Allar, Keough earn Roswell Crit wins in cold, wet conditions

Driving rain and 55-degree temperatures combine for miserable conditions at the USA CRITS Speed Week race

ROSWELL, Ga. — An all-day deluge, combined with 55-degree weather, proved to be an interesting challenge for the competitors of the Historic Roswell Criterium in Roswell, Georgia, on Sunday. Erica Allar (Care4cycling) and Luke Keough (UnitedHealthcare) walked away with victories.

Between the weather and tired legs, it seemed as though the women’s race was going to come down to a field sprint. Lindsay Bayer of Colavita-Fine Cooking was very active for much of the race, and tried to get away six times with no luck. By the end, there were about 25-30 riders still left in the field, and Allar came up the middle for the win in a sprint.

“We knew the rain increases the chance of falling down by approximately 50 percent,” Allar said. “Our plan for Roswell was to stay up front in the first few laps and relax after things calm down. The rain provided a challenging component but I think we raced without any crashes which is great.”

Sam Schneider (Tibco-To The Top) and Kimberley Wells (Fearless Femme) came in second and third.

Allar remains the leader in the overall Speed Week standings for the women, with Wells in second and Jennifer Purcell (Colavita) in third.

In the men’s race, UnitedHealthcare sat on the front for the entire length, which was reduced to 60 minutes due to the inclement weather.

“The team rode amazing,” Keough said. “We took the front from the first lap and the guys rode the front the entire race and delivered me perfectly on the last lap.”

When primes were offered, riders including Ed Veal (RealDeal-Gears) and David Guttenplan (Ag Bicycles -Guttenplan Coaching) would sprint to take them, but would then fall back into the field. Toward the end, Team SmartStop set up its leadout train, perhaps to deliver sprinter Frank Travieso through the finish, but the powerful consistency of UnitedHealthcare’s dominance over the entire race kept SmartStop at bay.

After Saturday night’s disappointment at the Terrapin Twilight in Athens, Georgia, and even in the face of the bad weather conditions, UnitedHealthcare showed up ready, and the result was a complete sweep of the podium, with Keough coming in first, Hilton Clarke in second, and Carlos Alzate taking third.

“[The Terrapin Twilight] was a really frustrating result for us,” Keough said. “The breakaway did not work out for us but the sprint as you saw was a good one. We have a really strong team, and we were not happy with second, and I think that is something that for us is an edge. This was another reason we wanted to ride hard at Roswell, hopefully make up a little for the bad night before.”

Despite a stunning run in Athens, Kevin Mullervy (Champion System) dropped from first to sixth in the USA CRITS Speed Week standings. UnitedHealthcare has a stronghold on the overall, with Alzate, Keough, and Clarke in the top three spots.

Next up on the Speed Week schedule is the inaugural Coastal Empire Cycle Fest in Tybee Island, Georgia on Tuesday.