Skylar Schneider and Tyler Williams were part of multiple-rider attacks by L39ION of Los Angeles to win the pro races Saturday night at the Athens Orthopedic Clinic Twilight Criterium, in its 41st edition.
Both the women’s and men’s pro events saw aggressive racing with lead groups that would lap the fields in both races, with the women's breakaway lapping up twice.
Schneider and teammate Kendall Ryan worked at the front to jolt the peloton halfway through the hour-long women’s race. They were part of the first group of seven riders to lap the field. After a pause with 14 laps to go, the L39ion duo attacked again with the previous breakaway companions Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling Team) and Rachel Langdon (InstaFund Racing) and Caroline Bauer (InstaFund Racing), with Olivia Ray (Rally Cycling) following.
With a thunderous accompaniment of the cheering crowd and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” on the long 300-metre section through the start-finish line, Schneider led the way with three laps to go to catch the main field a second time, now down from 88 riders to less than 20. She would stay out front to win going away from Coles-Lyster, who took second, and Langdon would follow for third. Only six riders finished on the lead lap, with 14 riders at one lap down.
"The atmosphere was amazing, Athens is known for having thousands and thousands of people watching, and up the home straight, every lap would get louder, darker, and crazier," said Schneider in a team statement. "Athens was my first pro race about 10 years ago, I remember thinking one day I can win this. Getting it done this year was pretty special."
Having won the Spartanburg Criterium on Friday night that is also part of the USA CRITS, Schneider moved into the top position as Lap Leader for the series, while Langdon extended her points as the Individual Leader in the overall standings. Coles-Lyster is just ahead of Schneider in the Best Young Rider category.
“Man, I really wanted [first place] but came up short against the beast Skylar Schneider. First time racing Athens Twilight , and the race, the crowd, everything was simply incredible,” Coles-Lyster reported on her social media feed. “The DNA Pro Cycling squad raced beautifully and we came out top team of the night and my first time lapping the field in a crit was a pretty sweet way to get second.”
The hot, muggy Southern night continued with 80 laps of racing for the men. Twenty laps into racing, six riders went off the front, in what would prove to be decisive later - a L39ION trio of Alec Cowan, Eder Frayer, and Tyler Williams, along with Michael Hernandez and Danny Summerhill of Best Buddies Racing, and Spencer Moavenzadeh (ButcherBox Cycling). Missing out on the move was USA CRITS overall leader Thomas Gibbons (Automatic Racing).
The chase was led most of the night by Team Medellin EPM, who brought six riders to the event. Midway through the race, the fierce pace had reduced the main field from 137 riders to just under 50.
With 39 laps to go a chase group broke free from what was left of the peloton which included Ty Magner (L39ION of LA), Sebastian Cano (Aminorip Factory Racing), Oliver Flautt (ButcherBox Cycling), Ruben Companioni (Best Buddies Racing) and Medellin’s Robigzon Oyola.
Over the next 25 laps, the two groups out front of 11 riders had lapped the field. A solo attack by L39ion’s Frayer was unsuccessful as he slid out in a corner. With three laps to go and just 28 riders left in the race, Cowan took his turn at the front as a lead-out for Williams and Magner, with Williams having enough left in the tank on the final lap for the win.
Summerhill would finish second and Moavenzadeh third. Magner settled for fourth place.
“This was the best crowd of the year. We wanted this one for Ty [Magner], it’s his hometown and we set it up for him. We tried to set it up for him and in the end it came down to getting the job done. It’s a selfless team. I got the lucky job of just finishing it today. We needed to right yesterday’s wrong,” said Tyler Williams after the race, referencing his third-place finish at the Spartanburg Criterium from the night before.
Oyola, who crossed the line in the top five, was disqualified by officials for having his Medellin teammates drop back from the field to help pace him in the breakaway to lap the field.
Gibbons was the best of the rest, one lap down, and finished 11th. It was enough for him to retain points as the USA CRITS Individual Leader, with Tyler Williams in second place and Hernandez in third. Summerhill continues as the Lap Leader and Hernandez as Best Young Rider.
The next stop in the 10-race USA CRITS series will be September 11 in El Paso, Texas. The finals will be September 24 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Skylar Schneider (L39ION of Los Angeles)||1:02:27|
|2||Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling Team)|
|3||Rachel Langdon (InstaFund Racing)||0:00:01|
|4||Olivia Ray (Rally Cycling)||0:00:11|
|5||Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles)||0:00:41|
|6||Caroline Baur (Instafund Pro Cycling)||0:00:42|
|7||Kaia Schmid (LUX/sideshow p/b Specialized)|
|8||Christina Gokey Smith (Colavita/HelloFresh Womens Pro)||0:00:19|
|9||Kimberly Lucie (DNA Pro Cycling Team)||0:00:43|
|10||Celine Oberholzer (ATX Wolfpack p/b Jakroo)|
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tyler Williams (L39ION of Los Angeles)||1:42:02|
|2||Daniel Summerhill (Best Buddies Racing)||0:00:01|
|3||Spencer Moavenzadeh (ButcherBox Cycling)|
|4||Ty Magner (L39ION of Los Angeles)|
|5||Ruben Companioni (Best Buddies Racing)|
|6||Sebastian Cano (Aminorip Factory Racing)||0:00:03|
|7||Oliver Flautt (ButcherBox Cycling)||0:00:04|
|8||Michael Hernandez (Best Buddies Racing)||0:00:05|
|9||Forrest Lee Howard (NGCA Elite team p/b Tyler Perry)||0:00:45|
|10||Alec Cowan (L39ION of Los Angeles)||0:02:14|
Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling for people of all abilities and ages. Tyson has been recognized for communications excellence with 10 Phoenix Awards, presented by the Georgia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp - and was recognized by a national media outlet as the first female depicted in a pro baseball card set (Ft. Myers Royals). She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times. Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France). Her favorite mountain bike rides are in Park City, Utah (USA).
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