Tour de Tuscaloosa Criterium
Criterium race summary
First criterium of the year – fast, strong field – happy with a top 5 finish. I went with a good break on the second or third lap, but I was outnumbered with some really good sprinters – I believe Andy Crater, Emile Abraham, and Frank Travieso were all in this break so I wasn’t very committed to it knowing that I wouldn’t stand a chance in the sprint against those guys. When we got caught, my teammate Pat Allison launched himself into the next move. A couple laps later, they were caught just as Joey Rosskopf (Team Type I Sanofi) and Oscar Clark (United Healthcare of Georgia) slipped away in a perfectly timed attack. I missed the move, but I was near enough to the front by the bottom of the hill to attack to try to bridge. This didn’t work as I never got a good gap and just ended up pulling the field for the last third of a lap. On the next lap, Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s) attacked hard and got a gap solo. I attacked and bridged up to him right as we caught Johnny Brizzard (Subaru) who had also been off the front chasing. We were closing in on the leaders, but the field was closing in on us so we gave up the chase. At this point, I was pretty cooked and slid to the back part of the field with maybe 6 or 7 long laps left in the race. When I saw three laps to go, I started moving up and made it up close to the front by the bottom of the hill on the last lap. Frank Travieso launched like a missile at the bottom of the hill – which then detonated the field as everyone panicked to try to catch him. I ended up in good position by the top of the hill but still maybe 10 riders back from the front. I swung out a little left and attacked to move up. A second or two later, three riders moved over in front of me to start their sprint before the second to last turn. I immediately latched onto this mini-train and came around the last two turns in 4th position in the field and ended up passing one rider to take 5th for the race – with Joey up the road taking a solo win and Frank just ahead of the field taking 2nd. My teammate Pat Allison came in just behind me for 6th. Kristine did some amazing cheering and got a good video of the finish and some from earlier in the race – will post these tomorrow after the road race.