(July 22, 2012) Niwot, Colo.-The Niwot Criterium has been a Colorado Front Range Favorite for a long time. The course is flat, fast, and technical, with plenty of cornering that tends to keep the racing tight. The figure eight layout of the course is great for spectating as the riders roll through the historic downtown district two times each lap. In the past, this race was part of the National Racing Calender, attracting the likes of Christian Van de Velde and Jeannie Longo.
Although the race may not be drawing in the number of racers it did back in the day, it is still a great course in a great little town that gets riders and spectators out of the office park criterium setting and into something a little more interesting. Sundays racing began early as the day heated up. Thankfully some clouds rolled in during the afternoon as the Pro 1,2 Women went off around 4pm.
A small but strong field of women took the first few laps as a group, until a couple of attacks were launched. Neither lasted long, but eventually the field was split by pressure at the front from a group of more than ten, including Cari Higgins (Exergy Twenty12), Gwen Inglis (Unattached), Flora Duffy (Unattached), Nicole Duke (Natural Grocers), and a few others. By the bell lap, the group was down to 7 riders, with Cari Higgins taking the win, Julie Emmerman (Primal/McDonald Audi) in second and Kori Seehafer (Unattached) in the third spot.
Talking with Nicole Duke after the race she had this to say. “I was using this race as a warm up for the Raleigh Dealer Camp race coming up in Deer Valley on Tuesday. I do not have a CX sponser at the moment so it would be great to win it out there.” Turns out Nicole did take the win on Tuesday and bagged herself a full ride from Raleigh for the upcoming CX season. Congrats to Nicole!
In the Men’s Pro 1,2 race, it didn’t take too many laps before Danny Summerhill (Garmin/Chipotle), launched a flyer and headed out on his own. The pack was slow to react, and Summerhill rode a handful of laps a minute or so off the front. After a while, Eddy Gragus (Team Helen’s/8th Wonder Cycling), had enough and went to the front to initiate the attack.
Eventually Summerhill was brought back and the group remained together until the end, when Russell Stevenson (Unattached) was able to sneak a few seconds off the front to take the win with the group right behind him. Zach Allison took second, and Phillip Snodgrass came in for third.
For full results: ACA Cycling Results