Clayton Barrows (AXA Equitable) won a sprint between an eight-man break, the remnants of a 14-man lead group that lapped the field with more than 30 laps remaining in the 60-lap Iron Hill Criterium on Saturday in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bobby Lea (Bahati Foundation) and Guido Palma (Jamis-Sutter Home) nabbed second and third place, respectively. Lauren Ellis (BikeNZ) soloed to victory with 11 laps remaining and maintained more than a 30-second gap for the remainder of the women’s criterium. Erica Allar (Vera Bradley Foundation) won the field sprint for second, while Sara Caravella (Team Card) finished third.
The lapping group
Barrows said the break of eight riders, including Jamis teammates Palma and Alejandro Borrajo, Mark Hekman (Mountain Khakis-Jittery Joe’s), Yosvany Falcon and Bobby Lea (Bahati Foundation), Tim Rugg (Battley Harley-Davidson), was concerned about the potential action of one rider with one lap to go: Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies).
“We all knew if someone was going to go from far out it was going to be Zwizanski,” Barrows said. “There were a couple teams with two guys, like, Bahati had two guys and Jamis had two guys. I kind of focused on them and came from behind Hekman, because I knew he was going to go for a long sprint. He and Zwizanski got caught up on the last corner and went down. I was able to avoid it and start my sprint from the last corner. I was able to come around the Bahati guys. I couldn’t come around Travieso, but he didn’t lap the field so I ended up winning.”
Lea finished a close second, and Palma third on the day. Travieso won the field sprint. “It was kind of destined to come down to a bunch sprint,” Lea said. “I just trusted that my teammate, Yosvany Falcon, was going to take me to the line and put me in the right spot to be there.”
The 14-man breakaway, which included Palma and Borrajo, Zwizanski, Falcon and Lea, Hekman and Neil Bezdek (Mountain Khakis), Ryan Dewald (Bikyle), Diego Gravito (Aerocat), John Minturn and Barrows (AXA) and Jeff Buckles (Richmond), lapped more than 20 riders with 32 to go after working toward creating a gap with 45 laps left in the race. “It was fast, but that’s about normal for a race like this,” Lea said. “Once you get out near the front you kind of flow through the corners a little bit better.”
Falcon got aggressive on primes, taking home the $250 mid-race prime and some $100 primes as well. Hekman, meanwhile, played a major role in dividing up the 14-man break with 17 to go. The crowd, which lined the streets several deep starting around 5 p.m., cheered on the aggressive break that blew apart the peloton. “I love racing in West Chester,” Lea said. “Fifty miles away from my house, it’s like my hometown race.”
Ellis continues Kiwi assault
The New Zealanders have had a heyday over the last two weeks in the U.S. and Ellis kept them rolling Saturday. After the women’s field attacked repeatedly throughout the race for multiple $50 race primes, she found herself a gap with 11 to go in the 40K criterium. “They just called out the prime and I wanted to keep going because I had a gap,” Ellis said. “I looked back next time and I couldn’t see anyone, so I just decided to keep riding and keep on going.”
Ellis took a nine-second gap into the final ten laps, while her four teammates shut down any chases on the front of the field. “They were awesome,” Ellis said. “Having amazing teammates is great.”
The gap grew steadily to 23 seconds with three remaining as the field started to lose any chasing momentum. Verducci Racing led the chase, but Ellis’ advantage stuck and she finished well ahead of the pack. “I didn’t look back too much except on the downhill, but I knew with about five laps left I was going to get the win,” Ellis said.
Allar, who raced without teammates, fought off the field for second, while Sara Caravella (Team Card) took third.
“The third and fourth corner are quite technical,” Allar said. “I knew I wanted to be first through them because I noticed earlier in the race I was taking them a little bit quicker than the other girls, so I wanted to have control over that. I made my sprint from the last corner to the finish line. I was able to do that, execute and hold off for second.”