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Tulsa Tough - NE
USA, May 29-31, 2009
By Kirsten Robbins
The newest edition to the North American Racing (NRC) series is the Tulsa Tough's triple criterium omnium. It has attracted large professional men and women's fields by offering more than $150,000 total prize purse, along with valuable NRC points. The fast-fun begins on Friday, May 29 and culminates on Sunday, May 31 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"It's been our goal since day one to bring the best talent in the world to Tulsa, it's exciting to see that vision becoming reality in just a matter of years," said Tulsa Tough event director Malcolm McCollam.
The organisation has brought in American Floyd Landis (OUCH-Maxxis) to contest the event. The marquee rider is just one of many strong players that will take part in the action-packed weekend of racing.
Fierce sprinting competitors include United States of America Criterium Champion Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing), Emile Abrahams (Aero Cat), Health Blackgrove (San Jose), Stefan Rothe (Mercy), Daniel Ramsey (Time Pro), Mark Hekman (Mountain Khakis), Cooper Lang (Hagens Berman), Kyle Gritters (Southern California Velo), Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia), Sheldon Deeny (Bissell), Michael Creed (Team Type 1) and Jonny Clarke (Jelly Belly).
Gaining NRC status and three days of racing opportunity beefed up the professional women's field by more than half of what it was the previous year. From the 90-women participating a plethora of heavy hitters include US National Criterium Champion Brooke Miller (TIBCO), Laura van Gilder (C3-Sollay), Olivia Dillon (Touchstone Climbing), Leigh Hopkins (Vanderkitten), Karla Kingsley (Sugar CRM), Morgan Patton and Jen McRae (Team Type 1), Martina patella (Value Act Capital), Shelley Olds (Proman), Ann Samplonius (Lip Smackers), Liza Rachetto (MB Cycles) and Kate Sherwin (Advil-Chapstick)
The triple the racing, triple the speed
The racing begins at dusk on Friday, May 29 at the Blue Dome Criterium in the cities main entertainment district. The figure-eight course will suit the technical prowess of a criterium specialist in order to claim victory. The finish line is located at the historical Blue Dome building where spectators will gather to catch a glimpse of the action. The women will race for 55-minutes and the professional men will race for 70-minutes.
Saturday, May 30 will see the Brady Village Criterium located in the Brady Arts district of Tulsa. Both fields will compete on an L-shaped circuit, passing the Brady Theatre before the final turn. The gallop to the finish line is no laughing matter at nearly 300-metres in length. The professional women will race for 60-minutes and the professional men will race for 80-minutes.
The final showdown will take place at the Riverview Criterium on Sunday, May 31. The circuit only has three distinct corners but don't let that deceive you. The organisation has asked the riders to race 'at your own risk' on the extremely technical.
The winner of this criterium will be Tulsa's toughest rider of the weekend. The professional women will race for 60-minutes and the professional men will race for 80-minutes. In addition, the winners of the team and individual omnium will be crowned.
2008 Ivan Stevic (Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team) Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine Cycling) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com