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This weekend’s NRC events are the Presbyterian Invitational and the Hanes Park Classic

Charlotte and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, welcome the NRC crowd this weekend with a pair of crits. Charlotte

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By Ophir Sefiha

Charlotte and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, welcome the NRC crowd this weekend with a pair of crits.

Charlotte
Saturday will see racers descend on Charlotte for the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational. The pro/elite men’s field will contest a 50-mile twilight criterium battling for $50,000 in prize money. The eight-corner, barbell shaped course in downtown Charlotte will play host to a strong field of domestic racers including southern-based pro teams Toshiba and Jittery Joe’s. Last year, Health Net’s Frank Pipp outsprinted breakaway companion Jesse Anthony to take the win under hot and humid conditions. This year’s forecast calls for similar conditions.

The women’s event in Charlotte will take on particular importance as it has been designated as the final race in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. The race is the only criterium in the series. Going into the final event, Cheerwine holds the team lead while Aaron’s Katharine Carroll sits in top position. Thanks in large part to the $25,000 purse, the Charlotte event is also the only non-UCI women’s race ranked at 1.1 on the NRC ?Calendar.

Hanes Park Showdown
There will likely be more than a few tired legs at Sunday’s Hanes Park race the following day in Winston-Salem. Less than 80 miles away, the races frequently draw riders for both events.

First run in 1977, the Hanes Park Classic has been a mainstay in the Mid-Atlantic race scene, drawing big fields attracted to the 1.3 mile twisting circuit that winds around Hanes park in the city’s historic West End neighborhood.

Toyota-United’s Ivan Dominguez took the win last year with Jeff Hopkins hot on his heels. Hopkins won’t have to contend with the Cuban Missile this time around as Dominguez nor his Toyota-United teammates are on this years start list. Jittery Joe’s will be especially motivated for a good result as their coffee producing sponsor hails from Athens, Georgia.

Additional registered teams include Toshiba, Rite Aid, Team Type 1, Kelly Benefits as well as a host of elite amateur teams eager to battle it out with the pros.

National Racing Calendar Update

This weekends events will to continue the season-long, three-way battle between Cheerwine, Aaron’s and Colavita for the top spot on the NRC women’s team standings. While Cheerwine enjoys a considerable lead, Colavita is well within striking distance of Aaron’s for second place. Tina Pic, who nabbed the win in Charlotte last year, will continue to lead the charge for a Colavita team filled with riders who excel in criteriums. Pic is just 29 points behind last year’s NRC champ Laura van Gilder (second in Winston-Salem last year) in the individual NRC points standings.

Aussie Rory Sutherland still holds a commanding 668-point lead in the men’s individual points standings while his Health Net-Maxxis team also occupies the top spot in the team classification. Colavita’s year-long success sees the team currently in second. However, Bissell is not far behind and a few high placings could see a restructuring in the top spots before the season-long event closes in early September.