The U.S. peloton spreads across the country this week, as marquee events are on the calendar in Oklahoma, Oregon and Pennsylvania. At the top of the calendar are Sunday’s twin one-day UCI events in Philadelphia. The nation’s top crit riders not on the list in Philly will face off for more than $70,000 in cash at the Tulsa Tough. And no longer on the National Racing Calendar, but still a demanding – and attractive – event for the stage racers, the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic started Tuesday and runs through Sunday.
TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championships – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Formerly the anchor of Philly Week, the Philadelphia International Championships (UCI 1.HC) will attract the strongest field in the U.S. this week. The peloton will face 156 miles, including 10 trips in front of the rowdy fans on the Manayunk Wall and 13 times over Lemmon Hill. The weather should be more cooperative than last year, when riders battled extreme heat on race day. That said, the pace should be less pleasant than in 2009; when Daniel Holloway escaped alone early on, the peloton sat up and was passed by the women’s field, which started six minutes later.
The Liquigas-Doimo tandem of Francesco Chicchi and Peter Sagan, who won three stages between them at the Tour of California, headline the startlist. They’ll go up against an HTC-Columbia squad that features Giro d’Italia stage winner Matthew Goss, as well as fast finishers from the domestic circuit, like Alejandro Borrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home), Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia), Karl Menzies (UnitedHealthcare).
Liberty Classic – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The women’s leg of the Philly race weekend, the NRC-classified Liberty Classic (UCI 1.1) runs 56 miles over the same course as the men’s race. The Liberty circuit includes four full laps over Manayunk and Lemmon.
2009 winner Ina Yoko-Teutenberg will lead a world-class HTC-Columbia roster that includes Evelyn Stevens. The HTC squad will face off against last year’s other podium finishers, Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) and Joanne Kiesanowski (TIBCO-To The Top).
Mt. Hood Cycling Classic – Hood River, Oregon
Formerly an NRC event, the Mt. Hood Classic successfully navigated the limbo the event faced over the last two years and is back in 2010 with six days of racing for the men and four for the women. While the event lacks NRC status, the challenging route and sponsorship tie-ins have the men’s field loaded, considering the race competes with the TD Bank event in Philadelphia.
Bissell and UnitedHealtchcare-Maxxis both bring squads led by riders fresh off the Tour of California. Rob Britton and 2009 overall winner Paul Mach lead Bissell, while UHC should support last year’s runner-up Chris Baldwin and Marc de Maar for the overall. Strong amateurs from California Giant, Matrix and Rio Grande, including Sid Taberlay, Jonathan Garcia, Ian Holt and Pat McCarty, will give the pros a run for their money.
Splitting time with two NRC events, the nearly cancelled women’s race hasn’t attracted the interest this year that the men’s contest has. Ally Stacher (Webcor Builders) will be on hand to go up against strong amateur squads like Hagens-Berman and Metromint. Without a dominant squad in the mix, the women’s racing should be wide-open all week.
Prologue Tuesday, June 1: PIR Prologue, 4.0 miles – WINNER: Paul Mach (Bissell)
Stage 1 Wednesday, June 2: Mt. Tabor Criterium, 90 minutes
Stage 2 Thursday, June 3: Mt. Adams Road Race, 106 miles
Stage 3 Friday, June 4: Scenic Gorge Individual Time Trial, 18.5 miles
Stage 4 Saturday, June 5: Wy-East Road Race, 92 miles
Stage 5 Sunday, June 6: Hood River Criterium, 90 minutes
Stage 1 Thursday, June 3: Mt. Adams Road Race, 54 miles
Stage 2 Friday, June 4: Scenic Gorge Individual Time Trial, 18.5 miles
Stage 3 Saturday, June 5: Wy-East Road Race, 71 miles
Stage 4 Sunday, June 6: Hood River Criterium, 45 minutes
Tulsa Tough – Tulsa, Oklahoma
The NRC picks up Friday night on the banks of the Arkansas River, as the Tulsa Tough brings three days of contentious racing to Oklahoma. The weekend opens with the twilight criterium in the Blue Dome district. Saturday’s Brady Village Criterium precedes Sunday’s main event, the Riverview Criterium, where the purse will top out at $15,000 for the men and $10,000 for the women. In total, individual purses of $37,000 (men) and $24,000 (women) are on the line throughout the weekend and the overall omnium winners will take home $10,000 (men) and $4,000 (women).
Brad Huff (Jelly Belly-Kenda) has had a slow start to 2010, but he will try to repeat his two wins and the individual omnium in Tulsa one year ago. Huff’s teammate Jeremy Powers will also be on-hand to face off against Cheyne Hoag and Guy East (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and amateur squads from Echelon Energy, Metro Volkswagen and Williams-SC Velo, among others.
Erica Allar (Vera Bradley Foundation), Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) and Samantha Schneider (TIBCO-To The Top) are set to face off in the women’s events. TIBCO and Vera Bradley will both bring strong squads with Alison Testroete and Alison Starnes joining Allar, and Kristen LaSasso and Amanda Miller complementing Schneider.
Day 1 Friday, June 4: Blue Dome Criterium, 70 minutes (men)/55 minutes (women)
Day 2 Saturday, June 5: Brady Village Criterium, 80 minutes (men)/60 minutes (women)
Day 3 Sunday, June 6: Riverview Criterium, 80 minutes (men)/60 minutes (women)