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Keough, Clarke give UnitedHealthcare 1-2 in Crystal City


United Healthcare cemented its ownership of the Air Force Cycling Classic with a convincing win for Jake Keough (United Health Care) in both the Crystal Cup and the Omnium. The Crystal Cup, an 80-minute race through the offices and shops of Crystal City, is held directly after the Crystal Ride, a popular non-competitive cycling event run along the Potomac River. The large crowds of the Crystal Ride were on hand to watch the blue train of United Health Care successfully set up Jake Keough and Hilton Clarke in the second of this National Criterium Calendar event.

Experience was the name of the game for the United Health Care squad whose past success at the race provided them important intelligence. "It's such a fast open course, we knew that we could bring back a break on the last couple of laps," said UHC Director Mike Tamayo who has brought winning riders to the last several editions of the race. "So the math was right, and the boys executed it perfectly."

The UHC sprint squad used their well-oiled tactics to run a near perfect finish for Hilton Clarke and Jake Keough. "Karl Menzies and Boy Van Poppel took the whole straight, and 200 hundred to go I went, and left Jake a little bit of room on the side," said Hilton Clarke who finished second on the stage and in the overall omnium. "He's really snappy in the end, and he just went past in the last 50 meters."

Jake Keough, one of four Keough brothers in the day’s race, demonstrated the kick that is turning him into one of the great American sprint talents. "I feel pretty fast still in the crits," said Keough "This year has been a progression to try and be better in Europe. I've had some bad luck, I've crashed a bunch of time this year, but it's still coming." Keough's victory was his third successive win at the Crystal Cup.

After finishing fourth and fifth on day one of the Air Force Cycling Classic, Team Exergy was motivated to activate the race from the start. Exergy riders Logan Loader and Andre Diaz both tried their hand at the front of the race. Diaz’s eight-lap move was the most promising effort of the race but was never given too much rope by the ever-present United Health Care squad. With several of the races strongest sprinters and a well-oiled lead out crew United Health Care did not appear interested in letting any break too far up the road. A heroic late race attack led my Adam Myerson (Mountain Khakis) that included Ben Chaddock (Team Exergy), Phil Mooney (Jamis-Sutter Home), and Russ Langley (X/O Communications Battley p/b Cisco) was reeled in on the last lap by the well-timed efforts of the United Healthcare crew. Coming down the long final straight Hilton Clarke looked like he was in position to win, but had left room for his teammate Jake Keough to come through for the win. Behind Keough and Clarke, Carlos Alzate attached himself to the end of the United Health Care train and avoided a chaotic finish, which saw his teammate Logan Loader relegated for making contact with another rider during the sprint.

Hilton Clarke's performances at both days of the Air Force Cycling Classic kept him at the top of the NCC standings, ahead of Team Exergy rider Carlos Alzate. Clarke is cautious around his superstitious teammates when discussing National Criterium Calendar standings. "Any time I mention it my teammates start yelling at Me.' said Clarke "I keep half an eye on it, but don't tell my teammates."


Two of the top sprinters on the National Criterium Calendar circuit, Leah Kirchman (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Joeanne Kiesanowski (Tibco), were well placed by their teams for the final sprint in the Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal, but were surprised by Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace), who passed both riders in the final run up to the finish. The race marked a return to form for Fader, who had raced for several top programs in the past including, Team Lipton, Aarons, under her maiden name Sarah Caravella.

For Sarah Fader's young team, Pepper Palace, contending for the win at an NCC level event was a new experience. "We are a brand new team to this level of racing. I took these girls and I said 'All right, it's time to race with the big girls.'" said Fader filled the role of Director and Road Captain. "I'm actually horse because I was yelling, yelling. "Go! Cover that! Cover that!" My team was like 'I'm tired!' and I said 'As long as you're in the race your going to do something.' They stepped it up and rode to a whole new level."

The long maneuverable roads made it harder for Tibco and Optum to put riders off the front than at the previous days event, the Clarendon Cup. The change in setting provided an opportunity for smaller teams to play a bigger role in the race. "You hope for a break because sometimes your chances are better out of a break than a field sprint." said Meredith Miller, winner of the day's Most Aggressive award. "Today with the nature of the course, it being wide open, and you being able to see the field in front of you, it's kind of hard to get anything away because they are always, right there, with such long straight aways."

"Sarah came from behind us all, had a very fast sprint and got us all," said second place finisher Joeanne Kiesanowsky who will represent New Zealand on the velodrome at the Olympics later this summer. "They are really good races. They are just an hour long, and so it's really good for my track preparation."

Tibco started attacking the field from the gun, and sent riders off the front continuously until the closing laps of the race. The most promising move of the race came when Emma Grant (Optum) bridged up to Jennifer Purcell (Tibco) and Sonja Evers (Team Sticky Fingers.) The trio worked hard to stay away for five laps, and was able to establish a lead of 15 seconds but was absorbed into the pack with three laps to go. Tibco continued their incessant attacks ensuring high safe speeds, and forcing the field to snake across the road in order to stay in contact. Kirchman and Kiesanowski were watched each other closely but mistimed their sprints, and failed to account for Sarah Fader, who inched by them in the final meters of the race. Kiesanowski would beat Kirchman to the line for second place in the stage, but Kirchman's third place finish was enough to give her the overall win in the Air Force Cycling Classic Omnium.

For Optum Director Rachel Heal, whose squad heads off to Nature Valley Grand Prix where their main sponsor Optum Health is headquartered, it was a mixed result. "Although we won the overall we didn't get the stage," said Heal "So its good and bad."

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Jake Keough (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
2Hilton Clarke (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
3Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy)
4Demis Aleman (Jamis - Sutter Home)
5Karl Menzies (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
6Anuar Manan (Champion Systems Pro Cycling)
7Luke Keough (Mountain Khakis)
8David Lozano (Team Type I Development)
9Bobby Lea (Pure Energy Cycling/ProAir-HFA)
10Neil Bezdek (Mountain Khakis)
11Eric Workowski
12Keck Baker (X/O Communications Battley)
14Issac Howe (Kendal/5-Hour)
13Logan Loader (Team Exergy)
15Jackie Driscoll (Jamis - Sutter Home)
15Gavriel Epstein (Champion System)
16Curtis Winsor (Kendal)
17Tim Rugg (Champion System)
18John Bergmann (Team Clif Bar Cycling)
19Nima Ebrahimnejad (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Latera)
20S. Charles Zamastil (160Over90 CCN Sports)
21Boy Van Poppel (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
22Ryan McKinney (Clean Currents p/b Beyer Kia/DC)
23Paul Mica (NCVC/UnitedHealthcare)
24Erik Broo (Happy Tooth Racing)
25Jackie Simes (Jamis - Sutter Home)
26Ryan DeWald (X/O Communications Battley)
27Nick Rogers (160Over90 CCN Sports)
28Zac Felpel (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Latera)
29Jesper Hansen (Denmark National Team)
30Jesse Keough (Champion System)
31Donald Brew (Clean Currents p/b Beyer Kia/DC)
32David Bozak (Clean Currents p/b Beyer Kia/DC)
33Alexey Shmidt (Team Type I Development)
34Anders Ddamgaard (Denmark National Team)
35Peter Van Diijk (Jamis - Sutter Home)
36Sean Barrie (X/O Communications Battley)
37Igor Volshteyn (Champion System)
38Gabe Lloyd (X/O Communications Battley)
39Paolo Cravanzola (Team Type I Development)
40Andres Diaz (Team Exergy)
41Andy Baker (Bissell)
42Tony Hall (Champion System)
43Jared Nieters (X/O Communications Battle)
44Brett Kielick (160Over90 CCN Sports)
45Phil Mooney (Jamis - Sutter Home)
46Mark Warno (Antietam Velo Club)
47Jon Hamblen (Mountain Khakis)
48Aaron Kemps (Champion Systems Pro Cycling)
49Pat Raines (Mountain Khakis)
50John Grant (Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team)
51Ariel Mendez-Penate (Champion System)
52Jake Tremblay (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Latera)
53Adam Myerson (Mountain Khakis)
54Jaan Kirsipuu (Champion Systems Pro Cycling)
55Anders Lawaetz (Denmark National Team)
56Nicholas Keough (Champion System)
57Barry Miller (Pure Energy Cycling/ProAir-HFA)
58Mart Ojavee (Champion Systems Pro Cycling)
59Ben Chaddock (Team Exergy)
60Robert Forster (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
61Russ Langley (X/O Communications Battley)
62Justin Morris (Team Type I Development)
63Peter Warner (Bayside Velo/Bike Doctor)
64Adrian Hegyvary (United HealthCare p/b Maxxis)
65Matthew Furlow (160Over90 CCN Sports)
DNFGregory Abbott (NCVC/UnitedHealthcare)
DNFColin Jaskiewicz (Champion System)
DNFFaustino Alzate (Team Exergy)
DNFNeil Bezdek (Mountain Khakis)
DNFBlair Berbert (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Latera)
DNFJoshua Frick (Clean Currents p/b Beyer Kia/DC)

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Trainin)
2Joanne Marie Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
3Leah Kirchmann (Optum)
4Samantha Schneider (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
5Lex Albrecht (Optum)
6Jennifer Purcell (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
7Kacey Manderfield (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
8Kendall Ryan (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
9Colleen Gulick (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
10Emma Swatman (Team Kenda)
11Jessica Chong (Morgan Stanley Cycling Team)
12Cinthia Lehner (Pepper Palace)
13Erin Silliman (MVP Health Care Cycling)
14Kate Veronnean (Pure Energy)
15Emma Grant (Optum Pro Cycling)
16Anne Racioppi (Team EPS/CSS)
17Kristin Lotito (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
18Arley Kemmerer (MVP Health Care Cycling)
19Kristine Church (Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom)
20Victoria Hanks (Peanut Butter & Co. Human Zoom)
21Jennifer Wheeler (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
22Julie Kuliecza (Evlow)
23Sue McQuiston (Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team)
24Amy Cutler (Riptide Cycling)
25Sonja Evers (Team Sticky Fingers)
26Beth Bonilla (Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom)
27Erica Chard (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Trainin)
28Kathryn Clark (Team Kenda)
29Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda)
30Nicole Raspa (CAWES/iFractal p/b Specialized)
31colleen paine (Team Kenda)
32Marni Harker (Team Kenda)
33Bergen Watterson (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Trainin)
34Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO / To The Top)
35Rebecca Werner (SportVelo Racing)
36Anna Barensfeld (Team Optum)
37Young Anna (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
DNFRebecca Chan (CAWES/iFractal p/b Specialized)
DNFKelley Bethoney (Syn-Fit Race Team)

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