The nations top criterium specialists will convene at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitation Criterium set to take place on August 7 in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. The twilight race caters to the fastest sprinters looking to garner additional points toward the National Racing Calendar 1.1 (NRC) and the USA Crits National Series.
In its 6th year the race continue to offer one of the largest prize lists for a single-day event with more than $85,000 on the line. The event is held on a roughly two-kilometre, technical course in the uptown entertainment district of Charlotte.
The Pro women are scheduled to race for a total of 40 kilometres followed by the Pro men who will complete 80 kilometres. The men's race will go on without its defending champion David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies). However, the start list does include NRC leader Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita). The Cuban all-rounder tops the standings with a 268-point lead ahead of runner up Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) and an additional 62 points to Veilleux, who moved into third place following his performance at the Tour of Elk Grove last weekend.
Fly V Australia started the season as the highest ranked team and resumed that role following the Elk Grove. The squad sits a mere 16 points ahead of the previous leaders and defending champions Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita and an additional 34 points to UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis in third place.
The peloton is packed with some of the fastest sprinters including the leader of the USA Crits National Series, Clayton Borrows (AXA Equitable Cycling), recent winner of the Tour of Elk Grove Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia), former race winner Alejandro Borrajo and his teammate Ivan Dominguez (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita), Kyle Wamsley (Bissell), Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis), Aldo Ino Ilesic (Team Type 1), Issac Howe (Mountain Khakis p/b Jittery Joes), Luca Damiani (Kenda-Geargrinder) and Emile Abraham (Aerocat Cycling).
On the women’s side defending champion Brooke Miller (TIBCO-To the Top) will return with high hopes of providing her team with a second consecutive victory. She will have some strong opposition from well-known sprinters as USA Crits National Series leader Erica Allar (Vera Bradley Foundation), former winner Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12), Laura McCaughey (BMW-Bianchi), Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light), Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Sara Caravella (Team Card) and Tiffany Pezzulo (Threads.com-DFT).
Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light) continues to lead the NRC rankings after the series took a two-week hold following the Cascade Cycling Classic, the final stage race on the calendar for the women.
With only three events remaining, Cheatley is positioned 150 points ahead of last year’s overall winner Alison Powers (Vera Bradley Foundation). US National Road Champion and recent Giro Donne winner Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) leaped into third place, 245 points back, following her win at the Cascade Cycling Classic.
Colavita-Baci also leads the team classification by 27 points over Vera Bradley Foundation. Tibco-To the Top sits in third place, 148 points behind. The women have two more opportunities to contest the NRC ranking following the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational at the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium and the US 10K.
The Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas (BTFC) has sponsored the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational for six years. BTFC is a non-profit group founded in 2003. It funds cancer research and is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the impact of brain tumors.