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USA Crits Southeast Series - NE

USA, April 28-May 6, 2007

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Race 8 - May 6: Decatur Downtown Criterium, 75min+3/60min+3 laps (M/W)

Hekman and Pic claim the overall

By Kirsten Robbins in Decatur, Alabama

Gunn's shot aimed at victory

Curtis Gunn
Photo ©: J. Lamont Brown
(Click for larger image)

The field sat back and watched two riders who were not in contention for the overall standings roll off the front in beginning of the seventy-five minute finale of the South East Crit Series. Successful Living's Curtis Gunn and Michael Olheiser (Amateur Cycling & Fitness-Memphis Motor Works) performed a two up time trial for over forty laps that ended in Gunn's stage victory along with the solidification of his lead in the 'most laps led' competition. Priority Health's Emile Abraham jumped out of the peloton's lead out to take the final spot on the podium.

"This week was hard with the travel and racing crits everyday," acknowledged Gunn at the end of the eight-day criterium circus. "I was just looking to move up in the most laps led competition and make sure Adam Bergman (Colavita/Sutter Home) didn't come up to get points... and the next thing I knew I had a huge gap."

Olheiser joined Gunn after an early race prime with the help of Kelly Benefit Strategies' Johnny Sundt. The trio was reduced to two when Sundt lost contact with the pair after a second prime. Gunn commented on the pair's efforts, and his shaky confidence in his ability to win. "We had forty laps to think about the finish, but in the beginning of the break we sprinted for a prime and Michael won so I knew he had some speed in him," Gunn said. "In the end he must have been a little tired, especially after another thirty laps, because I was able to beat him in the end."

Olheiser joined the series late in the game with the intention of trying his hand in an NRC-level cycling race. He played his hand well, and capitalized off of the peloton's reluctance to chase riders not in contention for the overall standings. "Curtis is just a nice, strong rider and I asked him not to fight with me during the break and for us to just roll it well," Olheiser said. "This is my first result in an NRC race."

Back in the field, Jittery Joe's and AEG fought hard at the front with ten laps to go in an effort to set up their sprinters up for the remaining third spot on the podium. Priority Health's Emile Abraham sat protected behind the lead-out trains, but with out his own teammates. Patience and good timing was all he needed to jump out of the field and scoop up a podium place.

The one rider who stood out strong in the peloton this week is the overall series winner from Abercrombie & Fitch, Mark Hekman. The29 year-old has competed in a handful of criterium's around US, but admits that this is his biggest victory in his cycling career, and one that he never expected to achieve beginning at the Athens Twilight. "This is the biggest race I've ever won unless you count the Tuesday night training crits at home!" Hekman said with a laugh of disbelief. "We are going to continue racing the whole National Crit Series, race in crits galore and then camp out at Super Week. I'm not even going to try to climb hills this year, just crits."

Hekman commented on his tactics during the final event and his contentment in the break swallowing midway points to help him out. "I was having a lot of fun out there this week," Hekman said. "We were happy the break went because they took up the points in the race and that took the pressure off of us. It seemed like everyone was content to ride around."

"It has been an outstanding week for us," the winner added. "We did so well in the first race and have been riding the race ever since. It was a gift that Kodak-Sierra Nevada left on Thursday because they were the closest in the standings. It has been a great week but now that it's done I can say it was exhausting too."

Uhl takes the break

Cheerwine's Sarah Uhl
Photo ©: J. Lamont Brown
(Click for larger image)

Similar to the men's race, the women's field was content to let a break of six riders that were not in contention for the overall standings to slip up the road and sweep up any remaining points. Cheerwine's former junior world champion on the track, Sarah Uhl popped out of the break to take the win over Aaron's Catherine Powers, while her lead out and teammate Catherine Cheatley hung on for third place.

The women began the race under high temperatures with plenty of women with tired legs still fighting for the last chance victory. After multiple attacks, a break of six riders split from the field initiated by Robin Farina (TargetTraining) and followed by Uhl. "It was a cool race for every one," said the savvy young sprinter. "I was so excited to be in a break with my teammate Chatherine, and she has been a really neat addition to our team. We were out there for about two laps and then several others bridged up to us. We were all out of the overall so it was a good time for the group to let the break form."

The six riders in the break included Uhl, Powers, Cheatley and Farina with the addition of Advil-ChapStick's Laura Bowles and UltraLink's Kele Murdin. Not all members in the break were interested in working, but with the field at bay it was able to gain thirty-five seconds before the finish.

"Everyone seemed to be happy with this break," Uhl said. " But before the race I didn't think a break would happen so I felt fortunate to get the opportunity at the right time."

Several riders attacked the break to try and go for the win in the closing laps, but on the final circuit, it was all back together, and Cheatley was able to get a perfect lead-out for her teammate. "When we came through with the bell lap no one wanted to take the lead. I sat on Catherine's wheel. Kele Murdin attacked and I got on her and followed her through the last two corners. I waited until after the last turn and went from there. It's amazing the energy you can create to win a bike race."

Back in the field, Cheerwine's Laura VanGilder found herself being shadowed by Colavita/Sutter Home's Tina Pic. The two powerhouse sprinters were in close contention for the overall standings, but with Pic in the lead all she needed to focus on was not letting VanGilder gain further points.

Overall race winner Pic won three criteriums of the eight held in the South East Crit Series. She commented on the break as being a blessing in disguise while she admitted that following VanGilder in the peloton is not an easy chore. "Anyone could have rolled up the road so long as I stayed attached to Laura we didn't care," Pic said. "I was literally in the back following Laura around today. All she had to do was finish three places ahead of me and she would have taken the lead so I really had to watch her today."

Though Cheerwine did not claim the top spot in the overall standings they took home everything else. VanGilder expressed her gratitude for having such a strong team present in the South East Crit Series. "We got two on the podium today and that was awesome," VanGilder said. "To have the overall team victory we were extremely happy with that along with having a rider on the podium everyday so to have another victory was the best."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by J. Lamont Brown


Pro men
1 Curtis Gunn (            1.16.21
2 Michael Olheiser (Amateur Cycling & Fitness)         
3 Emile Abraham (Priority Health)                  0.18
4 Frank Travieso (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)              
5 Cody Stevenson (Jittery Joe's)                       
6 Mark Hekman (Abercrombie & Fitch)                    
7 Luca Damiani (Colavita-Sutterhome)                   
8 Oscar Henao (UCL)                                    
9 Alejandro Borrajo (Rite Aid)                         
10 Chris Scott (Loco's)                                
11 Ricardo Escuela (              
12 Alejandro Acton (Colavita-Sutterhome)               
13 Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefit)                      
14 John Murphy (Healthnet)                             
15 Casey Magner (Myogenesis)                           
16 Davide Frattini (Colavita-Sutterhome)               
17 Adam Myerson (Nerac)                                
18 Craig Dodson (Natures Path)                         
19 Adam Bergman (Colavita-Sutterhome)                  
20 Jon Atkins (Myogenesis)                             
21 Johnny Sundt (Kelly Benefit)                        
22 David Guttenplan (Sakonnet Technologies)            
23 Yosvany Falcon (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)             
24 Ward Solar (Natures Path)                           
25 Clayton Barrows (Rite Aid)                          
26 Palma Guido (Rite Aid)                              
27 Marquez Idiarle                                     
28 Gustavo Artacho (Colavita-Sutterhome)               
29 Matt Winstead (Tri Star Cycling)                    
30 Oneil Samuels (Pacesetters Steel)                   
31 Emilio Asconeguy (UCL)                              
32 Bill Short (Alliance Environmental/Hincapie)        
33 Wesley Hartman (HART)                               
34 Rich Harper (Abercrombie & Fitch)                   
35 Aidan Charles (Nerac)                               
36 Randy Reichardt (HART)                              
37 Ryan Barnett (Myogenesis)                           
38 Jim Baldsare (Abercrombie & Fitch)                  
39 Jered Gruber (TIME Developmental Team)              
40 Keith Norris (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)               
41 Matt Seagrave (Compliance Depot)                    
42 Reid Peacock (Pacesetters Steel)                    
43 Tiago Depaula (TIME Developmental Team)             
44 Shane Densmore (Compliance Depot)                   
45 Brian Toone                                         
46 Patrick Walsh (Nerac)                               
47 Marco Aledia (Abercrombie & Fitch)                  
48 Kolt Bates (Compliance Depot)                       
49 Diego Garavito (UCL)                                
50 Christopher Monteleone (TIME Developmental Team)    
51 Josh Carter                                         
52 Chuck Coyle (                  
53 Patrick Caro (                 
54 Daniel thompson                                     
55 Gregory Coggin                                      
56 Dusan Ganic (                  
57 (Unknown)                                           
58 Todd Wezefski (Nerac)                               
59 Christian Valenzuela (         
60 Matthew Hansley (Loco's)                            
61 Chris Frederick (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)            
62 Seth Hansley (Loco's)                               
63 David Wiswell (Nerac)                               
Overall series
1 Mark Hekman (Abercrombie & Fitch )               1740 pts
2 Cody Stevenson (Jittery Joe's)                   1650
3 Frank Travieso (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)          1599
4 Davide Frattini (Colavita-Sutterhome)            1426
5 Adam Myerson (Nerac)                             1318
6 Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefit)                   1266
7 Yosvany Falcon (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)          1201
8 Luca Damiani (Colavita-Sutterhome)               1177
9 Keith Norris (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)            1176
10 Oscar Henao (UCL)                               1170
11 Guido Palma (Rite Aid)                          1162
12 Casey Magner (Myogenesis)                       1075
13 Matt Seagrave (Compliance Depot)                1016
14 Dan Holt (Nerac)                                 999
15 Curtis Gunn (               990
16 Adam Bergman (Colavita-Sutterhome)               975
17 Craig Dodson (Nature's Path ProAm)               964
18 Ricardo Escuela (           956
19 Ward Solar (Nature's Path ProAm)                 918
20 Phil Whikoff (HealthCoach)                       896
21 Alexi Martinez (            881
22 Christian Valenzuela (      875
23 Seth Hansley (Locos)                             865
24 Marco Aledia (Abercrombie & Fitch)               828
25 Chris Frederick (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)         823
26 Gustavo Artacho (Colavita-Sutterhome)            794
27 Dusan Ganic (               780
28 Shane Densmore (Compliance Depot)                760
29 Randy Reichardt (HART)                           757
30 Patrick Walsh (Nerac)                            697
31 Chris Scott (Locos)                              678
32 Bill Short (Alliance Environmental/Hincapie)     671
33 Jim Baldsare (Abercrombie & Fitch)               660
34 Emilio Asconeguy (UCL)                           653
35 Aidan Charles (Nerac)                            651
36 Oneil Samuels (Pacesetters Steel)                641
37 Josh Carter (ABD Racing)                         610
38 Ryan Barnett (Myogenesis)                        606
39 Andrew Crater (Wheel and Sprocket)               580
40 Rich Harper (Abercrombie & Fitch)                578
41 Wesley Hartman (HART)                            576
42 Alejandro Acton (Colavita-Sutterhome)            575
43 Mark Hinnen (Kelly Benefit)                      567
44 Neil Coleman (Abercrombie & Fitch)               564
45 Gregory Coggin (unattached)                      562
46 Diego Garavito (UCL)                             550
47 Grant Potter (Locos)                             548
48 Kolt Bates (Compliance Depot)                    546
49 Cleve Blackwell (Myogenesis)                     519
50 Leo Frayre Avalos (Colavita-Sutterhome)          483
51 Alexandre Sebastian (Rite Aid)                   471
52 David Wenger (HealthCoach)                       471
53 Jeff Critser (unattached)                        450
54 Frankie Dierking (Abercrombie & Fitch)           450
55 John Grant (Texas Roadhouse)                     380
Pro women
1 Sarah Uhl (Cheerwine)                         1.05.18
2 Catherine Powers (Aaron's)                           
3 Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine)                       
4 Robin Farina (Targetraining)                         
5 Laura Bowles (Advil Chapstick)                       
6 Kele Murdin (Team Ultralink)                         
7 Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)                     0.36
8 Tina Pic (Colavita)                                  
9 Anna Webb (AE Sport Development)                     
10 Sarah Caravella (Aaron's)                           
11 Jennette Williams (Hub Racing)                      
12 Holli Steelman (Juice Plus Cycling)                 
13 Christina DeKraay (HT Naturals)                     
14 Mackenzie Dickey (Colavita)                         
15 Andrea Meyers (Targetraining)                       
16 Shontelle Gauthier (Team Ultralink)                 
17 Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine)                          
18 Katharine Carroll (Aaron's)                         
19 Sheba Farrin (Hub Racing)                           
20 Leigh Valletti (Targetraining)                      
21 Elizabeth Morse-Hill                                
22 Cheryl Fuller (Reality Bikes)                       
23 Mandy Lozano (Targetraining)                        
24 Julie Bishop (Bents Cyclery)                        
25 Kim Sawyer (BMW/Bianchi)                            
26 Chrissy Ruiter (Cheerwine)                          
27 Joanie Caron (AE Sport Development)                 
28 Heather Labance (Advil Chapstick)                   
29 Elisa Gagnon (Advil Chapstick)                      
30 Mariah MacGregor (AE Sport Development)             
31 Kathleen Billington (Targetraining)                 
32 Dale Tye (Hub Racing)                               
33 Iona Wynter (Colavita)                              
34 Kim Foland                                          
35 Shannon Koch (Compliance Depot)                     
36 Genevieve Gagnon (UltraLInk)                        
37 Stacey Spencer (Colavita)                           
38 Tara Ross (Advil Chapstick)                         
39 Katherine Clark (HT Naturals)                       
40 Michelle Kiesanowski (Aaron's)                      
41 Kirsten Robins (Advil Chapstick)                    
42 Reem Jishi (Advil Chapstick)                        
43 Lee Farabaugh (Birmingham, AL)                      
Overall series
1 Tina Pic (Colavita)                              1909 pts
2 Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)                     1872
3 Katharine Carroll (Aaron's)                      1743
4 Shontelle Gauthier (Team Ultralink)              1663
5 Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine)                   1634
6 Sarah Caravella (Aaron's)                        1626
7 Mackenzie Dickey (Colavita)                      1622
8 Holli Steelman (Juice Plus)                      1577
9 Iona Wynter (Colavita)                           1565
10 Laura Bowles (Advil Chapstick)                  1541
11 Christina DeKraay (HT Natural)                  1494
12 Kele Murdin (Team Ultralink)                    1472
13 Sarah Uhl (Cheerwine)                           1450
14 Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine)                      1393
15 Robin Farinna (Targetraining)                   1376
16 Jennette Williams (Hub Racing)                  1225
17 Catherine Powers (Aaron's)                      1209
18 Chrissy Ruiter (Cheerwine)                      1165
19 Mandy Lozano (Targetraining)                    1073
20 Stacey Spencer (Colavita)                       1045
21 Shannon Koch (Compliance Depot)                 1020
22 Elisa Gagnon (Advil Chapstick)                  1019
23 Kathleen Billington (Targetraining)              965
24 Andrea Meyers (Targetraining)                    885
25 Joanne Kiesanowski (Aaron's)                     862
26 Sheba Farrin (Hub Racing)                        829
27 Kathryn Clarke (unattached)                      862
28 Dale Tye (Hub Racing)                            799
29 Nicole Bossie (Cycleworks)                       785
30 Leslie Jennings (ABRT/Latitude)                  721
31 Tara Ross (Advil Chapstick)                      684
32 Wendy Ulmer (ABRT/Latitude)                      550
33 Christi-An Hansley (Team Kenda Tire)             537
34 Cari Higgins (America's Dairyland)               469
35 Clara Beard (Cheerwine)                          400