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USA Crits Speedweek - NE

USA, April 28-May 4, 2008

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Race 1 - April 29: Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic,

Clarke claims Beaufort win

By Kirsten Robbins in Beaufort, South Carolina

Men's podium (L-R): Kyle Wamsley (Colavita Sutter Home),
Photo ©: Dennis Johnson
(Click for larger image)

Night fell on the 140 rider field in Beaufort, South Carolina for the Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic, a round of the USA Crits Speedweek series. Hilton Clarke (Toyota-United) teamed up with the Canadian-based team Symmetrics to take the field sprint victory, ahead of second placed Kyle Wamsley (Colavita/Sutter Home) and third placed Keven LaCombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies Medifast).

"Symmetrics and myself were not here for Athens Twilight, so we all ended up starting at the back of the race and there was absolutely no way to move up to the front," said Clarke, who was participating in the conflicting Tour de Georgia during the weekend's USA Crits Series opener. "So, when the break went up the road we all missed out on it and it wasn't coming back because it had every team represented in it.

"I spoke with the three Symmetrics guys and told them I'd work with them," he added. "A big thanks goes out to Symmetrics because without those guys I wouldn't have won today."

Symmetrics take over control
Photo ©: Dennis Johnson
(Click for larger image)

A dangerous break of seven riders, included Wamsley, team-mate Davide Frattini (Colavita/Sutter Home), John Freddy Para (Toshiba), Kyle Gritters (Health Net), Diego Garavito (AeroCat/Latino), Alex Candelario and David Villeneuve (Kelly Benefit), snapped off the front early. The escapees worked together and gained a maximum of 30 seconds over the peloton for over half of the criterium.

One team notably absent in the break was Symmetrics, which later found itself in an organised chase that closed down the gap just in time to set up for a field sprint. Candelario, Mark Hekman (Toshiba) and Luca Damiani (Colavita/Sutter Home) all tried their hand at escapes in the final leg of the race, but none matched the speed set up by the sprinter's teams.

The red colours of Colavita/Sutter Home lined up next to the green of Kelly Benefit in a scuffle to get their respective sprinters in a good position. Instead of capitalizing on their strong position however, the teams were unable to stop Clarke, who surprised the field with his winning kick to the line.

"Our team did a great job to set me up perfectly for the sprint on the last lap," said second placed Wamsley. "Hilton took the inside corner first by my surprise and I knew that was the right move that I had planned."

Pic dons stars and stripes

The leading trio watch one another
Photo ©: Dennis Johnson
(Click for larger image)

U.S. Criterium Champion Tine Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home) is well on her way to success in Speed Week, after winning the women's race at the Beaufort Memorial Cycling Classic. Pic claimed victory with a break-away sprint over Laura VanGilder (Cheerwine) and Athens Twilight winner Rebecca Larson (Aaron's).

"Rebecca led around the last lap," said Pic. "It was a tough race and the three of us ended up together because Rebecca attacked, I covered her and then Laura bridged across to us."

With the three sprinters keen to keep each other in check, the trio feel into working together to keep the 40 minute break-away going rather than gamble on going back to the field. And, with the three teams each confident in their fast women, the Cheerwine, Colavita and Aaron's team controlled what was left of the field. Despite being outnumbered, Team Vanderkitten and Value Act Capital offered their services at the front of the field to help reduce the gap to the three power-house sprinters, but just weren't able to pull back the tiny four second margin before the line.

Larson led the three around the final lap and into the finishing straight where Pic took the convincing win.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dennis Johnson


Elite men
1 Hilton Clarke (Toyota-United)                    1.32.55
2 Kyle Wamsley (Colavita Sutter Home)                     
3 Keven Lacombe (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)       
4 Sebastian Haedo (Colavita Sutter Home)                  
5 Jake Keough (CRCA/Sakonnet Technology)                  
6 John Murphy (HealthNet p/b Maxxis)                      
7 Keith Norris (Toshiba-Santo)                            
8 Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)     
9 Kyle Gritters (HealthNet p/b Maxxis)                    
10 Kenneth Hanson (California Giant)                      
11 John Parra (Toshiba-Santo)                             
12 Eric Boily (                            
13 Mark Hekman (Toshiba-Santo)                            
14 Vladimir Kerkez (Black Sheep Cartel)                   
15 Oscar Henao Risardla                                   
16 Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing)                           
17 Eric Wolberg (Symmetrics)                              
18 Jonny Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)        
19 Carlos Alzate (Toshiba-Santo)                          
20 Diego Garavito (AeroCat/ Latino Cycling Team)          
21 Rich Harper (Team Inferno)                             
22 Davide Frattini (Colavita Sutter Home)                 
23 Svein Tuft (Symmetrics)                                
24 Anibal Borrajo (Colavita Sutter Home)                  
25 David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)     
26 Tommy Nankervis (Toshiba-Santo)                        

One lap behind

27 Thomas Brown ( U23)                           
28 Mike Stoop (TIME Pro Cycling)                          
29 Maxime Vives (Calyon)                                  
30 Rob White (ABD/Geargrinder Cycling)                    
31 Ryan Mele (Richmond Pro Cycling)                       
32 Eric Murphy (                           
33 John Durango (Toshiba-Santo)                           
34 Ryan White (ABD/Geargrinder Cycling)                   
35 Michael Norton (Calyon)                                
36 Josh England (Team Inferno Pro Cycling)                
37 Hector Pastorino (Herbalife/Bike America Racing)       
38 Mathieu Roy (Calyon)                                   
39 Jacob Fetty (                           
40 Matt Decanio (Haymarket Bicycles/Function)             
41 Brian Buchholz (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)     
42 Jackie Simes (TIME Pro Cycling)                        
43 Frank Travieso (Toshiba-Santo)                         
44 Charles Rossignol (Pacesetter Steel Service)           
Elite women
1 Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home)                  1.11.42
2 Laura Van Gilder (Cheerwine Cycling)                    
3 Rebecca Larson (Aaron's)                                
4 Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine Cycling)                  0.04                 
5 Anna Lang (Aaron's)                                     
6 Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/Sutter Home)                
7 Nichole Wangsgard (Colavita/Sutter Home)                
8 Tiffany Cromwell (Colavita/Sutter Home)                 
9 Jennifer Wilson (Vanderkitten Racing)                   
10 Jenny Trew (Vanderkitten Racing)                       
11 Tamyra Barnard (Herbalife)                             
12 Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine Cycling)                 
13 Holli Steelman (Juice Plus/NC cycling)                 
14 Erica Allar (Aaron's)                                  
15 Allyson Brandt (Cheerwine Cycling)                     
16 Sherri Stedje (Hub Racing)                             
17 Robin Farina (Cheerwine Cycling)                       
18 Iona Wynter Parks (Colavita/Sutter Home)               
19 Melissa Sanborn (Vanderkitten Racing)                  
20 Sarah Caravella (Tibco)                                
21 Taitt Sato (ValueAct Capital)                          
22 Meredith Miller (Aaron's)                              
23 Kele Murdin (Team Vanderkitten)                        
24 Kathryn Clark (Team Kenda Tire)                        
25 Julie Bishop (Team Bents)                              
26 Rachel Warner (Juice Plus/NC cycling)                  
27 Shannon Koch (Metro)                                   
28 Christy Blakely (BMW-Bianchi)                      1.38
28 Laura McCaughey (Juice Plus/NC cycling)                
30 Hannah Banks (ValueAct Capital)                    1.39
31 Christi-An Hansley (Team MedPlan)                  3.38