Copper Town Circuit Races
Copperopolis, California – 19 February 2012
With the Northern California/Nevada road racing season in full gear, racers took to the Copper Town Circuit Races under excellent weather and over well-paved road surfaces. The 5.5 mile course enters into the Copperopolis Town Square before stretching out along an out-and-back. The reverberations of last year’s f-bomb by Billy Crane (Webcor/Alto Velo) had dissipated, but organizers moved the finish away from the echoing-Town Square to make repeat occurrence unlikely.
The overcast morning eventually gave way to sunny skies for Men’s and Women’s P/1/2/3 races. In the women’s race five riders went on an early breakaway with Flavia Oliveira (Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team) returning first to the Town Square. The break included Laurie Furman (Sycomp Racing), Heather Ross (Team TIBCO II), Oliveira , Kira Prokopakis (Los Gatos), and Rikke Preisler (Metromint Cycling). The group continued to increase their gap over the remainder of the field as they worked together throughout the race. It was Metromint’s Preisler who waited to strike and then took the win by about five bike lengths. “After the last u-turn we were waiting around to see who was gonna go,” said Preisler, “Kira [Prokopakis] went pretty hard and we sat up, I was on Kira’s wheel. Then Kira went again before the finish and I attacked then.”
After seeing the pre-reg, Preisler said she was expecting a modest race. With Oliveira showing up, Preisler admitted that, “We were trying to make it a hard race and we wanted to be active early and late. I went early and didn’t expect a break to stick but it did.” Finishing second behind Preisler was Heather Ross with Flavia Oliveira in third. Kira Prokopakis took fourth whilst Laurie Furman secured fifth place.
In the Men’s race, Brandon Trafton (Full Circle Cycling p/b PURE GEAR) lead out a first lap break followed by a group of six or seven racers. Returning to the Town Square, Charles Hutcheson (McGuire Cycling Team) and Nathan Parks (Morgan Stanley/Specialized Cycling Team) made the bridge to Trafton and the three men consolidated their lead from there. “As we came through the little town center, I treated it like a crit,” said Hutcheson, “I got most of the way across to him [Trafton] and shattered the bridging group. Only one guy [Parks] came with me and the three of us rotated for the whole race.”
“With about 200m to go, Brandon [Trafton] started leading it out,” continued Hutcheson, “and I dropped into my 54-11 and came around him about the last 100m.” Trafton secured second place ahead of Parks in third. Joshua Carling (Michael David Winery Cycling Team) took fourth place with Ricardo Contreras (University of California at Santa Cruz) finishing fifth. Hutcheson was absolutely bemused with his win as he broke his team’s plan with his own break, rather than cover any early breaks.
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