Wednesday, June 25, 2008

LaGrange, GA - Georgia Cup

Karel Sumbal and Ryan Saylor of Lindner Capital headed up to LaGrange, GA for a Georgia Cup stage race consisting of a time trial, Georgia’s state championship crit, and a road race plus a special bonus crit with a win-and-out format.

Unfortunately, the LaGrange race was competing with better paying races in Tennessee. That, combined with summer heat stifling many racers motivation to race, led to a miserable turn out. Six Pro/1/2 racers turned out for the 1.6 mile time trial. Pro-racer Oscar Hanao (Clinica Union) edged out Gainesville, Florida’s Gary Yates (Naples Cyclery) by three tenths of a second for the win while another Gainesville rider, Brett Miller (Naples Cyclery) took third. Karel took 5th place while Ryan would have earned the lantern rouge position overall had the stage race not been cancelled due to lack of participation.

Next up was the Georgia State Championship Criterium. Bolstered by some masters entrants, the criterium hosted around twenty racers. Henao again demonstrated his dominance and broke away by himself to lap the field by the end of the race. Many attacks flew during the race, but nothing would stick (except Henao). Karel sprinted very well and just missed the podium to take 4th place while Ryan was determined to maintain his theoretical lantern rouge position.

The unusual format of win-and-out was next on the menu. In this race, racers raced the first five laps as they would any other criterium. Then, the winner of every single lap for ten laps won $100 and the race ended on the last $100 sprint—the 15th lap. Once a racer won $100, his race was over. Despite the race being open to categories 1-4, the continued trend of poor participation was again present. With only about 18 riders in the field, over 50% of the entrants were going to leave $100 richer. Fortunately for the Lindner Capital riders, both Karel and Ryan were able to recover some of the weekend’s expenses. Karel again sprinted well for the 4th cash give-away while Ryan attacked the remaining group and rode solo for half a lap to take the next-to-last $100.

The final race was the road race. The race was supposed to be a 102 mile endurance marathon. However, only eight “Pro-Am” riders showed up for the last race of the weekend. With so few riders, the promoter combined the Pro/1/2 riders with the masters 30+ field and shortened it to 68 miles (though they would be scored separately). Lindner Capital decided to team up with the Naples Cyclery riders for this race in order to strengthen its ranks by numbers. The race saw many attacks by Lindner Capital and Naples Cyclery, but the Clinica Union riders chased them all down. In the end, Karel unleashed his powerful sprint and could only be bested by Henao giving Sumbal his first Pro/1/2 podium finish. Temporary teammates Yates and Miller finished 3rd and 5th respectively to add to the team’s spoils.