Events

Pipp, Pic take Charlotte crit

In Saturday’s battle of the NRC titans at the Presbyterian Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina, Health Net-Maxxis rider Frank Pipp followed a late move by Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) and grabbed the win four and a half laps later. It was an intense effort that unexpectedly delivered another key win over the team’s close competitors, Toyota-United.

By JoE Silva, VeloNews.com

The men's podium

The men’s podium

Photo: JoE Silva

In Saturday’s battle of the NRC titans at the Presbyterian Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina, Health Net-Maxxis rider Frank Pipp followed a late move by Jesse Anthony (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) and grabbed the win four and a half laps later. It was an intense effort that unexpectedly delivered another key win over the team’s close competitors, Toyota-United.

“It was hard,” Pipp said as he accepted the embraces of his teammates and poured more water over his head than he did down his throat. “But I had such a strong team behind me, I had no worries about being caught.”

Pipp and Anthony maintained a gap of a little more than 30 seconds over a field that was unable to rally in time for the sprinters to fight for the win. Yosvany Falcon (AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork), whose solo pursuit of the two leaders never made it out of no-man’s land, took third.

Once known as the Bank of America Criterium, this year’s Presbyterian Invitational was again held on a six-corner, 1.25-mile course that ran through the heart of downtown Charlotte. And despite temperatures running into the low 90’s, some 40,000 spectators turned out to watch the seventh leg of the USA CRITS series and support the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas.

Just 10 minutes in, two riders had 34 seconds on what seemed like a decidedly sluggish field of 130. Jittery Joe’s Thad Dulin and Jonathan Hamblen (Manulife Financial) were up the road for nearly 10 laps, soaking up the initial high-dollar primes in what has come to be known the “World’s Richest Criterium.”

When the two were caught through the combined efforts of the Nerac, Rock Racing and AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork squads, the pace increased significantly and the entire peloton was strung out in a line that stretched for almost an entire city block. Soon after, Kelly Benefit Strategies rider Jonny Sundt did an extended effort off the front, grabbing cash and taking a 30-second lead over the peloton, which was by then logging three minute laps.

Once Sundt was reeled back in, the trio of Trent Wilson (Jittery Joe’s), John Murphy (Health Net), and Mark Walters (Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada) made a bid for glory with just 19 laps to go.

“Me and Walters drilled it and then Murphy came across, and the three of us worked even turns and split the primes up.” said Wilson. “We stayed away as long as we could, but then Navigators brought it back.”

But the Navigators squad would not be able to maintain that effort long enough to deliver speedster Hilton Clarke, winner of this year’s Tour of Somerville criterium, to the line.

Instead, Anthony took a flyer and Pipp hitched a ride. “I just followed Jesse, he said. “He went, and I figured I’d jump to him because I knew he’d drill it. He hurt me at first, but then we started to take pretty even pulls, and just got the gap.”

In the finale, Anthony made his move from too far out and Pipp came around him for the win.

“I think I got a little nervous in the last lap, jumped a little too early and wound up leading him out for too long. That’s a 22-year-old’s inexperience for you,” Anthony said. “But for me it’s the best result I’ve had all season in the U.S. I’m definitely happy with (second).”

Pic wins women’s race
Last year’s champion Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) defended her title, taking the win with a healthy gap over Gina Grain (Team Expresscopy.com). USA CRITS women’s series leader Laura Van Gilder (Team Cheerwine) crossed third.

The women's podium

The women’s podium

Photo: JoE Silva

Team Lipton sent Kori Seehafer and then Lauren Franges off, hoping to avoid a mass dash to the line.

“We didn’t have a real sprinter with us today.” said Franges later. “It was in our best interest to try and have something get away and stick.”

But Team Cheerwine was having none of it, snuffing out any move they considered dangerous.

In the final 500 meters, it seemed to be virtually anyone’s race, but Pic easily repeated last year’s victory.

Pic called her team’s work on her behalf “fantastic.”

“When Kori got away. Iona (Wynter) was pulling it back and when Lauren got away Alison (Powers) was pulling it back for us. Everyone was doing there part, and they were still there for me in the end,” she said.

Van Gilder also praised her teammates. “I found myself at the front a little earlier than I would have liked. I’m happy with the podium, although I certainly wanted the win since our sponsor is here in North Carolina,” she said.

Despite Pic’s repeat win, Van Gilder’s third-place finish leaves her comfortably atop the USA CRITS leader board with just two more events to go. Likewise, Abercrombie & Fitch rider Mark Hekman’s 23rd-place finish to AEG’s Frank Travieso’s 37th still leaves him a good bet to wear the series’ championship jersey at the finale in Las Vegas.

Race note
Toyota-United’s Caleb Manion crashed out of the race with about 12 laps to go, collecting a broken right clavicle that will keep him out of racing for the remainder of the season. “Caleb falling really took the energy out of the team.” said director Kirk Willet. “After he fell, it was just hard for the guys to get it together.”

Presbyterian Invitational Criterium
Charlotte, NC. August 4
Men

1. Frank Pipp, Health Net-Maxxis
2. Jesse Anthony, Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada
3. Yosvany Falcon, AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork
4. Ricardo Escuela, Team Successful Living
5. Karl Menzies, Health Net-Maxxis
6. Emile Abraham, Priority Health
7. Alejandro Acton, Colavita-Sutter Home
8. Jonathan Page, Battley-Harley Davidson
9. Kyle Wamsley, Navigators
10. Dominique Rollin, Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada

Women
1. Tina Pic, Colavita-Sutter Home
2. Gina Grain, Team Expresscopy.com
3. Laura Van Gilder, Team Cheerwine
4. Jen Mcrae, Advil Chapstick
5. Katherine Carroll, Aaron Corporate Furnishings
6. Laura Yoisten, Webcor Builders
7. Alex Wrubleski, Colavita-Sutter Home
8. Shontelly Gauthier, Team Ultralink
9. Anne Sampionius, Team Expresscopy.com
10. Christina Dekraay, Harris Teeter Naturals

Photo Gallery

Results

Presbyterian Invitational Criterium
Charlotte, NC. August 4
Men

1. Frank Pipp, Health Net-Maxxis
2. Jesse Anthony, Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada
3. Yosvany Falcon, AEG-TOSHIBA-JetNetwork
4. Ricardo Escuela, Team Successful Living
5. Karl Menzies, Health Net-Maxxis
6. Emile Abraham, Priority Health
7. Alejandro Acton, Colavita-Sutter Home
8. Jonathan Page, Battley-Harley Davidson
9. Kyle Wamsley, Navigators
10. Dominique Rollin, Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada

Women
1. Tina Pic, Colavita-Sutter Home
2. Gina Grain, Team Expresscopy.com
3. Laura Van Gilder, Team Cheerwine
4. Jen Mcrae, Advil Chapstick
5. Katherine Carroll, Aaron Corporate Furnishings
6. Laura Yoisten, Webcor Builders
7. Alex Wrubleski, Colavita-Sutter Home
8. Shontelly Gauthier, Team Ultralink
9. Anne Sampionius, Team Expresscopy.com
10. Christina Dekraay, Harris Teeter Naturals