By Eddie Clark
(May 5, 2012) SILVER CITY, NM.—Downtown Silver City was the place to be for a full day of criterium racing that was capped off with the pro women’s and men’s racing in the afternoon. The classic four corner course was 1.8km, and had two small climbs on the backside of the course for racers to launch attacks.
In the women’s race, the Exergy team initially looked as if it would control the race, but that wasn’t to be. After a being denied the top podium step by Exergy’s Kristin Armstrong for the last three days, Optum, Now Novartis, Primal, and Colavita all took turns countering Exergys attacks or launching their own.
On the last lap a small group gapped the field that was lead in by Armstrong just a couple seconds behind. With three Optum riders, three NOW Novaris riders in the group and none from Exergy, it looked like a sure thing for one of the two teams to secure their first Gila win. Instead, it was Loren Rowney (FCS Rouse p/b MrRestore.com) who was mostly quiet throughout the crit that showed up fresh to take the highly contested sprint victory.
Carmen Small (Optum) picked up second, Alison Powers (NOW Novaris) took third, Jade Wilcoxon (Optum) took fourth and fifth place went to Janel Holcomb (Optum). Since Alison Powers and Carmen Small were both in the break that finished just seconds ahead of Armstrong, there were no changes to the Women’s GC.
For the finale, the Pro1 Men did forty laps around the straight-forward course. While there were a couple brief attacks, they were all quickly reeled in by the United Health Care Team except for the solo break away by Columbian National Team rider Alres Castro. Notably, Castro grew his lead over the field by nearly two minutes during his 45 minute solo breakaway before he was reeled in in the closing laps of the race.
Smarting from a scary flat tire in the previous days downhill section of the time trial, Optum’s Tom Zirbel launched a solid attack with five laps to go, and was quickly marked by a Kenda 5 Hour Energy rider. With a reputation for time trialing, Zirbel was brought back after two laps.
At one to go, Jamis Sutter Home and Bissell wicked up the pace from the front to string things out, and it was Jamis Sutter Homes Anibal Barrajo who lead the field through the last corner. Anibal Borrajo didn’t just lead out the field for the sprint, but also keenly lead out his teammate and brother Alejandro Barrajo who had plenty of kick in his legs to cross the line for firstplace.
Anibal Borrajo finished second, Luca Damiani (Kenda 5 Hour Energy) was third, US criterium national champ Eric Young (Bissell) took fourth, and fifth went to Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist). Since it was another field sprint, there were no time gaps or changes to the overall GC.