The USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) rolled into its 16th event on the 19-race calendar as the men and women navigated the streets of downtown Boise, Idaho, dancing between rain drops to contest the Exergy Twlight Criterium on Saturday evening. The top spots of the men's and women's standings have been decided, leaving the peloton to vie for the remaining standings spots while the women's standings remain up for grabs.
Hilton Clarke (AUS/UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) clinched the top spot in the NCC men's standings after winning the men's race in Boise. In winning the race, Clarke collected 100 points, bringing his total to 638 points, 210 points more than his closest competitor, Jacobe Keough (Sandwich, Mass./UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis).
|Hilton Clarke tops the men's podium after winning the men's race at the Exergy Twilight Criterium. (Photo by Steve Conner)|
While the competition for the top spot is over, it is extremely contentious for the remaining standings spots. Keough leads third-place Carlos Alzate Escobar (COL/Team Exergy) by only four points. Escobar finished second to Clarke in Idaho to jump from fourth into third place. Escobar overtookLuke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop), who finished the race in fourth place, one second behind Escobar. Ken Hanson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) holds on to fifth place, trailing Luke Keough by 74 points with only two races remaining on the calendar.
Clarke's win in Boise, helped UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis clinch the top spot of the NCC men's team standings. The second-place Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop now trails the top team by 648 points with only two events for the men remaining. Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop is holding a slim 19-point cushion on the new third-place team Team Exergy, which jumped from fourth in the previous standings. Jamis-Sutter Home sits in fourth place, 69 points out of third and 112 points ahead of Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.
|Kristin McGrath narrowly edges Alison Powers to win the women's race at the Exergy Twilight Criterium. (Photo by Steve Conner)|
Erica Allar (Tucson, Ariz./RideClean-Patentit.com) has strengthened her grip on the top spot of the NCC women's standings. Allar's lead over second-place Laura van Gilder (Cresco, Pa./Mellow Mushroom) is 174 points with only three races remaining for women.
Sarah Fader (Morrisville, N.C./Pepper Palace-Spin-Tech Training p/b ABRC) sits in third place 229 points behind van Gilder and 70 points ahead of the new fourth-place rider Samantha Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./Team TIBCO-To the Top). Schneider finished seventh in the race to collect 40 points and move into fourth place, 24 points ahead of Emily Collins (NZL/Vanderkitten-Focus), who rounds out the top five.
Racing with support from her new hometown fans as well as for the Boise-based Exergy TWENTY12 team, Kristin McGrath (Boise, Idaho/Exergy TWENTY12) outsprinted Alison Powers (Pinecliffe, Colo./NOW and Novartis for MS) to win the Exergy Twilight Criterium.
Team TIBCO-To the Top added 103 points to its total in Idaho and now leads the NCC women's team standings by 256 points. The new second-place team is NOW and Novartis for MS, which surged past Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies into the runner-up position. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies is only four points out of second place and 63 points clear of the fourth-place Exergy Twenty12, which overtook Vanderkitten-Focus. Vanderkitten-Focus is in fifth place, 111 points behind Exergy Twenty12.
Check out a photo gallery of pictures taken by Steve Conner.
USA Cycling NCC Standings:
1. Hilton Clarke (AUS/UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) — 638*
2. Jacobe Keough (Sandwich, Mass./UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis) — 428
3. Carlos Alzate Escobar (COL/Team Exergy) — 424
4. Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop) — 409
5. Ken Hanson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) — 335
1. Erica Allar (Tucson, Ariz./RideClean-PatentIt.com) — 702
2. Laura van Gilder (Cresco, Pa./Mellow Mushroom) — 528
3. Sarah Fader (Morrisville, N.C./Pepper Palace-Spin-Tech Training p/b ABRC) — 299
4. Samantha Schneider (West Allis, Wisc./Team TIBCO-To the Top) — 229
5. Emily Collins (NZL/Vanderkitten-Focus) — 205
1. UnitedHealthcare p/b Maxxis — 1,345*
2. Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop — 697
3. Team Exergy — 678
4. Jamis-Sutter Home — 609
5. Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies — 497
1. Team TIBCO-To the Top — 777
2. NOW and Novartis for MS — 521
3. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies — 517
4. Exergy Twenty12 — 454
5. Vanderkitten-Focus — 343
* — clinched first place in standings
For complete standings, visit the NCC's official webpage at usacycling.org/ncc.
Soon after the men contest the 2012 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship, the women will turn laps around Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich., as they compete in the Herman Miller Grand Cycling Classic. Following the women-only (for NCC purposes) event in West Michigan, the men and women will each have only two events remaining on the calendar.