One perfectly timed attack was all it took for David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies) to solo into victory at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational, one of the nation's biggest criteriums held in Charlotte, North Carolina. After a slight hesitation amongst a sprint-heavy chase group, Aldo Ino Ilesic (Team Type 1) kicked it into gear and nabbed second place ahead of Karl Menzies (OUCH p/b Maxxis) in third.
"I’m just happy to be back in shape after breaking my collarbone back in March," said Veilleux who was presented with a victory cheque for $12,000. "I couldn’t hear any time gaps because the crowds were really loud. I was just in my own bubble and trying to go as fast as I could. Sometimes you lose it a little bit and the gap goes down so I just pushed hard the whole time. I think if any one of my teammates was in the break away they could have won.
Veilleux was the only rider to make an attack against an eleven rider breakaway. His cagey effort caught the others off guard with three laps to go, seemingly too far from the finish line. The French-Canadian is no stranger to solo victories having won his U23 national time trial championships just one month prior. He displayed his individual talent as he passed through the finish line banner on the last lap, a grimace on his face. The downtown crowds went wild when the time board revealed that his advantage continued to grow.
"Sometimes when you attack a little bit too far out, people think you aren’t going to make it and there is always a hesitation," he continued. "I knew it was the right time with three laps to go. As I went, they started to look at each other and I got a gap. I knew I had good legs for an effort like this so I just kept going."
The eleven rider move escaped inside the last third of the pro men’s 80-kilometre criterium. It included Veilleux, Ilesic and Menzies along with last year’s race winner Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita-Sutter Home), Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1), Mark Hekman (Mountain Khakis), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Nic Reistad (Jelly Belly), Carlos Calcirrada (Aerocat), Euris Paulino (Champion System). Several riders attempted to bridge but only Luis Amaran (Colavita-Sutter Home) successfully connected with the front group.
"Everyone wanted the sprint, it was very close," said Ilesic. "I’m very happy with second place, I showed that I was the best sprinter today and that’s what I wanted to do. The team has been racing perfect, Team Type 1, that’s perfect - Let’s go!"
The break mustered up enough camaraderie to open up an advantage of 45 seconds on a field that lacked a team that would commit to an organized chase. With so many fast riders in the mix it was difficult to predict who would be the eventual winner. Veilleux was the first and only rider to attack from the break. The responsibility fell on workers Kobzarenko and Amaran to bring back Veilleux for their respective sprinters to have a chance to sprint, but they were not successful. A standard tactical game amongst the sprinters in the group saw them hesitate, look at one another, and subsequently gamble away the race win in order to save their legs.
"I wanted to win this because I knew I had good legs," said Menzies. "We were kind of isolated with just one guy and it would have been nice to have two in the move. Team Type 1 and Colavita had two guys which was a good thing, but it turned into their demise as well. They were left to chase down Veilleux by themselves which left them without a lead-out. No one else would work with them and it was up to only those two guys. That’s the thing, everyone wanted to sprint and it was a good move. Veilleux hit it at the right time and they hesitated and that’s all it takes. It was a good move by him and a good result."
Crowds gone wild in Charlotte
Uptown Charlotte’s city streets were lined five deep to catch a glimpse of cycle racing at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational as they passed through the start-finish line. Early attacks and lucrative primes kept the speeds at maximum. "The course was very hard and the crowds were crazy," said Veilleux. "All along the course I could here people screaming and I knew my teammates were talking to me in the radio but I could not hear them."
Clayton Borrows (CRCA-Empire) kicked off the first breakaway of the night. He was quickly followed by Yosvany Falcon (Champion Porsche) and Dirk Pohlmann (Texas Road House). Heavy activity on the front of the peloton brought back the early move countered yet again by both teams CRCA-Empire and Texas Road House’s aggressive tactics. But despite the two squads' nearly endless string of attacks, it was Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team type 1) who proved most aggressive during the twilight race.
Some 30 minutes into the criterium, Kobzarenko let loose, almost shattering the field behind him. The front riders included USA Crit Series leader Thomas Soladay (Mountain Khakis), Australian National Criterium Champion Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia), Kyle Wamsley (Colavita-Sutter Home), Karl Menzies (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell) and Emile Abraham (Aerocat).
Kobzarenko’s continued to take long pulls on the front and the riders in the break reshuffled. New faces included Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Ken Hanson (Team Type 1), John Murphy and Roman Kilun (OUCH p/b Maxxis), Luis Amaran and Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita-Sutter Home), James Stemper (Geargrinder) and Diego Garavito (Aerocat). Notably missing from the mix was US National Criterium Champion Rashaan Bahati (Rock Racing) but not for lack of trying. He made multiple attempts to bridge across to every breakaway.
The deck reshuffled one more time before the winning move stuck. The eleven riders worked well together gaining a 20-second margin. Hekman went on to capture a lucrative $1000 prime and finished with enough points to take the lead in the USA Crit Series. Back in the bunch individual riders like Sulzberger spent several consecutive laps pulling the field in hopes of reducing the gap. However, without a committed team to chase, the escapees gained its maximum of more than one minute with five laps to the end. Two bridging riders, Daniel Ramsey (Mountain Khakis) and Pat Lemieux (Texas Road House) finished between the breakaway and the peloton.
|1||David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|2||Aldo Ino Ilesic (Team Type1)|
|3||Karl Menzies (Team OUCH p/b Maxxis)|
|4||Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|5||Andy Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling)|
|6||Mark Hekman (Team Mountain Khakis p/b Ep-no)|
|7||Euris Vidal Paulino (Champion System Racing)|
|8||Carlos Calcirrada (Aerocat Cycling Team)|
|9||Nicholas Reistad (Jelly Belly)|
|10||Luis Romero Amaran (Colavita/sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|11||Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type1)|
|12||Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing)|
|13||Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|14||Kenneth Hanson (Team Type1)|
|15||Emile Abraham (Aerocat Cycling Team)|
|16||Bernard Sulzberger (Fly V Australia)|
|17||Jacob Keough (Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|18||Clayton Barrows (Crca / Empire Cycling Team)|
|19||Yosvany Falcon (Champion Porsche p/b Racers Edg)|
|20||Jonathan Page (Battley Harley-Davidson/Sonoma)|
|21||Alexander Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|22||Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis p/b Ep-no)|
|23||Anibal Borrajo (Colavita/sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|24||Matthew Winstead (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spingery)|
|25||John Murphy (Team Ouch Presented By Maxxis)|
|26||Joey Rosskopf (Jittery Joe's U25 p/b Kudzu.com)|
|27||Thomas Soladay (Team Mountain Khakis p/b Ep-no)|
|28||Will Hoffarth (Team Mountain Khakis p/b Ep-no)|
|29||Daniel Holt (Team Type1)|
|30||Aaron Gates (Bike New Zealand)|
|31||Chad Hartley (Team Geargrinder)|
|32||Timothy Henry (Dlp Racing)|
|33||Gavi Epstein (Champion System Racing)|
|34||Scottie Weiss (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spingery)|
|35||Zachary Davies (Jittery Joe's U25 Pb Kudzu.com)|
|36||Jeffrey Buckles (Richmond Pro Cycling)|
|37||Patrick Weddell (Globalbike p/b Catoman)|
|38||Morgan Schmitt (Bissell Pro Cycling)|
|39||Frank Travieso (Champion Porsche p/b Racers Edg)|
|40||Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|41||James Stemper (Team Geargrinder)|
|42||Jermaine Burrowes (Team United)|
|43||Peter Latham (Bissell Pro Cycling)|
|44||Kyle Wamsley (Colavita/sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|45||Keck Baker (Battley Harley-Davidson/Sonoma)|
|46||Kirk Albers (Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team)|
|47||Cody O'Reilly (Bissell Pro Cycling)|
|48||Jared Nieters (Haymarket Bicycles/function Dr)|
|49||Michael Margarite (Crca / Empire Cycling Team)|
|50||K Frank Pipp (Bissell Pro Cycling)|
|51||Zach Bell (Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|52||Roman Kilun (Team Ouch Presented By Maxxis)|
|53||Shawn Milne (Team Type1)|
|54||Winston David (Z-Motion)|
|55||Juan Pablo Dotti (Aerocat Cycling Team)|
|56||Ben Miller (Globalbike p/b Catoman)|
|57||Pat Lemieux (Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team)|
|58||Charles Huff (Jelly Belly)|
|59||Kevin Attkisson (Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team)|
|60||Matthew Crane (Jelly Belly)|
|61||Daniel Ramsey (Team Mountain Khakis p/b Ep-no)|
|62||Somraj Seepersaud (Team United)|
|63||Luca Damiani (Colavita/sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)|
|64||Mark Warno (Immediate Mortgage - Artemis E)|
|65||John Delong (Hincapie /Gary Fisher/Barkley)|
|66||Richard Harper (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spingery)|
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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