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Crystal City Classic - NE
Virginia, USA, June 16, 2007
Wamsley stumps breakaway, Van Gilder delivered to sprint win
Kyle Wamsley (Navigators Insurance) was the freshest of two breakaway riders and won a simple sprint ahead of Jon Hamblin (Manulife/Kane) in the men's event at the inaugural Crystal City Classic presented by the United States Air Force in Arlington, Virginia on Saturday. The pair escaped a high-tempo field with twelve kilometers remaining in the race. Local rider Peter Cannel (Artemis Elite - Immediate Mortgage) took the field sprint for third.
Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine) won the inaugural women's Crystal City Classic. Held on a two-kilometer criterium circuit within walking distance of the Pentagon, Van Gilder's Cheerwine team had done a masterful job of controlling the 47-rider women's race setting Van Gilder up for her sprint win ahead of Anna Lang (SDBC Karl Strauss) and Sarah Caravella (Aaron's Corporate Furnishings).
Despite the relative success of the the event in it's first year of existence, the day ended with the tragic news of the death of an amateur rider. The local racer from Alexandria, Virginia - a 51 year old male who was participating in the 35+ Men's Amateur event Saturday morning - suffered medical distress during his race. He was treated at the scene by paramedics from the Arlington County Fire Department (who were staffing the race) and was transported to George Washington University Hospital where he was pronounced dead later in the day.
Storming the Pentagon
Being home to many who work at the nearby headquarters building for the United States military, the inaugural Crystal City Classic had an unusual named sponsor for a bike race; the U.S. Air Force. The perks of that sponsorship were not only a world class performance of the Star Spangled Banner by a member of the Air Force and a helicopter flyover of the men's start but also an extended parade lap that took the 120-rider men's field through a normally closed route through the Pentagon parking lot and past the newly-erected Air Force memorial in Arlington.
After category racing earlier in the day, the women were the first professionals to ever race in Crystal City; a business district and urban neighborhood just south of the Pentagon on the Potomac River. The Cheerwine team had their domestic star Laura Van Gilder in the race and the rest of the 47-rider field seemed to share the tactic of marking her.
Van Gilder says that even though they didn't sit down before the race and map out a specific tactic, knowing that the field expected her team to do all the work gave Cheerwine a couple of angles to grab the lion's share of the $5,000 purse. The first angle obviously that the team liked Van Gilder's chances in a sprint. But they also had another angle to play by sending Kiwi Catherine Cheatley in an early break. "Catherine and I really think alike and when we're racing," Van Gilder said after the finish. "We didn't have radios or anything, but I knew we'd have the same thought process. Having Catherine up there took a lot of the pressure off me. She has great endurance and it put the other teams on the defensive."
While other teams chased the break with Cheatley in it, Category 1 racer Anna Lang sat in the group and watched Van Gilder. 28 years old, Lang most recently raced on the track and was in Virginia with SDBC-Karl Strauss; a San Diego-based club team. "I knew it was a long straightaway," Lang said. "I'm a track sprinter so I felt like I could go in a drag race. My tactic was to sit in a go for the sprint, to not work at all until the finish."
With three laps to go, the women's field was all together. Third-place finisher Sarah Caravella (Aaron's Corporate Furniture) was the first to jump after a lead out from teammate Rebecca Larsen.
Lang says she saw the lead out and tucked in behind Caravella. "I was just looking for wheels," she said. "I kept watching for the move then I kind of jumped." Lang crossed the line sitting up, thinking she had taken the sprint for what would have been her first NRC win, not seeing Van Gilder slide a tire's width in front on her left. "I didn't sense anyone next to me," Lang said. "She got me. I guess I should have pedaled just a little bit harder but she got me. She's a fantastic competitor. Next time."
"I've lost sprints by that much or less and I've won by that little as well and I wasn't sure I got it after we crossed the line," Van Gilder, who was philosophical about the closeness of the finish, said. "She certainly gave me a run for the money."
Van Gilder said her sights are set next on a strong of races leading up to the Criterium Nationals in Downer's Grove, Illinois. "I'd love to wear the Stars and Stripes jersey for the next season of racing."
Lang says that she will next be spending two weeks in residence at the Troxeltown, Pennsylvania track but her success in the Crystal City Classic may inspire a full time move to the road for 2008.
Making something stick
The men's field had an equally difficult time making an early move stick - but not for lack of aggression this time. The field included strong international and domestic riders like Hilton Clarke and Viktor Rapinski (Navigator's Insurance), Allejandro Borrajo (Rite Aid), Bobby Lea (Toyota United), Davide Fratini (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Jon Hamblin (Kane Bikes) and the tempo remianed high for the first half of the 80-kilomter criterium.
With a $10,000 purse, Navigators, with three riders who looked like race favorites in the field, were at a disadvantage to the stacked Rite Aid, Colavita, Kane Bikes and Harley Davidson teams. Eventual winner Kyle Walmsley (Navigator's Insurance) said he and teammates Clarke and Rapinski had to be calm. "We had to be a little patient because there was only the three of us," he said. "Colavita had a lot of riders. Rite Aid had a lot of riders. We knew it was going to be tough to get something away."
In the end, it was the aggression of a rider from another team that pulled Walmsley into position for victory. "I had been going for everything since the halfway point then there was this little lull (with six laps to go) and I decided to go for it," said eventual second-place finisher Hamblin.
Walmsley jumped out of the chasing pack to bridge to Hamblin with six laps to go. "(Kyle) was drilling it, ripping my legs off," Hamblin said. "I was just hanging on."
"I was glad to hook up with a good partner; to get off the front and rock and roll. I knew I had the good sprinters in the field to back me up if I got caught," Walmsley said. "We took a chance and it paid off."
The pair held theit 15-second advantage into the final lap. "I was hoping we could stay away," Walmsley said. ". By myself, I would have had a tough time staying away. Hamblin was giving me just enough of a break to keep rolling. With him (to work with), we didn't have too much of a problem."
"There was no way I was going to beat Kyle in the sprint though," Hamblin said.
"Vasilli (Davidenko - Navigator's Insurance team director) was on the radio and told me I had it sewn up when we were in the straighaway," Walmsley, who has his eyes on the USPRO Criterium Championships in Downer's Grove in August, said about the final 500 meters.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Bill McCarrick/www.buffalo2step.com
Images by Andrew Murdock
Pro men 1 Kyle Wamsley (USA) Navigators Insurance 2.18.03 2 Jon Hamblen (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 0.04 3 Peter Cannell (USA) Artemis Elite - Immediate Mortg 0.15 4 Rick Norton (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lsv Am 0.16 5 Hilton Clarke (Aus) Navigators Insurance 6 Alejandro Barrajo (Arg) Rite Aid 7 Viktor Rapinski (Aus) Navigators Insurance 8 Michael Stoop (USA) Seigler/ Axley Usa 9 Paul Ward (USA) Nature's Path Cycling 10 Adam Meyerson (USA) Nerac 11 Guy East (USA) Crca/Sakonnet Technology U25 12 Gavriel Epstein (USA) Crca/Sakonnet Technology U25 13 David Guttenplan (USA) Crca/Sakonnet Technology U25 14 Colby P (USA) Cody Racing 15 David Fuentes (USA) Battley Harley-Davidson P/B Hud 16 Mike Muller (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 0.18 17 Mathew White (USA) Fiordifrutta 18 Nathan Coleman (USA) Artemis Elite/Immediate Mortgag 19 Bobby Lea (USA) Toyota United 20 Gustavo Artacho (USA) Colavita/Sutter Home 21 Jered Gruber (USA) Time Factory Development Team 22 Evan Fader (USA) Battley Harley-Davidson P/B Hud 23 Ward Solar (USA) Nature's Path Cycling 24 Ryan Dewald (USA) Rite Aid 25 Daniel Holt (USA) Nerac 26 Gerardo Castro (Uru) Nature's Path Cycling 0.19 27 Jay Moglia (USA) Route 1 Velo / Capitol Hill Bik 28 Stephen De Lisle (USA) Hilton Cycling Club 29 Chris Monteleone (USA) Time Factory Development Team 30 Nick Friesen (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lsv Am 31 Kenneth Young (USA) Team Clean Currents P/B Don Bey 32 Ryan Mele (USA) Trek Of Pittsburgh 33 Mitchell Luck (USA) Endurance Magazine/Flight Club 0.20 34 Bo Lee (USA) Immediate Mortgage - Artemis El 35 Steve Lusby (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lsv Am 0.21 36 Sean Barrie (USA) Battley Harley-Davidson P/B Hud 37 Tony Hall (USA) Seigler/Axleyusa.Com 38 Jason Meidhof (USA) Ncvc/Inova Health System 39 Jeff Buckles (USA) Richmond Ciclismo U23 40 Stephan Kincaid (USA) Rite Aid 0.22 41 Jay Charles (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 42 Ryan Mckinney (USA) Clean Currents P/B Don Beyer Vo 43 Owen Nielsen (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 0.23 44 Jonathan Swain (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lsv Am 45 Brad Viera (USA) Rite Aid 0.24 46 Mark Sommers (USA) Clean Currents P/B Don Beyer Vo 47 Erik Bennett (USA) Time Factory Development Team 48 David Bozak (USA) Clean Currents/Dc Velo 0.25 49 Mark Warno (USA) Evolution Cycling 50 Joe Coddington (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 0.26 51 Chris Hardee (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies/Lsv Am 52 Ramon Benitez (USA) Immediate Mortgage - Artemis El 0.27 53 Chris Hayes (USA) Haymarket Bicycles 54 Nathan Griffth (USA) Kane Bikes P/B Nccycling.Com 0.31 55 Davide Frattini (USA) Colavita/Sutter Home 0.34 56 Luca Damiani (USA) Colavita/Sutter Home 1.37 57 Brian Butts (USA) Battley Harley-Davidson P/B Hud 2.07 58 Patrick Walsh (USA) Nerac 3.18 59 Terry Huss (USA) Raleigh Allstars 4.23 Pro women 1 Laura Van Guilder (USA) Cheerwine 1.12.36 2 Anna Lang (USA) Karl Strauss 3 Sara Caravella (USA) Aarons 4 Cara Higgins (USA) Americas Dairyland 5 Lorena Candrian (USA) Hpc/List 6 Jenny Bodine (USA) Abrt/Latitude 7 Rebecca Larson (USA) Aarons 8 Heidi Woolever (USA) Abrt/ Latitude 9 Elizabeth Morsehill (USA) Ht Natural's 10 Jenette Williams (USA) Hub Racing 11 Marjan Huizing (USA) Team Kenda Tire 12 Jacklyn Crowell (USA) Cyclescience 13 Catherine Cheatley (NZl) Cheerwine 14 Heidi Goldberg (USA) Team Kenda Tire 15 Natalie Dumont (USA) Nebc/Cycle Loft 16 Leslie Jennings (USA) Abrt/Latitude 17 Allison Carter (USA) Team Kenda Tire 18 Susanne Delaney (USA) Nebc/Cycle Loft 19 Marni Harker (USA) Team Kenda Tire 20 Betsy Shogen (USA) Americas Dairyland 21 Krystal Jeffs (Can) Hub Racing 22 Alie Kenzer (USA) Nebc/Cycle Loft 23 Rebecca Wellons (USA) Nebc/Cycle Loft 24 Tami Buhr (USA) Nebc/Cycle Loft 25 Dale Tye (NZl) Hub Racing 26 Sonia Evers (USA) Route 1 Velo/Capitol Hill Bikes 27 Robin Zimmerly (USA) Route 1 Velo/Capitol Hill Bikes 28 Becky Broeder (USA) Hub Racing 29 Arley Kemmerer (USA) Boston Scientific 30 Michele Bote (USA) Hub Racing 31 Elizabeth Tyrell (USA) Team Somerset 32 Heidi Von Teitenberg (USA) Abrt/Latitude 33 Cory Bemis (USA) Hub Racing 34 Kristin Keim (USA) Cycleworks P/B Lowe's Mortgage 35 Leeanne Manderson (Aus) Hub Racing 0.09 36 Christine Kelly (USA) Kenda Tires 0.50 37 Julie Kuliecza (USA) Team Nature's Path/ 3 Sports 2.27