By Cyclingnews staff
The final race of the 17 day International Cycling Classic was a lot quieter than the races leading up to it. This could have been in part because a lot of riders chose to head down to Chicago for a bigger money criterium, or because racing for 17 days takes a mental and physical toll. Regardless, the sum of the racing added up to an exciting overall series with Jonathan Cantwell (Jittery Joe's) taking the overall series win ahead of Sterling Magnell (Rock Racing.)
"I didn't know which way the day was going to unfold," said Cantwell. "Obviously marking Sterling was the only thing we had to worry about but he has been riding incredibly, which was evident by his win the night before.
"But I had an awesome day on the bike and felt incredible," he added. "Chad sealed the red jersey and then he and Ryan concentrated on the yellow. In the last 10 laps Sterling was attacking and I was covering everything."
"It was kinda anti-climactic," said Cantwell's team-mate Chad Hartley, who also sewed up his win in the sprint competition ahead of Rock Racing's Rahsaan Bahati. "From Saturday to Sunday Jonny and I had some bad legs to great legs. On Sunday we were flying and Rock looked a little tired. Sterling tried to do the same move he did at Downer, sneaking through with 3/4 of a lap, but Jonny was on him this time and he won it on the line with his hands in the air."
"I felt good and tried some moves, but Cantwell was real cagey and did excatly what he had to do," said Magnell. "Half the field was working for him too. Then Rudy [Napolitano] got in the break and lapped the field, and we wanted to work for him to get another stage win."
Napolitano was able to take second place behind Colombian Jairo Perez Suarez, who capped off an impressive series for his national track team as they prepared for Beijing.
For Cantwell the win is two steps up on the podium from last year's series, and an important jump for him and his team. "It's a big deal," he said. "Last year, racing as an amateur, I didn't have support for a full team, and my team-mate won the overall. So there is not much for me to do. To have the option this year was great. The team support has been great all year round and to win for them and put us back on the board is great."
Magnell had mixed emotions about the series. "I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed with second overall," he said. "Maybe if I didn't have some bad luck like crashing, things would have been different. But who knows, that is bike racing. I'm definitely happy with my riding, that is for sure."
In the sprint competition Hartley capitalized on Bahati's absence from key stages last week to appear in a close friend's wedding. "We let a group of seven get up the road and they soaked up the sprint points to make my jersey secure," said Hartley. "They lapped up and then another group of 6 went off the front before the finish."
Despite losing the sprint title, Bahati's performances during the series indicated that he was the fastest in the field, which should serve him well at this weekend's big money criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina. "I'm really looking forward to Charlotte and Rahsaan is unbeatable in the sprints," said Magnell. There is no reason we can't win there."