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USA Crits Finals - NE

Las Vegas, Nevada, September 28, 2007


Dominguez, Van Gilder win Vegas style

Ivan takes win, Gilbert the cash

By Kirsten Robbins and Mark Zalewski, North American Editor in Las Vegas, Nevada

After avoiding a spectacular last-lap mash up, Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United)
Photo ©: Mark Johnson
(Click for larger image)

In the land where the criterium is king, what better way to finish a criterium series than in the parking lot of a multi-billion dollar hotel in Las Vegas. The two fastest guys in Vegas Thursday night were Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United) and Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefits-Medifast), with Dominguez notching another victory in the final race of the season and Gilbert cashing in on a cool $5,000 gambler prime.

"It was crazy, I just tried to follow him and spent most of the lap chasing him," said Dominguez regarding Gilbert's move for the big prime. "He knew he had the gap -- I don't know what happened behind me, I looked back and didn't see anyone and thought this is good!"

For the next half lap Dominguez slowly reeled in the Quebecor who was battling to stay off the front. "I caught him in the last few turns when he was getting tired. I didn't even have to stand to go for the sprint, I was sitting the whole time."

"I was going for both," said Gilbert about the decision to jump for the prime. "The team did a good job putting me and Dave in position with three laps to go. I knew there was a prime coming up, so I jumped for it and to make a big gap. Ivan got me half lap to go and when he got my wheel he had the power. When he passed me it was over -- I gave everything from there to the end but it was all out."

With five laps to go, the Kelly boys did their best
Photo ©: Mark Johnson
(Click for larger image)

The Kelly Benefits-Medifast team once again showed their ability to control the front of a race, as they did at both Elk Grove and Downers Grove this year. "We didn't win the race, but what we did was no fluke," said Jonny Sundt. "There are no superstars on this team, and we are going to keep doing it next season." Still the team did walk away with some nice consolation gifts. "We got the big prime, second place and third place -- yeah, the money is good but we ride to win."

The course was definitely designed with the spectators in mind, combined with the constraints of a parking lot. There were numerous crashes within the tight one kilometer course, but all in all, most riders thought it was worth the stress. Slipstream-Chipotle's Brad Huff described it as, "The world's largest parking lot criterium. But even though it was in a parking lot it was a good venue -- good crowd and good support. It was super stressful with everyone and the sister out there trying to win the 'world' championship in the corner. Friedman got taken out in a breakaway!"

Another crit specialist, Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing), was pretty happy with the course. Though it looked much better when one rides near the front. "I was expecting a bad course, but it was decent," he said. "Yeah, it's in a parking lot but they set it up really well. I didn't see many, I did my best to stay in the top twenty, but couldn't get it together in the end."

Normally, Bahati is all over big money primes, but with his sponsor's putting up a lot of the money for the race to happen, he was under different orders. "We got the bosses order that we had to go for the win -- we put all our eggs in one basket."

The crowd of more than a few thousand lined about three-quarters of the course, crowding along the homestretch as well as the crash-ridden first and last turns.

When asked if the thought of going for both the cash and the win ever came into his mind, Dominguez said, "Normally in this kind of race maybe, but my last ride was in Missouri and I came to this race after a week of not training -- I only have one bullet!"

Still, after finishing his interview with the race announcer, Dominguez grabbed the mic and said, "Normally I wouldn't say this, but who's the man?!"

VanGilder takes Vegas victory

Laura VanGilder (Cheerwine) added to her stealthy collection of victories at the inaugural Vegas World Criterium Championship event after she nipped Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini-Selle Italia) and Shontell Gauthier (Bicycle Sport Shop) on the line. "The team rode so phenomenally, every single one of them," said VanGilder under the Vegas lights. "I had to be so patient, but I felt so confident and I had to come up with the goods after all the hard work they did. It was quite a performance by them and I couldn't have done it with out them."

The glamorous Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino provided the perfect backdrop for the event's debut, a spectacle for thousands of fans to come out and witness the USA Crit Series finale. From the gun Aaron’s, ProMan, Naturals and Advil-ChapStick animated the race with a flurry of attacks and solo attempts. Though no break succeeded for more than two of the 40 laps, their efforts granted them multiple primes.

With two laps to go the field was intact as Chrissy Ruiter (Cheerwine) applied full gas to the squad's lead-out train, shattering the field for the final lap.

The course's bumpy terrain caused havoc out of the final corner. "With the speed on the final lap you end up taking a different line than the rest of the time," VanGilder explained. "All your effort is out of the saddle and so it was something we didn't anticipate."

Australian Gilmore was one rider who noted the bumpy terrain as an obstacle that may have hindered her success in Vegas. "My position was perfect because I had VanGilder's wheel until the last corner," said Gilmore. "I lost a lot of length after I skipped the wheel out of the final bend. I was running at her but the line was a little bit further away."

"I was having a great time out there," added Gilmore, who spends most of the road season racing in Europe. "The race was quite a bit slower than European racing so I felt fine just sitting in the group and resting my legs for the end. I think that's why I'm so disappointed, because I had good legs coming into the finish but my positioning let me down and it's a long way to come to have that messed up."

Though Gilmore is contract to Menikini-Selle Italia the world class Australian sprinter was unassuming amongst her competitors because of her all black and blank race attire. "I’ve come to the race to catch up with my sponsors but my bag didn't arrive at the airport," said Gilmore. "I was very fortunate to land with my bike but my suitcase didn't arrive. I walked around the bike show today trying to collect bikes and clothing. Oakley fixed me up with eyewear and casual clothing for while I'm here. And thanks to Craft they gave me an outfit to wear in the race; black and it doesn't conflict with my team."

Williams, Full Speed Ahead on top of Industry Cup

Cipo stays safe at the front of the field.
Photo ©: Mark Johnson
(Click for larger image)

While there was supposed to be a battle royale among the professional cyclists for the final race of the USA Crits series, an unknown battle was brewing in the week leading up to the race among the attendees at the Interbike trade show. "Are you racing the crit on Thursday?" was a popular question between industry insiders, with everyone wondering who would don the lycra and risk possible industry-wide humiliation or net equally disseminated admiration. In the end it was Kenny Williams (Full Speed Ahead) taking out the lengthy 40 kilometre criterium ahead of some impressive competition, including the Lion King himself, Mario Cippolini.

The high speeds and varying ability levels of the nearly 90 entries made for a race of attrition until late in the game, with gaps forming from the start. Eventually a lead group formed with a lot of usual suspects, including Mark McCormack, now a sales rep for Fuji bikes. Out of this group, Williams and Joao Correia (Bicycling) escaped with less than 10 laps to go.

"I was way back with 20 to go, but kept moving up and rolled to the front with 10 to go," said Williams. "It was very stressful at the very beginning with guys going down, coming through blind corners and then all of a sudden seeing guys in the middle of the road. Guys were just sliding out in the final corner, the big sweeper - they were unloading their rear wheel and just high-siding themselves."

Eventually the duo built a small lead and the rest of the remaining racers just looked at each other, until Steve Bauer put a dig on the front. But it was too late, as the laps were coming down fast. Finally, Williams came through the start finish alone with just four laps to go. "I just kept rolling because we had 20 seconds. I kept the gas on and he just decided he didn't have the legs I guess. I didn't really attack him, I just kept it going."

With Williams up the road and uncatchable, a few riders in the field were content to go for the gambler prime as a consolation. But after crossing the line on the bell lap, the winner of the prime sat-up - something the other riders were not expecting. Into the first turn, consequently the only hard 90-degree one, the racing riders mixed with the slowing one, causing a nasty pile-up which took out Cippolini and Michael Zellman (SRAM).

Moments later Williams crossed the line victorious, while the Lion King managed to roll around for a cool down lap.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Jonathan Devich/

Images by Mark Johnson/

Images by Dave McElwaine/


Pro men

1 Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United Pro Cycling)                     
2 Martin Gilbert (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Team)    
3 David McCook (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast Pro Team)      
4 Kayle Leogrande (Rock Racing)                                  
5 Adam Hodges Myerson (Nerac Pro Cycling)                        
6 Pete Lopinto (Kodak Gallery P/B Sierra Nevada)                 
7 Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing)                                   
8 Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery P/B Sierra Nevada)                
9 Jake Hollenbach (CCB/Volkswagen)                               
10 Hayden Godfrey (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light)       
11 Maxime Vives (CALYON / LITESPEED PRO CYCLING)                 
12 Craig Dodson (Nature's Path Cycling)                          
13 Keith Norris (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                         
14 Adam Bergman (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light)         
15 Brandon Gavic (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)              
16 Antonio Cruz (Discovery)                                      
17 Alexi Martinez (                         
18 Frank Travieso (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                       
19 Gavi Epstein (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology U25)                   
20 David Mellon (unattached)                                     
21 Richard Harper (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)             
22 Dirk Friel                                                     
23 Diego Garavito (Lowe's Mortgage)                              
24 Jamiel Danesh (Kodak Gallery P/B Sierra Nevada)               
25 Matthew Cooke                                                  
26 Garrett Escuela (Priority Health/Bissell)                     
27 Chris DeMachi (5 STAR FISH)                                   
28 Austin King (Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling)                       
29 Jon Atkins (Myogenesis)                                       
30 Tim Swaim (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)                  
31 Daniel Holt (Nerac Pro Cycling)                               
32 Jamie Gandara (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)              
33 Scottie Weiss (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                        
34 Evan Fader (Battley Harley-Davidson/Hudson Trail)             
35 Rudy Napolitano (Rock Racing)                                 
36 john Loehner (CRCA/Empire Cycling Team)                       
38 Colby Pearce (Cody Racing)                                    
40 Todd Hageman (Binghams/Northshore)                            
41 Justin England (Toyota-United Pro Cycling)                    
42 Yosvany Falcon (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                       
43 Marco Aledia (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)               
44 Michael Anderson (                              
45 Stefan Rothe (Mercy Cycling Team)                                               
46 Eric Keim (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                            
47 Grant Potter (Herballife)                                     
48 Alessandro Bazzana (                     
49 Michael Grabinger (                      
50 Luca Damiani (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light)         
51 Casey Magner (Myogenesis)                                     
52 Sebastian Sinisterra (Reality Bikes/Lowe's Mortgage)          
53 Louie Amelburu (                                
54 Leo Frayre Avalos (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light)    
55 Guy East (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology U25)                       
56 Chris Scott (Locos Grill & Pub)                               
57 Karl Bordine (5 STAR FISH)                                    
58 Cody Stevenson (Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling)                    
59 Mike Cody (Jelly Belly Cycling Team)                          
60 Christopher Jones (Nerac Pro Cycling)                         
61 Heath Blackgrove (Toyota-United Pro Cycling)                  
62 Mike Margarite (CRCA/Empire Cycling Team)                     
64 Ryan Barnett (Myogenesis)                                     
65 Gil Correa (5 STAR FISH)                                      
66 Cameron Hoffman (Ogden One Cycling Team)                      
67 Jason Snow (Cycle Science)                                    
68 Jeremy Powers (Jelly Belly Cycling Team)                      
69 Nick Reistad (Jelly Belly Cycling Team)                       
70 Patrick Collier (Scott Bicycles)                              
71 alejandro Guzman (CRCA/Empire Cycling Team)                   
72 Marc Anderson (Locos Grill & Pub)                             
73 Tiago Depaula (Lowe's Mortgage)                               
74 Daniel Asconegut (Lowe's Mortgage)                            
75 Ryan Barrett (Sienna Dev't - Goble Knee Clin)                  
Young rider
1 Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery P/B Sierra Nevada)                
2 Maxime Vives (CALYON / LITESPEED PRO CYCLING)                  
3 Craig Dodson (Nature's Path Cycling)                           
4 Keith Norris (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork)                          
5 Brandon Gavic (A&F Pro Development Cycling Team)               
6 Alexi Martinez (                          
7 Jonathan Parrish                                                
8 Alessandro Bazzana (                      
9 Luca Damiani (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cooking Light)          
10 Chris Scott (Locos Grill & Pub)                               

Pro women

1 Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine)                            
2 Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini)                             
3 Shontelle Gauthier (Bicycle Sport Shop)                 
4 Brooke Miller (Team Tibco)                              
5 Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine)                              
6 Schneider Samantha (Mesa Cycles)                        
7 Jenette Williams (Hub Racing)                           
8 Katharine Carroll (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team)            
9 Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci/Breakaway Racing)          
10 Jen McRae (Advil ChapStick)                            
11 Carrie Cash (Xplane/Team Revolution)                   
12 Jenn Halladay (Team Tamarack Resort)                   
13 Jennifer Bodine (ABRT/Latitude)                        
14 Gina Voci (Team Kenda Tire)                            
15 Taitt Sato (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)             
16 Robin Farina (Vanderkitten)                            
17 Liza Rachetto (Team Tibco)                             
18 Nichole Wangsgard (Bicycle John's Serious Cycling)     
19 Holcomb Janel (Bicycle John's Serious Cycling)         
20 Yukie Nakamura (Team Tibco)                            
21 Boland Alicia (Paramount)                              
22 Megan Guarnier (Terry Precision)                       
23 Sarah Caravella (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team)             
24 Tiffany Pezzulo (Ivory Homes)                          
25 Allyson Brandt (Williams Wheels)                       
26 Laura Igoe (Tom's Pro Bike / Plan 2 Peak)              
27 Kolb Sandra (Bicycle John's Serious Cycling)           
28 Martina Patella (ValueAct Capital Cycling Team)        
29 Laurel Green (Team Mack Paper Company)                 
30 Godfrey Norrene (Rubicon-ORBEA)                        
31 Shannon Hutchison-Krupat (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team)    
32 Leah Guloien (Giant Bicycles Canada)                   
33 Leslie Jennings (ABRT/Latitude)                        
34 Julie Bishop (Harris Teeter Naturals)                  
35 Kirsten Kotval (Ivory Homes)                           
36 Jenni Gaertner (Vertical Earth)                        
37 Michele Bote (Hub Racing)                              
38 Crowley Hilary (Paramount)                             
39 Melissa Sanborn (Wenzel Coaching)                      
40 Betsy Galenti (America's Dairyland)                    
41 Ashley Dymond (5 STAR FISH)                            
42 Catherine Walberg (Team Kenda Tire)                    
43 Anna Milkowski (Bela Vella)                            
44 Sarah Bamberger (Cheerwine)                            
45 Chrissy Ruiter (Cheerwine)                             
46 Laura Bowles (Advil ChapStick)                         
47 Catherine Powers (Aaron's Pro Cycling Team)            
48 Carolyn S Eller (Team Kenda Tire)                      
49 Vidaca Kara (Bicycle John's Serious Cycling)           
50 Nicole Bossie (Plad A'det)                             
51 Christi-An Hansley (Team Kenda Tire)                   
52 Kristin Keim (Team Kenda Tire)                         
53 Nina Santiago (Watchung Wheelmen/High Gear Cyclery)    
54 Leigh Valletti (Vanderkitten)                          
Young rider
1 Nina Santiago (Watchung Wheelmen/High Gear Cyclery)    1