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Chicago Criterium - NE
USA, July 27, 2008
Surprises fill first Chicago Criterium
By Mark Zalewski in Chicago, Illinois
Former professional Bergman jumps favorites
A first-time event carries with it a lot of unknowns - from the course to the weather to even the crowds. For the Chicago Criterium, held in Grant Park in between the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan and the famous city skyline, the surprises did not end there. Out of the final five-rider break the surprise came from the only amateur Adam Bergman (Texas Roadhouse), who jumped the other four professionals on the last half-lap to take a huge win.
"After I won the half-way [bonus] I was pretty exciting and thinking I have nothing to lose," said Bergman, who earned $1,000 for the half-way bonus sprint. "I was covering moves at the end and counter-attacked a move with eight to go and go away. Horner and Rollin came up and then it was all cat-and-mouse."
The attacks came out of a huge 20-rider breakaway that formed early in the race. "I was surprised it got that big," said Chris Horner (Astana). "I attacked on the back stretch and that caused a split... I won't say it caused the break because we had 20 guys and that was more like a second peloton.
"At first it was 10 guys and was perfect, but then a bunch of other guys made it up," he added. "But we still rolled it pretty good on a hot, miserable day."
A lot of dangerous riders were present in the move, but not the fastest riders such as Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) and Freddie Rodriguez (Rock Racing). With every major team represented the move was let go.
"It was strange because when the break went Kelly Benefits had four guys up there and then everyone looked at each other," said Dominque Rollin (Toyota-United). "Once we built it up it was mostly a chess game. With 10 laps to go we started attacking each other. I was working for Hilton Clarke because he is going so great. It paid off having both of us in the break but then all were staring at me and Horner and [Bergman] took the opportunity."
As the laps switched the single digits it became clear the break was too big, and the attacks ensued. "Everyone was tired at the finish and Adam attacked with a Bissell rider," said Horner. "I was watching the Toyota and Kelly guys - Rollin countered and it split with the five of us getting together."
Out of the break came the final five: Horner, Rollin, Bergman along with Graham Howard (Bissell) and David Veilleux (Kelly Benefits Strategies-Medifast.)
There were more attacks but with a smaller group the marking was much easier - especially when you are Horner or Rollin. But not as easy when you are a wild card in the group, as was Bergman.
"I wanted to wait, and I waited for two attacks and then I saw Horner and Rollin look at each other so I went on the back side small chicane," he said. "I looked back and had clean wheels so I put my head down and went for it."
"Adam is riding on good form because I saw him riding hard out there," said Horner. "He's not marked like me or Rollin, so as soon as he got the gap we weren't going to bring him back in a third of a lap."
The last half of the lap was spent in the hurt box as he rounded the final turn with a five second lead. "80km in the sun with a top-quality field with Horner and Rodriguez... yeah, I was a little tired," he said. "But it's criterium racing and anything is possible." For his trouble Bergman gets to add another $5,000 to his pockets.
As for thoughts on the inaugural race, Horner was pleasantly surprised. "At first I thought it was going to be terrible," he said. "I thought it would be too easy. But once we got out there... the weather, the wind, something made it a really hard day.
"Everyone was dying out there," he added. "You have the lake on one side and the city on the other, so you can't complain about that."
Rais takes race solo
Team TIBCO dominated the field in the women's race, launching a number of attacks. Each rider took a turn launching attacks on the rest of the riders until one got away. That one happened to be Amber Rais, who is happy to ride alone, and she did so to victory with her team ruling the front of the peloton.
"There was about 14 minutes left and there was just a lull in the field," said Rais. "We decided to keep attacking and pushing the envelope. Three of [my team-mates] had just attacked and there was another lull in the field, so I said it was my turn.
"Every time I attacked, I attacked with the intention of getting a gap and driving it home - unfortunately, it doesn't always work like that," she added. "But I started hearing 20 seconds, 30 seconds and so I just put my head down and went because at that point there is no going back."
Back in the field her team-mates sat on the front and no other rider was able to get across. When asked if she would have rather had a extra set of legs with her on a windy course such as in the Windy City, Rais replied: "It always fun to play the tactical game in the finish... unless you lose; but any way you can win a bike race is good."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Zalewski/Cyclingnews.com
Pro men 1 Adam Bergman 1.44.02 2 Dominique Rollin 3 David Veilleux 4 Chris Horner 5 Graham Howard 6 Hilton Clarke 7 Alex Candelario 8 Frank Pipp 9 Fred Rodriguez 10 Paul Martin 11 Jonathan Page 12 Andy Crater 13 Rob White 14 Scott Zwizanski 15 Peter Dawson 16 Ben King 17 Stefan Rothe 18 Ben Day 19 Steven Howard 20 Frankie Dierking 21 Jake Keough 22 Ben Renkema 23 Stephan Kincaid 24 Kevin Attkisson 25 Daniel Chavez 26 Shawn Milne 27 Steve Tilford 28 Daniel Carruthers 29 Christopher Uberti 30 James Flora 31 Michael Heagney 32 Cory Hickman 33 Daniele Defranceschi 34 Ivan Dominguez 35 Kris Koke 36 Karim Abdelkader 37 Jake Rytlewski 38 Isaac Neff 39 Greg Christian 40 Nat Thompson 41 Ryan Knapp 42 Jason Swiattowski 43 Ryan White 44 Dan Ajler 45 Pat Lemieux 46 Frank Rowley 47 Cesar Correa 48 Vince Roberge 49 Michael Woell 50 Andrew Kerr 51 Derek Graham 52 Greg Bauer 53 Mark Santurbane 54 Robert Springer 55 Charles Crouse 56 Kevin Berger 57 Steve Holeczy 58 Delti Parra 59 Sasha Land 60 Patrick Long 61 Rob Kelley 62 James Holton 63 Mike Lantz 64 Brian Boyle 65 Derek Laan 66 David Galvin 67 Matt Welch 68 Mike Sherer 69 Eric Wiecek 70 Aaron Hubbell 71 Randy Reichardt 72 Henk Vogels 73 Daniel Guildoil 74 Andrew Lister 75 Chad Cagle 76 Kevin Hazzard 77 Richard English 78 Joffi Dapkus 79 Ariel Herrmann 80 David Sachs 81 Jens Brabbit 82 Bryson Bowers 83 Kayle Leograndi 84 Brock Curry 85 Jeff Schroetlin 86 Jonathan Jacob 87 Brett Stewart 88 Ian Dille 89 John Minturn 90 John Meyers 91 Paul Harrison 92 Chris Zenthoefer 93 Vandeven Steven 94 Andy Skeen 95 Josh Carter 96 Garrett Peltowen 97 Russ Langley 98 Bryce Mead 99 Steve Spencer 10 Gregg Brant 10 Kirk Albers Pro women 1 Amber Rais 56.24 2 Sam Schneider 3 Brooke Miller 4 Lara Kroepsch 5 Carrie Cash 6 Monique Hanely 7 Christian Hanster 8 Megan Elliot 9 Meredith Miller 10 Rushlee Buchanan 11 Skye-Lee Armstrong 12 Rachel Eichers 13 Pam Loebis 14 Devon Haskell 15 Anne Meyer 16 Kristen Meshberg 17 Carrie Kopernik 18 Kristin Wentworth 19 Sarah Maguire 20 Debbie Dust 21 Louise Turner 22 Catherine Walberg 23 Us (Team) Revolution 24 Hele Kelly 25 Amanda Miller 26 Jeannie Kuhajek 27 Julie Dewerd 28 Laura Melendez 29 Francine Haas 30 Jessica Cole 31 Rachel Itgal 32 Krystal Mcnutt