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Kersten king at Sunny King

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Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) salutes the crowd in Anniston

Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) salutes the crowd in Anniston
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Alessandro Bazzana (3rd, Fly V Australia), Ben Kersten (1st, Fly V Australia) and Hilton Clarke (2nd, Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling)

Alessandro Bazzana (3rd, Fly V Australia), Ben Kersten (1st, Fly V Australia) and Hilton Clarke (2nd, Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling)
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Riders observe events in the pack

Riders observe events in the pack
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Just a hint of irony in the Sunny King criterium taking place at night

Just a hint of irony in the Sunny King criterium taking place at night
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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United Healthcare were well represented on the night

United Healthcare were well represented on the night
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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The men's pro field whips past the crowds

The men's pro field whips past the crowds
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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A Bahati Foundation rider leads a long line of KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER riders

A Bahati Foundation rider leads a long line of KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER riders
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER were on the attack in the twilight

KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER were on the attack in the twilight
(Image credit: Brandon Andrews)

Ben Kersten (Fly V Australia) stole another victory for his team from a large group that lapped the field at the National Racing Calendar (NRC) Sunny King Criterium held in Anniston, Alabama on Saturday.

The Australian sprinter went on to win the bunch kick to the line ahead of Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation) in second and his teammate Alessandro Bazzana in third.

Hundreds of competitors lined up under dusk hours for the start of the twilight 60-lap criterium. The one kilometre, four-corner course is notorious for being fast with an uphill drag to the finish line followed by a long descent on the backside of the circuit.

Call ups included defending champion Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare), former US Pro Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati and teammate Nathan O'Neill (Bahati Foundation), Chad Hartley (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder), Isaac Howe (Mountain Khakis fb Jittery Joes) and the rest of the field.

Andrew Crater was the first to make a move off the front of a very fast start to the men's race. The soloist picked up several lucrative cash primes in his three-lap breakaway. Bahati Foundation was largely responsible for reeling him back into the field.

Daniel Holt (Team Type 1) attacked in the early laps but was quickly brought back with in half lap. Nathan O'Neill (Bahati Foundation) was the next to make a move but he too was unsuccessful in staying away. Chad Hartley (Kenda Pro Cycling) counter attacked and soloed for several laps.

The sky darkened as the sun set and the riders depended on street lights for vision. Hilton Clarke (Bahati Foundation) tried to speed things up with an attack. However, after several early season victories, all eyes were on the Australian sprinter as one of the race favorites and the peloton gave him no leeway.

Small groups formed and the field splintered as one attack after another lead to the formation of five breakaway riders that included Clarke and Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home). Three riders bridged across to form a nine-man move however a lack of organization and motivation neutralized the break and they were reeled back in.

The large group reshuffled and riders from the field tried to bridge across. Amaran and Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation) pushed the pace at the front of the breakaway by attacking it several times to form a smaller and more efficient group. Chasers from the original breakaway pulled themselves back across to the two riders.

The front group ballooned to approximately 15 riders with a 30-second gap ahead of the field and every team represented by at least one rider.

The break included defending champion Karl Menzies and Matt Crane (UnitedHealthcare), Ben Kersten and Alessandro Bazzana (Fly V Australia), Hilton Clarke and Cesar Grajales (Bahati Foundation), Frank Travieso and Luis Amaran (Jamis-Sutter Home p/b Colavita), Tim Henry (Team Type 1), Rich Harper (Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder), Will Hoffarth (Mountain Khakis), Chad Burdzilauskas (Kenda Pro Cycling), Alder Martz (Globalbikes) and Ty Magner (Loccos Grill and Pub).

A game of cat and mouse caused the breakaway to lose some of its advantage over the field but continued attacks from individual riders in the move kept them safely out front with a 35-second advantage.

With 27 laps to go, Grajales made a decisive move. It forced his breakaway companions to chase and allow his teammate Clarke to save his legs for the finale sprint. Amaran jumped next, followed by Bazzana and the pair gained an instant 10-second gap.

The leading duo became more dangerous as they moved closer to the back of the peloton. They successfully lapped the main field inside 20 laps to go. The large chase group lapped the field shortly after making the race win between the original 15-rider breakaway.

The odds-on favorite sprinters Menzies and Clarke who were both former winners of the race. Clarke was prepared to use his experience from winning the race in 2008, which was also from a breakaway that lapped the field. The peloton blasted around the last corner in a gallop to the line won by Kersten, with help from his teammate Bazzana. Clarke placed second and Bazzana held on for third.

Full Results
1Ben Kersten (Aus) Fly V Australia1:22:05
2Hilton Clarke (Aus) Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling
3Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Fly V Australia
4Chad Burdzilauskas (USA) KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER
5Karl Menzies (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional
6Luis Romero Amaran (USA) Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita
7Frank Travieso (USA) Champion Porsche P/b Herbalife
8Ty Magner (USA) Locos Grill & Pub
9Will Hoffarth (USA) Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes
10Cesar Grajales (USA) Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling
11Tim Henry (USA) Team Type 1 Development
12Alder Martz (USA) Team Globalbike
13Rich Harper (USA) KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER
14Matthew Crane (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
15Isaac Howe (USA) Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes
16Jacob Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
17Schmidt Alexey (Rus) Team Type 1
18Eric Barlevav (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
19Thomas Brown (USA) Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jittery Joes
20Sebastian Flaskamp (Ger) Droessiger
21Rahsaan Bahati (USA) Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling
22Olaf Kerkhof (Ned) Team Type 1 Development
23Allison Pat (USA) Team Ion-United Healtcare
24Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
25Meyer A.J. (USA)
26Jonathan Atkins (USA) Outspokin
27Brian Toone (USA) Tria Market p/b DonohooAuto.co
28Chad Hartley (USA) KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER
29Terry Duran (USA) Tria/Donohoo Auto
30Murphy Eric (USA) Team Ion-United Healtcare
31Juan Pablo Dotti (Arg) Aerocat Cycling Team
32Holt Daniel (USA) Team Type 1
33Tiago Depaula (USA) DEPAULA RACING
34Casey Magner (USA) Locos Grill & Pub
35Michael Stone (USA) Hincapie Development
37Winston David (USA) Team Ion-United Healtcare
38Tyler Karnes (USA)
39Jonathan Clarke (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
40Jim Stemper (USA) KENDA Pro Cycling p/b GEARGRINDER
41Chris Monteleone (USA) Team Kenda
42Travis Sherman (USA) warp9bikes.com - TriStar
43Rob White (USA) Team Kenda
44Jon Hamblen (USA) Mtn Khakis
46Robert Giannini (USA) Locos Grill & Pub
47Oscar Clark (USA) Team Mountain Khakis f/b Jitte
48Yosvany Falcon (USA) Bahati Foundation Elite Team
49Matthew Howe (USA) the happy tooth p/b Inside-Out
50Collins Joseph (USA) Locos Grill & Pub
51Emilio Asconeguy (USA) Aerocat Cycling Team
52Ivan Dominguez (USA) Jamis Sutter Home p/b Colavita

 

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