Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare) defended his title by winning the bunch sprint at the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal City on Sunday. His team executed a perfectly time lead-out for Keough, and in the process secured second and third place on the podium with the previous day's winner Hilton Clarke and Robert Forster, respectively.
"We did the same sort of lead-out that we've been doing all season, and in the past couple of races we've had Robert with us. That changed our roles a little bit and gave us more fire power at the end," Keough said. "I was at the back and it was basically if I could come around them at the end. Who ever is on the back is always sprinting for the win, today that was me."
Clarke won the event's overall omnium by virtue of winning the Clarendon Cup on Saturday and placing second at the Crystal City Classic. "I'm happy to have won the omnium," he said following the race. "The team did a good job this weekend."
The Crystal City Classic offered somewhat of a dumb-bell shaped, two-kilometre course. The men were scheduled to complete 90 minutes, which was reduced by roughly 10 minutes to accommodate live television coverage.
The race was aggressive from the start with several attacks coming from teams Exergy, Amore & Vita, Jamis-Sutter Home, Mountain Khakis and Team Type 1, whose sprinter Aldo Ino Ilesic rode solo off the front for roughly four laps.
Mid-race, a flurry of attacks caused the peloton to start to splinter with one larger group forming a mere seconds off the front. However, all came back together when UnitedHealthcare started its eight rider lead-out with 10 laps to go.
"This course was only 90 minutes, after yesterday's 100km, so if you stick together it would be a field sprint," Clarke said. "We just waited and the boys are really well drilled now, they are so calm coming to the finish and it doesn't really matter what other teams do because we just stick together."
A rider from BikeReg.com launched himself off the front and maintained a five- to 10-second lead for three laps. Tom Soladay (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth) countered that move, but he too was reeled in with three laps to go.
UnitedHealthcare continued to dominate the final lap, as notable sprinters such as Freddie Rodriguez (Team Exergy) moved into position directly behind them. Rodriguez attempted to bring his team's sprinter Carlos Alzate into a good position to sprint for the victory. Alzate placed a respectable fourth behind Keough, Clarke and Forster.
"Carlos was in second place in the omnium so we wanted to bring him right up to the UnitedHealthcare train," Rodriguez said. "They had a really good train and it was the perfect course to control it so they did a perfect job. It was hard to beat that but we wanted to give it a shot because Carlos finished second yesterday."
Kirchmann triumphs in women's race
Canadian National Criterium Champion Leah Kirchmann (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) won the bunch sprint at the NRC Air Force Cycling Classic Crystal City on Sunday. She out-paced her fellow-countryman, Canadian National Road Champion and previous day's winner Joelle Numainville (Tibco-To the Top) who placed second and Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) in third.
Kirchmann won the overall omnium based on placing second in the previous day's Clarendon Cup and winning the Crystal City Classic.
"I didn't feel enormous pressure but I was the designated sprinter on the team here and I've learned a lot from being on this team," Kirchmann said. "I was more aggressive off the start, but one of my teammates reminded me that I should stay conservative because I was the sprinter for the day. It was nerve-racking because it was a little bit sketchy and bumping elbows and trying to get position, it can be scary but also exhilarating."
The women started their 60-minute event under slightly cooler temperatures compared to the previous day's Clarendon Cup. The Crystal City Classic offered a fast, two-kilometre course that made it difficult for any breakaway to gain more than 10 seconds.
Tibco-To the Top had full confidence in Numainville's sprint and thus utilized the same plan as the previous day, which was to cover the attacks coming from Colavita Forno D'Asolo and other teams, and maintain good position for a field sprint.
"I definitely have confidence in Joelle and our goal was to keep Joelle, Jo [Keisanowski] and Sam [Schneider], who are our top finishers, up there at the end for the omnium," said Tibco-to the Top DS Lisa Hunt. "It was tight timing on the sprint, it was close and obviously I am disappointed, but we are really focussing on Nature Valley Grand Prix next week. We are excited and we have a really strong team. All of our positive momentum is going forward."
Many of the early race breakaways included a combination of riders from Colavita Forno D'Asolo and Tibco-To the top, along with riders from Team Sticky Fingers, Battley Harley Davidson, Pure Energy-Pro Air, Cawes p/b Specialized and Kenda p/b Geargrinder.
Tamayo, who was racing without teammates on the day, noted the strength in numbers of both Colavita Forno D'Asolo and Tibco-to the Top, and made the decision to conserve as much energy as possible in order to place well in the inevitable bunch sprint. "Yesterday Tibco and Colavita were trying to be pretty aggressive and they were always sending something off and if it was anything more than their individual team represented they sat up and didn't work with it," said Tamayo, who placed third on the day.
"Today, I tried to be more conservative because it would probably be the same," she said. "I get it, they are racing for the NRC and they have to gain NRC points. I decided to be conservative and see if the breaks would come back. I'm only one person and can only do so much work and I wanted to be decent for the finish. My legs felt tired half way through, but I did a couple of efforts trying to jump across to stuff and that cleared everything out. I just had to make sure I was on the right wheels at the finish."
One of the most significant late-race moves began with Tara Whitten (Tibco-To the Top) and Kelly Benjamin (Colavita-Forno D'Asolo). The breakaway reshuffled to include Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) and Megan Guarnier (Tibco-To the Top). And it reshuffled a third time to include Buchanan and Meredith Miller (Tibco-To the Top).
Rachel Warner (Missing Links Coaching & Training Systems) bridged across to Miller and Buchanan with two laps to go, however, the field came back together on the last lap for a field sprint won by Kirchmann.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jake Keough (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||1:20:45|
|2||Hilton Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Robert Forster (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Aldo Ino Ilesic (Team Type I-Sanofi Aventis)||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy)||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Alexey Shmidt (Team Type I-Sanofi Aventis)||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Luke Keough (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Roman Van Uden (Pure Black)||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Mical Smit Larsen (Denmark National Team)||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Eric Schildge (Jamis - Sutter Home)||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Phillip Mamos (Amore-Vita)||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Jacob Mueller (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lateral Stress Velo)||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Soren Petersen (Denmark National Team)||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Patrik Moren (Amore-Vita)||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Nick Frey (Jamis - Sutter Home)||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Keck Baker (X/O Communications Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Neil Bezdek (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Gavriel Epstein (Chipotle Development Team)||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Thacker Reeves (Chipotle Development Team)||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Jared Nieters (X/O Communications Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Freddie Rodriguez (Team Exergy)||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Max Korus (BikeReg.com/Cannondale)||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Travis Livermon (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Timothy Rugg (X/O Communications Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||David Bozak (Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo)||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Jerome Townsend (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Andrew Pinfold (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Danny Skovgren (Denmark National Team)||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Peter Hurst (BikeReg.com/Cannondale)||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Donald Brew (North Tek-Aria)||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Evan Burkhart (BikeReg.com/Cannondale)||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Charles Hutcheson (X/O Communications Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Christopher Schmidt (ARTEMIS)||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Robert Polder (CycleCity)||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Jonathan Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Vladislav Bonsov (Amore-Vita)||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Stig Hemmingsen (Denmark National Team)||Row 38 - Cell 2|
|40||Ryan Mckinney (Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo)||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 40 - Cell 2|
|42||Curtis Winsor (FEAR 2 ONE)||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Charles Eldridge (Team Type I-Sanofi Aventis)||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Jay Moglia (Raw Talent Ranch/CycleLife)||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Andy Guptill (Jamis - Sutter Home)||Row 44 - Cell 2|
|46||Manuel Sebastian (KELLY BENEFITS)||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Jason Meidhof (Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo)||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Thomas Brown (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Shane Kline (Bissell)||Row 48 - Cell 2|
|50||Jonathan Hamblen (Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop)||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Andrea Grendene (Team Type I-Sanofi Aventis)||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Martijn Vershoor (Team Type I-Sanofi Aventis)||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Thomas Soladay (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Juan Dario (KELLY BENEFITS)||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Boy Van Poppel (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Adam Switters (X/O Communications Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||John (Jackie) Simes (Jamis - Sutter Home)||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Leah Kirchmann (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||0:58:00|
|2||Joelle Numainville (TIBCO)||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Lauren Tomayo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12)||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Kacey Manderfield (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Joanne Kiesanowski (TIBCO)||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Kelly Benjamin (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Lindsay Honaker (1 - Cat2) (X/O Communications/Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Lenore Pipes (GUAM NATIONAL)||Row 7 - Cell 2|
|9||Jennifer Rasmusson (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder)||Row 8 - Cell 2|
|10||Emily Thurston (Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Erin Silliman (VA Asset Group p/b Artemis/Trek)||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Sarah Fader (Team Sticky Fingers)||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Lauren Hall (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Kristine (Kacy) Wander (2 - Cat2) (CAWES p/b Specialized)||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Jocelyn Setter (CAWES p/b Specialized)||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Patricia Buerkle (Virginia Beach Velo/East Coast Bicycles)||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Nicole Raspa (3 - Cat2) (CAWES p/b Specialized)||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Cath Heatley (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Monika Sattler (4 - Cat2) (X/O Communications/Battley Harley-Davidson)||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Tara Whitten (TIBCO)||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Megan Guarnier (TIBCO)||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||Kristin Sanders (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Samantha Schneider (TIBCO)||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Meredith Miller (TIBCO)||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Emma Mackie (TIBCO)||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Sarah Iepson (5 - Cat2) (CAWES p/b Specialized)||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Carmen Small (TIBCO)||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Janel Holcomb (Colavita Forno d'Asolo Pro Cycling Team)||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Sonja Evers (Team Sticky Fingers)||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda p/b Geargrinder)||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Rachel Warner (Missing Links Coaching & Training Systems)||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Arley Kemmerer (6 - Cat2) (CAWES p/b Specialized)||Row 33 - Cell 2|
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Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.
Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.
She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.