedHealthcare.

The trio was working well together and increased the lead to 15 seconds with 24 laps remaining. There was still plenty of time to bring them back, however.

With 18 laps remaining the time gap between the escape trio and the UnitedHealthcare-lead peloton was stabilized at 18 seconds – not enough of a threat to stay away. The UnitedHealthcare squad was letting the break dangle off the front, but not allowing them too much leash.

With 12 laps to go UnitedHealthcare, with Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis lined up behind them, started to increase the speed in the field. At 11 laps to go a field prime was announced and the result was five seconds erased from the trio's gap.

Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) took the field prime with his five teammates in a single-file behind him. The breakaway's time off the front was coming to an end.

With three laps remaining the breakaway was caught on the finish line by the UnitedHealthcare squad.

On the bell lap the UnitedHealthcare squad owned the front of the race with nothing but the blue kits six deep in a single-file.

Coming out of turn three on the last lap Keough was sitting on the third wheel ready for the field sprint.

"They had confidence in me and put me onto the back of the train," said Keough, who had finished in third place at last year's Old Pueblo Grand Prix.

Sprinting out of the peloton was Keough taking the win with Demis Aleman (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home) in second, and Rahsaan Bahati (ShareCare Cycling p/b third.

"Its a good win to start off the US season," said Keough. "It was a hard race and the break gave us a run for the money."

In addition to winning the race, Keough took the yellow National Criterium Calendar current leader's jersey, the grey U-25 leader's jersey, and the orange USA Crits overall leader jersey.

Due to his effort in the breakaway, Fraser was awarded the Transition Award for best breakaway.

Full Results

Elite women
1Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
2Erica Allar (Care4Cycling p/b Solomon)  
3Joanie Caron (Primal Pro Women p/b BH)  
4Lauren Hall (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
5Cari Higgins (Exergy TWENTY16)  
6Lenore Pipes (Care4Cycling p/b Solomon)  
7Christina Gokey-Smith (Rouse/Oogie Racing)  
8Jennifer Valente (ExergyTWENTY16)  
9Morgan Patton (Team Novo Nordisk)  
10Lauren Stephens (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore)  
11Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal Pro Women p/b BH)  
12Anne Donley  
13Annie Ewart (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
14Amber Gaffney (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
15Alisha Welsh (Sabino Cycles Racing)  
16Cinthia Lehner (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling)  
17Jessica Prinner (Care4Cycling p/b Solomon)  
18Christy Keely (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling)  
19Irena Ossola (Team Kenda)  
20Melina Bernecker (Primal Pro Women P/B BH)  
21Anna Sanders (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore)  
22Marilyn McDonald (Landis/Trek)  
23Melissa Ross (FASTER Performance Center)  
24Terra James (Team Kenda p/b RACC)  
25Carrie Cash Wootten (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling)  
26Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycle)  
27Whitney Schultz (SkiNourishment p/b Paceline Projects)  
28Gwen Inglis (Team Kenda p/b RACC)  
29Amity Elliot (Team Kenda p/b RACC)  
30Kaytie Scott (Primal Pro Women p/b BH)  
31Julie Cutts (Primal Pro Women)  
32Nichole Wangsgard (Primal Pro Women p/b BH)  
33Kapri Gonzales (Landis/Trek)  
34Chloe Black (Sabino Cycles Racing)  
35Colleen Gulick (Team Kenda p/b RACC)  
36Kat Carr (SkiNourishment p/b Paceline Projects)  
37Judy Jenkins (Landis/Trek)  
38Katherine Ross (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling)  
39Lindsey Durst (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore)  
DNFLee-Ann Beatty (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
DNFLisa Ribes (Sabino Cycles Racing Team)  
DNSRachel Byus (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore)  
DNSKimberly Truitt (Landis/Trek)  
DNSStacey Jensen (Team Kenda p/b RACC)  
Elite men
1Luke Keough (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
2Demis Aleman (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)  
3Rahsaan Bahati (Sharecare Cycling p/b  
4Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
5Shane Kline (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
6Michael Weicht (CashCall Mortgage)  
7Alex Candelario (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
8Conor Mullervy (Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes)  
9Charles Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)  
10Kevin Mullervy (Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes)  
11Euris Vidal (CRCA/Foundation)  
12Guido Palma (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)  
13Travis McCabe (Elbowz P/B Boneshaker)  
14Juan Magallanes (P&S-Specialized)  
15Rafael Meran (CRCA/Foundation)  
16Eric Marcotte (Elbowz Racing)  
17Jesse Goodrich (California Giant / Specialized)  
18Anthony Canevari (  
19Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
20Gavriel Epstein (Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes)  
21Alexander Ray (Iscorp Racing Intelligentsia Coffee)  
22Thomas Brown (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
23Michael Dziedzic (Landis/Trek)  
24Cody O'Reilly (Team Predator Carbon Repair)  
25Neil Bezdek (CRCA/Foundation)  
26Fabrizio Von Nacher (CashCall Mortgage)  
27Hector Rangel (P&S-Specialized)  
28Quinn Keogh (Landis/Trek)  
29Carlos Alzate Escobar (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
30Griffin Easter (Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek U23)  
31Ruben Companioni (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)  
32Derek Wilkerson (Bomb Hair p/b Motofish)  
33Frank Travieso (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
34Cesar Grajales (Predator Cycling Carbon Repair)  
35Zack Allison (Think Finance p/b Trek Bicycle Store)  
36Ryan Dewald (Team Skyline)  
37Greg Ratzell (Young Medalists)  
38Luis Alberto Romero Amaran (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)  
39Gabe Varela (Jamis/Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)  
40Gordon Fraser (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
41Drew Christopher (Primal p/b McDonald Audi)  
42Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing)  
43Jeanmichel Lachance (Team Predator Carbon Repair)  
44Simon Lambert-Lemay (Garneau Quebecar)  
45Marsh Cooper (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
46Mike Sherer (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
47Chad Beyer (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)  
48Justin Williams (CashCall Mortgage)  
49Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
50Anton Varabei (JetFuel Coffee/ Norco Bicycles)  
51Michael Woell (Freewheel Bikes)  
52George W. Cyrus (Landis/Trek)  
53Cameron Rex (Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek U23)  
54Andrew McCullough (Mt Borah / Minerva Design p/b Basso)  
55Brad White (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
56Alejandro Guzman (CRCA/Foundation)  
57Mac Cassin (Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek U23)  
58Luis Lemus (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)  
59Benjamin Swedberg (California Giant / Specialized)  
60John Salskov (TRU Composites)  
61Willy Zellmer (Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek U23)  
62Brian McCulloch (CashCall Mortgage)  
63John (Jackie) Simes (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
64Craig Streit (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
65Jonathan Parrish (Athlete Octane)  
66Mike Friedman (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
67Brian Forbes (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
68Sergio Hernandez (Team Predator Carbon Repair)  
69Chad Hartley (Sharecare Cycling p/b  
70Dakota Schaeffer (D3 Devo)  
71Wes Kline (D3 Devo)  
72Travis Samuel (JetFuel Coffee/ Norco Bicycles)  
73Steven Muhle (Athlete Octane)  
74Billy Jones (Iscorp)  
75Sergio Escutia (Mexico)  
76Nicholaus Schreiber (Landis/Trek)  
77Paul Thomas (Landis/Trek)  
78Garrett Suydam (Primal p/b McDonald Audi)  
79Victor Riquelme (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
80Brian Cornelius (Julie Bar)  
DNFRob Alvarez (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
DNFNathan Mitchell (Body by Vi p/b VeloVie)  
DNFAnthony Hall (Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes)  
DNFNick Keough (CRCA/Foundation)  
DNFJesse Keough (CRCA/Foundation)  
DNFLucas Wardein (D3 Devo)  
DNFYuri Hrycaj (JetFuel Coffee/ Norco Bicycles)  
DNFJared Gilyard (Landis/Trek)  
DNFBranden Russell (Novo Nordisk)  
DNFKevin Black (Octto-Cervelo)  
DNFMichael Creed (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)  
DNFJorge Moreno (P&S-Specialized)  
DNFEmile Abraham (Team Predator Carbon Repair)  
DNFIsaac Howe (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
DNFBenjamin Chaddock (Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis)  
DNFTodd Farrell (Think Finance p/b Trek Bicycle Store)  
DNFAdrian Hegyvary (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)  
DNFRoy Pickavance  
DNSDaniel Eaton (Gateway Harley-Davidson/Trek U23)  
DNSThomas Jondall (Julie Bar)  
DNSStephen Clancy (Novo Nordisk)  
DNSRuud Cremers (Novo Nordisk)  
DNSMichael Dalterio (Novo Nordisk)  
DNSJustin Morris (Novo Nordisk)  
DNSStevie Cullinan (Optumas p/b CycloLogic)  
DNSGilberth Gomez Valverde (Somerville Bicycle Shop p/b Showcase Auto Body)  
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