Pre-Race Preview: Grant’s Tomb Criterium
At this week’s race, teams score points based on their absolute positions in the field (i.e. top 7). The A field points will be sourced from both the P/1/2 and the 3 field, so that makes for some interesting possibilities.
In a good sign for this local Criterium, the P/1/2 field is pretty well stacked. Although the USA Crits series kicks off in Florida this weekend, both the Stan’s NoTube’s/AXA Equitable team and the CRCA/Champion System p/b by Stan’s NoTubes teams are fielding strong teams of nine riders each. Scott Savory of Mengoni could also be a contender but without teammates, he will have to rely on other teams to keep the race together. Foundation is under represented with the team choosing to send the squad to Florida. Gavin Robertson will also have to sit in and hope for the field sprint to have any hope of getting a result.
But this is shaping up to be a shoot-out between those riding with no tubes. Although break-aways are rarely successful in this race, one with Champion System and AXA represented could well prove successful. Riders won’t be prepared to grant Alan Rego the extra rope he was given last week after proving his ability to not hang himself with it.
Any number of the NoTubes riders could win this, but I am going with Clayton Barrows from the AXA variety, but expect very few points available for CRCA riders other than the Champion Systems team, which will allow them to increase their lead in the Team Cup.
The Men’s Category 3 field will also count towards the
A field competition. Teams that field strong Category 3 riders have a chance to prove their worth and move up in the team competition in this open race. Well represented teams include BH/ Comedy Central, Sixcycle-RK&O and FGX Racing. I expect the top CRCA contenders to include Matt Vandivort (Sixcycle-RK&O), Juan Aracena, Soren Jensen (Rapha Racing NYC), Jonathan Giahn (Asphalt Green) and Darius Shekari (FGX Racing). Antonio Munoz (Foundation) has something to prove in the 3’s so watch for him as well. Vandivort looked strong at the Spring Series race last weekend, David Anthony (BH Comedy Central) and Soren Jensen have early season form from racing at the Tour of the Bahamas. There is too much praise for DA on other websites around here, so my pick is for Jensen.
In the Women’s field, as usual, I am hampered by the fact that I know most of the women haven’t yet signed up to race…making picking a winner very difficult. Notably absent from the line up at this stage are Kristin Lotito (Houlihan-Lokey/Sanchez) and the entire Asphalt Green and Innervation Fitness teams. Its possibly a strategic move by the teams to avoid showing their hands too early. Cagey racers these women. Still, I expect a flurry of signups and think we will see a shootout between Becca Schepps (Innervation Fitness), Kristin Lotito (Houlihan-Lokey/Sanchez), Fabienne Gerard (Eumaeus Asset Mgmt – Fuoriclasse) and Danielle Kosecki (Asphalt Green). Lotito and Gerard are the strongest sprinters, but if Innervation and Asphalt Green make the race hard, they may just take the edge of their sprint enough to put one of their riders up there. However, that’s all conjecture and of the current CRCA registered riders, my pick is Laura Lee Vo (Radical Media).
The Men’s 4 field contains what appears to be a pretty evenly matched field, but contains some of the usual suspects. As an aside, the B field competition this year looks to be a very evenly matched affair. Siggi’s is well represented in the field and if fit, Josh Sakofsky should be their sprinter of choice. Noah Gellner (SIDS’s) looked good last weekend, but with teammate Greg Waggoner also in the field and desperate for a win and some upgrade points team orders may have him play a different role this week. Foundation appears to be lacking a stand out sprinter this year, but should have riders thereabouts. But my pick is for Greg Waggoner to repeat his win from last year. He has a big team to help him out and has the skills and early season fitness to take the field sprint.
Best of luck to all racing, and it looks like a great day to hang about and watch some racing as well.
Rod Millott, CRCA President