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Hanson overcomes monster leadout to win in Tulsa

Ken Hanson derailed a fierce Jamis-Sutter Home leadout train Saturday night to win the Brady Village Criterium on the second night of the Tulsa Tough omnium. Hanson (Jelly Belly-Kenda) came good on a load of work from his teammates in the final 10 laps to edge out Jamis’ Anibal and Alejandro Borrajo, respectively.

In a reversal of Friday night, the roads were fast and dry Saturday in Brady Village. A number of solid moves established themselves throughout the 75-minute affair. Quinn Keogh (Exergy) was the most aggressive of the comers, launching into a number of moves and scooping up many of the cash primes on offer. With three multiple-block straightaways, one of them a long downhill, the Brady Village track isn’t suited for an escape to the finish, however, and the sprinters were bound to have their day.

“It’s just a really fast course,” said Hanson. “It’s hard for a group to stay away.”

By the time 10 laps to go came, the sprinters’ teams were organized on the tip of the bunch and Keogh was the last attacker to see any daylight. Hanson’s Jelly Belly teammates, defending two-time Tulsa champ Brad Huff and Sean Mazich, went to the front of the group, scooped up Keogh, and hammered a hard pace for five laps.

“We just wanted to go with the best plan possible … Huff kept it fast and smooth,” said Hanson. “I couldn’t have done it without him and Sean Mazich and Will Dickeson.”

With five to go, Friday night winner Jonathan Cantwell (V Australia) had his top leadout man Sean Sullivan trading pulls with Huff. Behind them the field was strung out and splitting, with Jamis in the wings.

Hanson said after the race that with only four riders including himself, he knew Jelly Belly couldn’t control the final two laps and coming into the left hand corner onto the finish straight for the final lap, Huff waved the Jamis train through, Hanson planted on Anibal Borrajo’s wheel.

The Jamis train ratcheted up the speed another notch, railing corners in the shadows. Alejandro and then Anibal Borrajo launched off the end of the leadout when the rolled onto the downhill finish straight, but Hanson waited in the wheel until 100 meters to go when he jumped to the left of the road. Fourth a week ago at the Philadelphia International Championships, Hanson ran away from the Borrajos and took the win by a bike length.

“It’s deceptively far to the finish,” said Hanson. “I was able to finish with good speed and am excited to have the win.”

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