$40K in prizes incentive for late-season field
By Neal Rogers
While most domestic road racers view either the Tour of Missouri or the USA Crits series finale in Las Vegas as the end of their long season, a select few are extending it through this weekend for the inaugural TD Bank Mayor’s Cup Professional Criterium, held Saturday in Boston.
Spearheaded by former professional Nicole Freedman as part of a weekend cycling festival, the event came together relatively late in the year and is not part of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar, nor any other series.
Instead, the race is part of Boston��s Cycling Celebration weekend, a precursor to the Hub On Wheels charity ride held the following day with an expected 6,000 participants. (Proceeds benefit Technology Goes Home, a Boston public school program.)
The flat, four-corner criterium takes place at City Hall Plaza; the course circles the Government Center transit station. The race is sponsored by TD Bank, which also sponsors June’s Philadelphia International Championship UCI event.
Freedman, a two-time national champion and member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, runs the city’s bicycle programs and suggested the race would be a perfect addition to the charity ride to have a “blow-out weekend” dedicated to cycling.
“The race is in addition to the city’s Hub On Wheels event,” Freedman said. “We talked about having a pro race the night before, and TD Bank came on as a title sponsor for three years. It was late in season when we began talking with them, but they were enthusiastic, and we told them we could pull it off. We like having it in September, the students are back and it’s the end of the season. It’s a great place to have the last race of the year. Boston is a fun town.’
The late-calendar date also pits the event against the concurrent USGP of Cyclocross, the UCI world road championships, and the aftermath of the notorious late-night industry parties at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
However with $40,000 in total prize money on the line, split evenly between the pro men’s and pro women’s fields, several marquee riders are finding incentive to keep the pedals turning into the final weekend of September.
Among those names is six-time national criterium champion Tina Pic of Colavita Olive Oil-Sutter Home, who will hang up her racing shoes for good Saturday night. Pic’s Colavita teammates Rachel Heal, Kelly Benjamin, Shontell Gauthie and Nichole Wangsgard will also take the start.
Challenging Colavita will be 2008 national criterium champion Brooke Miller and her TIBCO teammate Katharine Carroll, 2007 Athens Twilight winner Jen McRae (Team Type 1), and veteran criterium standout Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom).
On the men’s side, both Colavita and OUCH-Maxxis are sending top-tier criterium riders. Colavita is sending Kyle Wamsley, Tyler Wren, Andy Guptill and Dan Vaillancourt, while OUCH is sending Aussie Karl Menzies and track specialist Bobby Lea.
Other notable names in the pro men’s field include retired racer Greg Oravetz, the 1989 USPRO road champion and 1991 USPRO criterium champion; former Navigators Insurance director Ed Beamon (Van Dessel), and retired New Englanders Frank and Mark McCormack, who raced both road and cyclocross together years ago at Team Saturn and will race in Team Fuji-Clif Bar colors.
A full list of confirmed riders can be found at BikeReg.com.
Freedman said to keep the racing interesting, the $20,000 in prize money per pro event was divided into $12,000 towards finishing results, with $8,000 dedicated to mid-race primes. The start/finish is on Cambridge Street, with primes on both Cambridge Street and Congress Street.