By VeloNews Interactive
Pacific Northwest riders turned in solid performances Friday as the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge kicked off in Portland, Oregon.
In its fifth year, the AVC – the sixth race in the American Velodrome Challenge Series – featured temperatures in the mid-90s baking the 268-meter concrete oval with its steep, 43-degree banks. And the racing was equally hot.
Portland’s Larssyn Staley (Hot Tubes), just back from winning gold in the pursuit and points race at junior nationals, opened the morning session by taking a hard-fought victory in the women’s 3000-meter pursuit with a 4:05:47. Heather Albert (Basis), fresh off an impressive performance at the Cascade Classic the previous weekend in Bend, was second in 4:06:73, while former masters world pursuit champion Annette Hanson of Washington (Team Rubicon) rounded out the podium in 4:11:48.
The men’s results contained something that would have been unthinkable in American track racing just a few short years ago – Marty Nothstein finishing second in the 4000-meter pursuit. The former sprint and keirin specialist, now a full-fledged endurance man on the Navigators squad, put up a solid 4:59:28 only to be defeated by reigning world masters pursuit champion Kenny Williams (Saturn of Seattle), who turned a 4:58:41. Mike Beers (Gotham Cyclists) was a distant third in 5:10:02.
The power riders were supposed to take center stage in the afternoon session, but pursuiter Hanson upstaged them all to win the women’s 500 meters with an impressive 39.98. Laura Yoisten (Colnago-Carrera) was second in 40.23, while early starter Ashley Kimmet (Colavita-Bolla), whose time stood atop the leader board until the final two riders bettered it, had to be content with third in 40.93.
The elite men’s kilometer was led for a long time by a very smooth and powerful Beers (1:12:21) but once the heavy hitters took to the track in the final stages, he was displaced to fourth. His bike got another shot at top spot, however – Nothstein borrowed the aero’ machine for his effort, and the two-time defending champion and track record holder (1:08:76) did not disappoint. Nothstein took the win in 1:10:04, turning the tables on morning pursuit opponent Williams, who was second in 1:11:38. Cameron Mackinnon (Bicisport) completed the top three in1:11:78.
The racing continues Saturday morning with sprint qualifiers and a 10-mile scratch race for the men, and keirin qualifiers and a miss-and-out for the women.