Photo by Luke Seemann

Chicago Criterium wrap-up

Jul 27
Filed in: Race reports, Chicago Criterium,

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Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) escaped on an unlikely flier and the 35+ 1/2/3 race yielded a four-man break, but otherwise it was a day for bunch sprints at Sunday's Chicago Criterium. Few break attempts got more than a few seconds, and the overall speeds were high as everyone gunned for big-money primes and hoped to come out on top of large, stacked fields.

  • » This video from Tim Radcliff (Team EMC2) doesn't quite clarify what caused a crash before the final turn of what was the largest and strongest 3's race of the year -- and I'm officially against public finger-pointing. What is clear is that 300 meters was the perfect spot for Paul Wood (MOB Squad) to jump, and mayhem was to be expected as others swerved and jockeyed to catch his wheel. Shane Winn (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) came closest but couldn't close the gap on the homestretch, and for the second year a Hoosier interloper took this race. Winn and Ricardo Otero (WDT-Allvoi) rounded out the podium. (Don't miss Ed White's (Half Acre Cycling) dramatic photo of Ben LaForce (Team Get a Grip Cycles) unclipping over his handlebars.)
  • » Bissell/ABG is 2-for-2 at the Chicago Criterium, and the 35+ 1/2/3 race may have been the most exciting on the day. Various small groups of aggressive riders were off the front the entire race, eventually leading to a winning foursome out of which Jason Swiatkowksi (Bissell/ABG) would win by a large margin, followed by Dave Stone (Verizon Wireless) and Scott Pearson (Comcast/Higher Gear). 2008 winner Derek Witte (Bissell/ABG) won the field sprint for 5th. (From that sprint, here's another great handelbar video from John Coyle (Wolverine Sports Club). He is a master at carving his way up through the pack on the final lap.)
  • » In a post-race interview, veteran and former national champion Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) singled out locals Kristen Meshberg (Team BH Racing) and Debbie Dust (PACT-Dish Network) for being aggressive in the women's P/1/2/3 race, but the out-of-towners took the podium in this one. Van Gilder led out of the final corner and almost held off Canadian Joelle Numainville (Kenda), who as shown above came from sixth position to win. Meshberg and Dust both finished in the top 10 -- White has a great shot of Meshberg watching Numainville pass in the sprint -- and former Chicagoan Jennifer Greenberg (Vanderkitten) took an apparently uncontested $400 gamblers prime.
  • » Will Joel Friedman (Bicycle Heaven) ever upgrade to the 3's, or might he just skip ahead and join brother MIke Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream) in the pro ranks? After winning Superweek races Friday and Saturday, Friedman launched a long sprint to take Sunday's 4's race ahead of Greg Kick (Turin).
  • » Tyler Avery (Team Pegasus) was aggressive in his Cat 5 heat, getting a threatening solo gap midway through. Upon the catch he was able to recover enough to handily take the bunch sprint for first. Herb Seitz and Bjorn Hammer, two of the six XXX Racing-AthletiCo riders who crowded the top 12, came in 2nd and 3rd. Mike Balco (Unattached) took the other Cat 5 heat.
  • » Nebo Ridge and XXX Racing-AthletiCo were the biggest teams in one of the largest women's 4's fields we've seen this year, and it was no surprise that they were highly involved in the final sprint. It was a photo finish, with Julia Daher (XXX Racing-AthletiCo) beating Robin Bauer (Nebo Ridge) with the throw.
  • » South Chicago Wheelmen had a good day, with Danny Solomon enjoying a nice post-up upon winning the 35+ 4/5 race, and Brandon Feehery placing 2nd behind 14-year-old Rudyard Peterson (Kalamazoo Bicycle Club) in the juniors race.

Full results.

Race reports Tyler Avery (Team Pegasus; 5): "I really wanted to throw my hands in the air over the finish line or mimic some signature move from a pro, but I felt that might be a little too cocky."

Vanessa Buccella (Spidermonkey Cycling; W-4): "I started moving to the front because I remember someone saying that you if you could make it into the front for the last hill you had a good chance of making the top five."

Stephen Butler (Wheelfast; 4): "I found myself at very tail end of the mass of 120+ riders that were already at the line. Super."

Rob Curtis (Bicycle Heaven; 4, 35+ 4/5): "Rode heads up and it paid off."

Debbie Dust (PACT-Dish Network; W-P/1/2/3): "I had to grab a lot of brake to avoid a potential wreck coming over from the left and lost some position because of it."

Colm Flannery (Proctor; 35+ 4/5): "With no real zip in my legs I quickly found myself at the back."

Ed Hernandez (North Branch; 3): "At one point, I wondered if a sniper was sitting on some rooftop overlooking Grant Park using us for target practice."

Brad Huff (Jelly Belly; P/1/2): "Mike Friedman (Garmin-Slipstream) was riding like a full team but he was just a one-man show, a one-man show with a rocket in his back pocket waiting to be lit."

Joey Iuliano (Purdue; P/1/2): "It was wicked fast and somewhat demoralizing to be near the back of a 180-man field and see the front taking a corner well before you're even ready to set up for it."

Chris Jensen (Half Acre Cycling; 5): "The only thing left was a good showing at the end."

Ben LaForce (Team Get a Grip Cycles; 3): "I was immediately behind him and rode over his bike and flipped over my handlebars at close to 30mph."

Bryan Merrill (Spidermonkey Cycling; 35+ 1/2/3): "We immediately slowed, bunched and I watched the massive surge blow by me on the left."

Kristen Meshberg (Team BH USA; W-P/1/2/3): "When we hit the final corner my instinct told me to go now! and I exploded first out of the corner."

John Meyers (ABD; P/1/2): "Chris Horner (Astana) probably was bored and scared out of his mind the whole race. It was easy, and slow."

Martin Michalowicz (MS Racing; 4): "I was spent, but I wasn’t unhappy."

Avi Neurohr (Chicago Cuttin' Crew; 4, 35+ 4/5): "I'm totally disenchanted with crits at this point in the summer, but it's hard not to love this one. Fast and wide, nowhere to hide."

Will Nowak (Alderfer Bergen; P/1/2): "I raced the front and got in a few breaks (one featuring Chris Horner (Astana)), although nothing lasted longer than a lap."

Podium Insight: "'Because of the money, no one wanted to go hard enough, everybody wanted to get into the breakaway but didn’t want to work.'"

Tony Rienks (Beverly Bike/Vee-Pak; 4, 35+ 4/5): "I had a good sprint at the end but got pinched by the guardrail jutting out on the east side of the course behind a slower sprinter."

Joe Schubert (Half Acre Cycling; 4): "I tried to be a ghost but still stayed aggressive."

Albert Segura (XXX Racing-AthletiCo; 4): "I’m skidding, skidding, and somehow keeping the bike upright with my back wheel locked up and my foot in the spokes."

Mike Shea (Spidermonkey Cycling; 4): "In the bell lap, I had good position, was ready to go, got on a good wheel on the backside and going up the overpass at Balbo riders shifted lines and I lost the wheel I was on."

Mike Sherer (Alderfer Bergen; P/1/2): "All that work just to get taken out on the last lap. Very Frustrating! I guess that's bike racing."

SRAM Road Diaries: "The final lap disrupted that train and the final sprint turned into a melee to get out of the final turn clean."

Steve Tilford (Tradewind Energy-Trek Stores; P/1/2): "The result wasn’t what was desired for the amount of pain I went through to get to the end. Bike racing."

VeloNews: "'Guys are jockeying for position, guys are being aggressive. I was like, 'Good lord, can everyone just calm down?'"

Kristen Wentworth (Kenda; W-P/1/2/3): "The speed was fairly high but as we approached the final two corners things got a little squirrelly."

Bryan Witry (Spidermonkey Cycling; 5): "As we slammed down the front stretch with one lap to go, everything seemed to fall into place."

Andrew Zens (Spidermonkey Cycling; 5): "When you sit at the front for the whole race it kind of sucks to finish mid-pack."

Photos Chicago Personal Photographers Nikki Cyp Steve Dennis Amy Dykema Carolyn Golz Goose Island Gavin Gould Aaron Greco Jason Knauff John Rowland: P/1/2, W-P/1/2/3 Luke Seemann Brad Trankina Ed White



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