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Mt Holly-Smithville GP - NE
New Jersey, USA, July 19, 2008
Artacho unlocks a victory
By Kirsten Robbins in Mount Holly, New Jersey
Gustavo Artacho (Colavita/Sutter Home) conquered the heat, the hills and a four-man break to claim victory at the Mt Holly- Smithville Grand Prix. The Argentinean all rounder jumped out of the last bend ahead of Eneas Freyre (Target Training) and Gerardo Castro (Richmond Pro Cycling) to claim victory in the challenging circuit race.
"I've always liked this race, but now I like it more," said Artacho. "I'm a criterium rider so the style of race today was perfect for me. I think the first third was very fast but the riders started to slow down because of the heat and the new hill on the course."
The winning break of four riders slipped off the front of larger 15 rider break.
Crowds place their bets on the strongman from the Ukraine Valeiry Kobzarenko (Team Type 1). The three-time Olympian tried to get away from his competitors on the last lap's steep climb, but the watchful trio reeled him back in and he was forced to settle for fourth place.
"I think Kobzarenko and Castro were working the most," admitted Artacho. "They tried attacking but all I had to do was follow them because I had a winning sprinter, Alejandro Borrajo close behind us in the second group."
Jonathan Erdelyi (Rite Aid) was present in the field for the event's 10th anniversary, the first and only American to win the race back in 1999. The event continues to attract a magnitude of foreign rider who find success on the American racing scene.
"Foreign riders do well at this race because this area is home to a lot of foreign families and so there is a higher percentage of foreign riders who participate," said Artacho, who came to the USA in 2001 to compete in a mixture of track and criterium racing.
"Cyclists all around the world, and a lot from Argentina, can come here and have the opportunity to compete in a wide range of events from track, criterium and stage racing," he added.
How it unfolded
More than 140 riders lined up to start the 30 lap Mount Holly-Smithville, with the race totaling 112-kilometres. The race continues to grow into what has become one of the east coast's biggest one-day events.
The shorter circuit included a new European style ascent that wound its way through the narrow and shaded avenues of Mount Holly. Tough terrain mixed with high heat and humidity challenged the peloton with a real race of attrition.
Several early breakaways cleared the peloton, but the wrong combination of riders forced the field to respond and pull back any threatening riders.
A 10 rider mid-race break included Artacho and his team-mate Borrajo, Castro along with Matt White (Fiordifrutta), Dan Holt (Team Type 1), Brian Butts and Ryan Dewald (Batley-Harley Davidson), Eric Brownell (CRCA-Empire) and the most aggressive rider Bill Elliston (Rite Aid).
"Our strategy was to put one rider in the break, if it was less than five riders and put two in the break, if it was more than five riders," said Artacho.
As temperatures continued to rise, the conditions caused the main field to split into four groups. A chase group of 12 riders fought its way to within 15 seconds of the back of the front group.
The break away swelled to 15 when six additional riders jumped across from the chase group. The bridging riders include Freyre, Matt Johnson (CRCA-Empire), Kleber Ramos (Garneau Crocs), Valeiry Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) and Ramone Benitez (Immediate Mortgage). The event's best young rider and point's winner Euris Paulino (Champion System Racing) also joined the front group.
Kobzarenko attacked with four laps to go with Artacho, Freyre and Castro in tow. "Kobzarenko and I were working the most but in the end I tried to save a little bit for the finish," admitted Castro, the third placed rider from Uruguay. "I felt bad for him because he was working a lot, by himself."
After a flurry of last-ditch efforts, the four-man break rounded the final corners toward the finish line. "I was sitting on Artacho's wheel," said Freyre, pleased to give his east coast team a podium finish. "I knew he was going to go and that he was the best sprinter in the break.
"He did a good job today and I was happy to throw my bike with him to try for the win - I didn't win but it was a good opportunity," he added.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Todd Leister/leister.smugmug.com
Images by Marco Quezada/www.nyvelocity.com
1 Artacho Gustavo (Colavita/Sutter Home) 2 Eneas Freyre (TargetTraining) 3 Gerardo Castro (Richmond Pro Cycling) 4 Valeiry Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) 5 Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita/Sutter Home) 6 Kleber Ramos (Garneau-Crocs) 7 Euris Paulino (Champion System Racing) 8 Matt White (FiordiFrutta) 9 Bill Elliston (Rite Aid) 10 Bruno Langlois (Equipe Volkswagen) 11 Brian Butts (Battley Harley Davidson) 12 Dan Holt (Team Type 1) 13 Matthew Johnson (CRCA/Empire Cycling) 14 Ramone Benitez (Immediate Mortgage/Artemis Elite) 15 Ryan DeWald (Battley Harley Davidson) 16 Ryan Wohlrabe (Heart House/CADV/CC Evesham () 17 Mike Margarite (CRCA/Empire Cycling) 18 Chuck Hucheson (Battley Harley Davidson) 19 Colin Jaskiewicz (CCB/Volkswagen,) 20 Rick Norton (Kelly Benefit Strategies,) 21 Evan Fader (Battley Harley Davidson,) 22 Amos Brumble (CCB/Wolkswagen,) 23 Jermaine Burrowes (WS United) 24 Sean O’Rourke (Kenda/Raleigh Cycling,) 25 Salvatore Scotto Divetta (Sommerville Sports) 26 Nick Friesen (GS Mengoni) 27 Luca Damiani (Colavita/Sutter Home) 28 Michael Joanisse (Garneau-Crocs) 29 Vincent Quirion (Garneau-Crocs) 30 Arnaud Papillon (Equipe Volkswagen) 31 Gregory Battista (Metra/Wendy’s/Victor Homes) 32 Gabe Lloyd (TargetTraining) 33 Nick Keough (CCB/Wolkswagen) 34 Unidentified) 35 Hayden Brooks (FiordiFrutta) 36 Stephan Kincaid (Rite Aid presented by Shebell and Shebell) 37 Sean Barrie (Battley Harley Davidson) 38 Adam Sullivan (Kenda/Raleigh Cycling) Sprints classification 1 Euris Vidal Paulino (Champion System Racing) 2 Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) 3 Kleber Ramos (Garneau-Crocs) Most aggressive rider 1 Bill Elliston (Rite Aid presented by Shebell and Shebell) Under 25 classification 1 Euris Vidal Paulino (Champion System Racing) Amateur classification 1 Colin Jaskiewicz (CCB/Volkswagen)
2007 Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Homes) 2006 Glen Chadwick (Navigators) 2005 Melito Heredia (TOGA-GOTHAM) 2004 Mark Walters (Navigators) 2003 Melito Heredia (Toga/CRCA) 2002 Victor Ripinski (Saturn Developmental) 2001 Alex Lavallee (Kissena Cycling) 2000 Roosevelt Martes (TOGA-dash.com/CRCA) 1999 Johnathan Erdelyi (Ideal Tile)