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U.S. Air Force Cycling Classic - 1.2/NE

USA, May 30-31, 2009

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The Stages

United events ready for super weekend

By Kirsten Robbins in Arlington, Virginia

The U.S Air Force Cycling Classic has brought together two well-known one-day events into a double-header weekend of competition held in Arlington, Virginia. The event kicks off on Saturday May 30 with the most esteemed criterium in the nation at the Clarendon Cup, formerly CSC invitational, and picks up on Sunday May 31 with the Crystal City Cup circuit race.

"Combining the two races was a natural fit," said race director Robert Laybourn. "The events were on two separate weekends and it felt right for us and the teams competing to bring them all together in the same location on one weekend rather than have them come in twice. The county really embraced that idea. As a results it has made our weekend a bigger event and it provides the competing teams with more opportunities to race."

In the past the Clarendon Cup has been the stomping ground for some of the world's fastest sprinters because of its lucrative cash doll. The professional men not only compete for the victory but for valuable National Racing Calendar (NRC) points available at the finish line.

They will complete 100 laps of a technical one-kilometre circuit, putting on a show for thousands of spectators. Wearing number one will be the defending champion Luca Damiani (Colavita-Sutter Home). If the Italian is hoping to make a repeat victory he will need to keep a close eye on the plethora of heavy hitting sprinters in the midst of the peloton.

Former Giro d'Italia stage sprinter Freddy Rodriguez will be looking to seal a victory for his Rock Racing team. Other fast-men include Tony Cruz (BMC Racing), Karl Menzies (OUCH-Maxxis), Jake Keough (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Martin Gilbert (Planet Energy), Aldo Ino Iiesic (Team Type 1), Kirk O'Bee (Bissell), Charles Dionne (Fly V Australia), Richard England (Amore&Vita) and Jonathan Page (Battley Harley Davidson). American wild card teams include Team Kenda Pro, Richmond Pro, Mountain Khakis and DC Velo.

The criterium has long been an attraction to international squads who compete on United States of America soil for two weeks, beginning with the US Air Force Cycling Classic and move on to the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship held the following weekend. Making an appearance this year are the Danish National Team, Nordland Hamburg from Germany, Canadian-based teams Planet Energy and Jet Fuel, Team Medscheme from Russia and Fly V Australia.

On the women's side sprinters include former United States of America Criterium Champion Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci-Breaaway), Kelly Benjamin (Colavita-Sutter Home), Anna McLoon (Altarun Women's Cycling), Veronica Martinez (Hub Racing) and Robin Farina (Value Act Capital).

The Air Force Cycling Classic will continue on Sunday with the Crystal City's professional men circuit race, a highlight on the USA Cycling's Professional Tour series lead by Levi Leipheimer (Astana). Sebastian Haedo (Colavita-Sutter Home) will be looking for a repeat victory at the Crystal City circuit race but will face the same fierce opposition that his team-mate will at the Clarendon Cup held the night before.

The men will take on 12-laps of a challenging 12.5-kilometre loop around Crystal City. Spectators will be able to catch a glimpse of their favorite cyclists as they race past the US Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon and culminating in down town Crystal City.

Start list


Past winners

Past winners by Mario Stiehl,