The North American professional cycling scene was full of action-packed racing from coast-to-coast last week. USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) and National Criterium Calendar (NCC), along with the USA CRITS series saw some changes with new talents moving up in the overall ranks. In addition, many of the continent’s top-level riders are continuing to battle the Spring Classics overseas. Check out a few of the highlights from the peloton and a peek at what’s to come.
NRC and NCC standings after Winston-Salem Cycling Classic
Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) and Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini) kicked off the weekend of racing with wins during the UCI 1.2/NRC road races. McCabe moved into the elite men’s NRC overall lead while Taylor Wiles (Specialized-lululemon) continues to lead the elite women’s standings following her overall victory at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Brecht Dhaene (Astellas Cycling Team) and Elena Cecchini (Estado de Mexico Faren) won the NCC/USA CRITS criteriums. Teammates Carlos Alzate and Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) continue to lead the overall NCC standings. Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom p/b Pink Siren) still leads the elite women’s USA CRITS standings while Shane Kline (Team SmartStop) took over as the new leader of the men’s series.
Joe Martin Stage Race next on the NRC
Joe Martin Stage Race will reunite the top players on the NRC at a four-day stage race held from April 24-27 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The race kicks off with a four-kilometre time trial on Thursday, followed by a 176km road race on Friday, a 175km road race on Saturday and a closing criterium on Sunday. Hincapie Sportswear Development Team is leading the elite men’s team standings and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies is leading the elite women’s team standings after the first two rounds at the Redlands Bicycle Classic and Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
North American pros take on Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold
American John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare) rode into the decisive breakaway during Paris-Roubaix on April 13 in France. His strong performance highlighted a series of talented riders who represented North America during last week’s Spring Classics; and Amstel Gold Race. Riders who started the events were Americans Tyler Farrar and Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), Ted King (Cannondale), Evan Huffman (Astana), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Danny Pate and Ian Boswell (Team Sky), and Chris Jones, Danny Summerhill and Brad White (UnitedHealthcare) , along with Canada’s Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Antoine Duchesne (Team Europcar) and Hugo Houle (Ag2r-La Mondiale). Many of the same riders will be on the start line at the upcoming La Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday.
Canadians sweep Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race
Canadians were on a roll at the Sea Otter Classic Circuit Race held on April 13 in California. National criterium champion Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Lex Albrecht (Twenty16 Pro Cycling) and national road and time trial champion Joëlle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) swept the podium in the elite women’s event.
Myerson surprised by relegation at the Tour of Battenkill
Adam Myerson (Team SmartStop) was baffled by a race official’s decision to relegate him from third place to eighth at the Tour of the Battenkill held on April 6 in Cambridge, New York. The official decision came after a rider protested about the small group sprint for second place, behind the solo race winner Scott Zwizanski (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Tim Mitchell (CCB Racing) placed second while Myerson and Eneas Freyre (TTEndurance) sprinted for third. According to Myerson, he moved toward the left of the road during the sprint to try and get around Mitchell. Unbeknownst to him, Freyre was overlapping his rear wheel. Freyre protested the result and race officials handed Myerson a relegation citing USAC Rule 1N7 that states, “No rider may make an abrupt motion so as to interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either intentionally or by accident.”
“People move in the sprint all the time,” Myerson said. “I didn’t close the door on him, take him across the road, or keep him from sprinting. He wasn’t paying attention, and then basically took a dive, in my opinion. He wasn’t coming around me. He wasn’t even next to me, and I didn’t even know he was there. If you watch the finish of so many races, the lead rider will take someone all the way across the road, with no one even in front of them, and not get called for it. There’s definitely a spirit-of-the-rule problem here. The chief said that since our wheels crossed, it was a result of my abrupt move, and it doesn’t matter if I did it intentionally or not. But by that logic, any time you can’t win a sprint, you should just overlap wheels and hope you get lucky if the guy in front of you moves. He has to actually be coming around me, and Freyre wasn’t.”
Twenty teams will participate in the Tour of California women’s circuit race coming up on May 11 in Sacramento, a new event held the day before the individual time trial in Folsom. The teams include BMW Development Team, Canadian National Team, China Chongming-Giant-Champion System Pro Cycling, Colavita/Fine Cooking Women’s Pro Cycling Team, CRCA: Stan’s NoTubes p/b enduranceWERX, DNA Cycling p/b K4, FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore, Folsom Bike/Cervélo, JETCycling, Metromint Cycling, Monster Media Racing Team, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Pinnacle-Reactor Racing Team p/b JL Velo, SPY GIANT RIDE Elite Cycling Team, Team Specialized-lululemon, Team TIBCO, TWENTY16 Pro Cycling p/b Breakaway from Cancer, Threshold Sports p/b Leadout Endurance Coaching, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Vanderkitten Racing.
“We are thrilled to up the ante for women cyclists with two days of world-class racing at the 2014 Amgen Tour of California, and proud to provide a powerful platform to promote women’s cycling,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “The fields feature the top women cyclists in the sport today, and we know the excitement of hosting both events will be shared by cycling fans around the world.”
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews next Tuesday for our next weekly edition of race recaps and previews of what’s ahead in the North American road racing scene.