It’s a massive opportunity for Top Banana points this weekend, with the Tour de Mount Pleasant Criterium coming as the second leg of a three-weekend road blitz.
kolo t.c. is still awaiting full results from West Branch, where Saturday’s road race went off as an A race for both the Men’s and Women’s races. Of late, Hagerty’s Lauri Brockmiller has been on a complete tear with wins at Mud, Sweat and Beers and Conquer the Village May 25. She’s been trying to keep ahead of Einstein Racing’s Chelsea Strate, the only real challenger this season with a number of other women well off the pace, at least so far. There is a lot of racing left, but if others want a chance for a Top Banana podium, they’d better start targeting races quite soon.
The Men’s Competition is much closer at the moment, with Jorden Wakeley narrowly ahead of a whole bevy of BISSELL racers in the top five. He’ll be on his heels for a month, however, as the road races stack up through June. For BISSELL, it’s imperative that they nab as many points as possible in June, and they have the firepower to do it. Derek Graham, Mike Anderson, Alex Vanias, Nate Williams, and the whole cast will have Mount Pleasant and the Cherry-Roubaix to look for full points.
The long-term outlook may come down to riders’ willingness to take on smaller races throughout the fall. There are two cyclocross races on the books and another gravel road race in addition to the big targets of Battle at the Burg, Peak2Peak and the Iceman Cometh. The odds of taking enough points in just those three big races to win the Top Banana overall are slim, though having a lead heading into September would certainly reduce the pressure.
Points this weekend will be important, and with 20 on offer to the winner, it could be enough to pull a few new names into contention. Just four women racers have registered for the Pro 1/2 races, with three of them already having opened their 2013 points account. Zoe Reeves will lead the way for Einstein Racing against Alicia Trevino and Sarah Jane Demerly. Brockmiller will not attend Mount Pleasant, nor will Strate, though she’d be ineligible for points in any case in the CAT 4 race. It’s a sort of cease-fire ahead of a very busy fall campaign with both of them going toe-to-toe from September through November.
The Men’s race wil be a much more crowded affair, with BISSELL sending Graham, Diekema, Daniel Lam, and Mike Anderson for the Criterium. The on-form Dan Korienek will have full support from Leadout, while Einstein Racing brings a rather full cast once again after a stellar showing at West Branch. John Leach will be a marked man along with his breakmates from last week, so expect another tete a tete between BISSELL and Einstein throughout the race. If it comes down to a bunch sprint, Einstein will be poised with the leadout of Fisher, Burke, Young, Bogedin, and Leach, with the big man Ryan Cross closing it out.