The penultimate day of the 2013 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships shifted to downtown Redmond for nine criterium races on Saturday.
The classic eight-corner, T-shaped course in downtown Redmond that favors technical riders proved to be a welcomed new addition to the event. The 1.2-kilometer lap provides riders with fast terrain, with ample room for the larger field sizes competing in the national championships.
Throughout the nine races, most of them were decided by sprint finishes, but there were timely attacks that survived through the finish line.
The final contest of the day was the 50-kilometer men’s 35-39 criterium race. After several attacks were brought back to the peloton, including a lengthy attack by Rudolph Napolitano (Santa Monica, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) that was derailed by a mechanical issue, Ivan Dominguez (Westlake Village, Calif./MRI Endurance Elite Masters) won a sprint to earn the Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
With about 14 laps remaining in the 50-kilometer race, Napolitano attacked and quickly built a lead that exceeded 20 seconds with fewer than 10 laps remaining in the race. As he was navigating the back stretch of the race, Napolitano was victimized by a mechanical issue and the field overtook him.
The field remained together until the final stretch of the last lap when the sprinters jostled for position. Dominguez pulled away and earned the sprint victory.
“When I saw him (Napolitano) going, he's a rider that can really go on his own so he actually made a great move,” Dominguez said. “He was going. I started telling my guys to chase him down. At least make it close so we can bring him back.”
Michael Easter (Ventura, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team), who won this race in 2012, finished second while Aaron Wimberley (Redondo Beach, Calif./Team Helen’s) placed third. Dana Williams (Mill Valley, Calif./Team Mike’s Bikes p/b incase) and Jan Weissenberger (San Francisco, Calif./ZIPZ CYCLING TEAM) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Philip Tinstman (San Marcos, Calif./MRI Endurance Elite Masters) earned the men’s 35-39 Best All-Around Rider. Tinstman finished third in the time trial and seventh in the road race and criterium.
On a day that featured many sprint finishes, the men’s 40-44 criterium was decided by a well-timed attack and tremendous endurance to hold it through the finish line. Matthew Gates (Lyons, Colo./Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers Cycling Team) launched the final attack of a race that was very animated with several attacks. Gates broke free from the field with 10 laps remaining and steadily grew his advantage to just under 20 seconds before coasting to victory.
Dean LaBerge (Napa, Calif./PrimeTime Cycling Team) attacked late in the last lap to earn the silver medal. Michael Johnson (Mission Viejo, Calif./MRI Endurance Elite Masters) rode away with the bronze medal. Grant Potter (Parkland, Fla./Graner-Stradalli Cycling) and Michael Charleton (Windsor, Calif./Red Peloton) rounded out the podium in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“I've been racing on and off since I was a junior,” Gates, who also earned that group’s Best All-Around Rider, said. “It's only taken me 24 years to win a jersey. I can't say enough about my teammates. They set it up. When I had six, seven or eight to go, I thought there was no way this would stick. They called 15 or 20 with three to go and all of a sudden it started to sink in and the pain went away a little bit. It is still sinking in.”
Gates won the criterium, placed fourth in the time trial and sixth in the road race.
The racing began at 8 a.m. with the women’s 35-39 criterium race. The 10 racers stayed together throughout the majority of the race. An early attack by Marley Smith (Roseville, Calif./Folsom Bike-VW-Raley’s) was quickly chased down. The group’s defending national champion, Anne Donley (Boulder, Colo./Rise Above Racing), who would be named the women’s 35-39 Best All-Around Rider for her performance throughout the week, successfully defended her title by winning a sprint ahead of Lucia Mokres (Redwood City, Calif./Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club) and Elizabeth Nettles (Seattle, Wash./Boat Street Cycling Club (BSCC)), who placed second and third, respectively.
Donley recorded three podium appearances, winning the criterium and finishing fourth in the road race and time trial.
After placing third in Wednesday’s time trial and fourth in Friday’s road race, Amy Phillips (Chattanooga, Tenn./Scenic City Velo) topped the women’s 40-44 podium by winning the criterium. After Athena Countouriotis (Carlsbad, Calif./Wolf Pack Cycling) led parts of the 35-kilometer race, the pace slowed as the riders watched each other until the last lap when the competitors moved into position for the sprint finish.
“The pace of the last lap really picked up,” Phillips said. “Anne (Perry (Draper, Utah/K4 Racing)) was driving the pace on the front. We came around a turn and everybody started to jump, luckily I caught the second wheel coming around the last turn. I was waiting and then I jumped and gave it everything I had all the way to the finish.”
Phillips would also add the women’s 40-44 Best All-Around Rider accolade for her performance throughout the week. Phillips appeared on the podium after each of the three contests this week. She won the criterium, placed fourth in the road race and third in the time trial.
Tanya Grossman (Castro Valley, Calif./Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club) finished second ahead of Heather McWilliams-Mierzejewski (Louisville, Colo./Boulder Orthopedics). Bre Rue (Portland, Ore./Fred Meyer Cycling Team) finished fourth and the defending national champion Brenna Lopez-Otero (Bend, Ore.) placed fifth.
The women’s 45-49 criterium quickly turned into a battle for third place. About midway through the 30-kilometer race, Ginny King (Dallas, Texas/KingRacingGroup) and the women’s 45-49 Best All-Around Ride Julie Cutts (Las Vegas, Nev./Velo Club LaGrange) broke away from the field and worked together to build a 26-second lead on the field. The peloton was unable to assemble a chase, leaving King and Cutts to sprint for the top spot. King outsprinted Cutts, forcing the winner of the time trial and road race to settle for the silver medal. Andi Smith (Menlo Park, Calif./B4T9-Foundation) won the field sprint for third place.
“It was tough, King said of her sustained two-rider breakaway. “I had to put my head down and just go. I wanted this so badly, the pain was only temporary. This is my first national championship. It feels better than I thought it would. It's unreal. It's huge.”
Cutts was named that group’s Best All-Around Rider after winning the road race and time trial before placing second in the criterium.
The Rokform-Rock n’ Road riders used team tactics to put their rider, Mark Hoffenberg (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) into position for the sprint finish to win the men’s 55-59 criterium. With at least one rider on the front of the peloton throughout the majority of the 40-kilometer race, Rokform-Rock n’ Road remained in control of the sprint, allowing Hoffenberg, who placed second in this race in 2012 to ride across the line in first place on Saturday. Lawrence Nolan (Fremont, Calif./Team Specialized Racing) claimed the silver medal ahead of bronze medalist Glenn Schneider (Lake Worth, Fla./GS Palm Beach). Robert Downs (Madison, Wis./Planet Bike) and Michael Birditt (Escondido, Calif./Swami’s Cycling Club) rounded out the podium, placing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Hoffenberg also collected the men’s 55-59 Best All-Around Rider recognition.
Like the men’s 55-59 competition, the winner of the men’s 50-54 race utilized team tactics to cross the line first. Mark Noble (Ventura, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) edged Craig Miller (Orange, Calif./BBI-SIC Cycling) to claim the third national championship of his career. Hunter East (Little Rock, Ark./Oklahoma City Velo Club) finished third ahead of Anthony Taylor (Brooklyn, N.Y./Dave Jordan Racing) and Noble’s teammate Christopher Hahn (Santa Barbara, Calif./TIME-Velo Pasadena Team) placed fifth.