Carlos Alzate (UnitedHealthcare), the winner of last year's Clarendon Cup, and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom p/b Van Dessel) the 2017 Crystal Cup champion, will return to defend their titles at Virginia's Armed Forces Cycling Classic this weekend.
The two-day event is part of the USA Cycling Pro Road Calendar and Cyclingnews' Bell Lap Criterium series.
The first races in Arlington are on the classic Clarendon Cup circuit, a technical, often breezy one-kilometre course that frequently shatters the peloton, allowing strong riders to lap the field.
That's how Alzate won in 2017 with a courageous 30-lap solo effort to take the lap. He returns with only three teammates this year and will be up against a hungry 2017 runner-up John Murphy, who will have a full Holowesko-Citadel squad at his disposal.
Also in the mix will be criterium veteran Adam Myerson, last year's third-place finisher, who is racing with another specialist Ryan Aitcheson under the Levine Law Group banner.
Another rider to watch will be Elevate-KHS's Cory Williams, Cyclingnews' video blogger, the winner of the Sea Otter circuit race and numerous other California regional criteriums this season.
On the women's side, last year's winner Marlies Mejias Garcia is not on the roster, but the 2017 runner-up Kendall Ryan will be on the start line with a full Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank squad.
The U23 Australian criterium champion Rebecca Wiasak is another contender, racing with the Fearless Femme squad.
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