• Weekend Recap: Madera Stage Race Criterium

    by  • March 11, 2014 • Crit, race coverage

    Photos courtesy Alex Chiu Photography.

    Results (when available) at USA Cycling.

    Madera Criterium: Located in the heart of Madera (and only two blocks away from a Starbucks!), the criterium’s rectangular course featured two very wide streets for the start and backside with the other two sides being narrow by means of a concrete divider or cones. Because this course was on the large side, it meant for a rather long straightaway to the finish – something many had to consider for the drag race to place first for both the men’s P/1/2 and women’s 1/2/3 fields.

    In the men’s P/1/2 field, the pace was naturally high to begin with. From the start, there were attacks and breaks with notable action by Jonathan Teeter (Marc-Pro/Strava) chasing down several attacks as well as being in a break several times. While most attacks and breaks were caught by the field, the prime lap with a time bonus for the general classification was an important one – as Owen Gillott of Hagens Berman U23 describes:

    Going into the race we had a great lead with Adrian Costa and Zeke Mostov doing amazingly in both time trials, Adrian had almost a 2min lead over our team mate zeke in second. The team plan going into the race was to have myself and Jordan Cullen cover the front of the race and make sure that our leaders stayed safe and had the energy when the time called for it. It was a fast race with attacks going every lap, I found myself sitting third wheel coming into a sprint lap with Zeke on my wheel. So I went full gas leading out Zeke and he managed to get the 5 second time bonus.

    In addition to the Hagens Berman U23 team, women pro riders Evelyn Stevens as well as Taylor Wiles of Specialized/Lululemon were in the field as well. For several laps towards the end of the race, both of the women broke away from the main pack, and then were found back with the peloton. Kenda/5 Hour Energy’s Sam Bassetti and James Stemper, while only two strong, consistently worked to have one or the other in the action as they were routinely seen towards the front of the field and in a few of the breaks.

    As the lap cards were drawn out, the pace picked up and the teams assembled together to prepare for what would be a bunch sprint. In the final lap, Rob Evans and Bryan Duke of Bear Development Team attacked from the right side at the start with plenty of momentum, but they were caught by the raging field quickly. Gillott recalls how that last lap went down:

    The rest of the race went smoothly with Zeke and Jordan controlling the race expertly, Jordan was making sure that it was all together for a pack finish. With one lap to go I found the back wheel of Adrian who by the next corner managed to get onto Zeke’s wheel. Zeke used his amazing time trial skill and pulled for two thirds of the lap to launch Adrian with 500m to go. The timing by the team was perfect, Adrian pulled off and I lit it up to take the win for the team.

    For the women’s P/1/2/3 race, teams Pinnacle Reactor p/b JL Velo and TIBCO/To The Top had the numbers and duked it out through the laps. The race started fast and furious with a Pinnacle Reactor off the front on the first lap, followed by subsequent individual breaks by Sara Headley (TIBCO/To The Top), Joanna Dahl (Metromint Cycling), and Claire Morgan (Folsom Bike/VW/Raley’s). While these breakaways were short lived, the Pinnacle Reactor p/b JL Velo team had the advantage of being the most represented by numbers. The field that caught most of these breaks were spearheaded by TIBCO/To The Top as well as TWENTY16’s Alison Tetrick (who had placed first in the time trial stage with a comfortable minute lead over second place Jane Despas of Pinnacle Reactor p/b JL Velo).

    In the final lap,  the field emerged as a whole around the last turn into the straightaway to the finish, TIBCO/To The Top teammates Headley and Holly Mathews kept themselves at the front of the field, with the Headley taking first and Matthews second in the field sprint with Shoshauna Laxson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes) and Tetrick placing third and fourth, respectively.




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    Alex Chiu is a local photographer in the NorCal cycling scene. After dabbling a bit in racing (and not doing very good at it), he decided to pick up a camera and take pictures at the races to still be a part of the action. Chances are if the race is within a 2 hour driving window from Sacramento, you'll find him somewhere along the course. You may find his photos at http://acaurora.smugmug.com