Criterium Nationals – UnitedHealthcare Disaster

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Saturday was US National Criterium Championships.  Actually it was US Professional Criterium Championships and also  Criterium Nationals for women.  The Elite Criterium Nationals aren’t until later in the summer.

I had no idea that this was going on this weekend.  I’m not sure who is to blame at the Global Cycling Headquarters in Colorado Springs, USAC, but having criterium Nationals as a stand alone event, in April, is just plain stupid.  Like I posted a last week, here in the US, we’ve done everything in our abilities to showcase criterium racing as close to second tier as we can.  And this just is part of that whole problem.

Last year they allowed elite riders to compete the Professional Championships because less than 20 Professional guys showed up.  This year, it was only “Professionals” and 39 riders managed to make their way to Greenville to ride around in front of pretty much no one.  There were over 50 woman racing, which is makes an usual ratio, as compared to a normal race weekend.

Anyway, the Big Blue Train, which is how the UnitedHealthcare team, had a pretty horrible weekend.  For both men’s and women’s events.  They were the team to beat in both races and that is just what happened, they were beat.

The women’s race was under complete control.  They had 7 riders left in a field of around 25 and it looked to be business as usual.  The problem was that in the final corner, the leadout girl for UHC fell, taking out defending National Champion, and UHC team mate, Coryn Rivera.  This pile of women allowed Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB), who had to make a little squiggle move to avoid the mess, to ride allow to the line and win alone.  It looked like Coryn had set up the end perfectly and that he was just super unlucky.  But that is bike racing.

The men’s race was screwy.  About 1/2 way through the field split in a group of 14, then 17 riders, with no one in the split really wanting to ride off the front.  The front group split a bunch of times, but never the right combination.  I’m not sure what the right combination would have been.

Finally the UHC guys just went to the front and tried to control the race.  Optum and Hincapie both put in some digs to soften the UHC team up some.  I don’t know, maybe it worked.  Because the end was unexpected.

With a lap to go, it was business as usual for UHC, all four riders in line at the front.  But, they obviously weren’t going fast enough, because heading to up the last corner, Eric Marcotte jumped and that was all she wrote.

I know wouldn’t want Eric Marcotte 3 bike lengths behind me in that situation, with enough room to get a good head of stream going, so close to the finish.  He is so fast and isn’t going to slow down.  Hincapie’s Ty Magner, saw Eric go, but couldn’t get up to speed to get on him.

The two UHC sprinters, John Murphy and Luke Keough, were caught by surprise and barely managed to get onto Magner who had already lost Eric.

So, Eric won by himself, and Ty Magner was 2nd, leaving the last podium spot of Luke Keough, which wasn’t what UHC was looking for.

Eric Marcotte made a super move and was rewarded for his efforts.  So, he is the current US Professional Road and Criterium Champion for the next month and a half, at least.  I’m not sure anyone else I has done that.  Pretty sure not.  Pretty stellar.


You can skip to 1:48 to watch the end of the women’s race and to approx. 4;11 to watch the last couple laps of the men’s race.

21 thoughts on “Criterium Nationals – UnitedHealthcare Disaster

  1. Stu

    Marcotte has looked like a fucking animal the past year in certain events. When he shows up fit to race he just puts on a one man beat down. You could tell with about 15 laps to go that he was showing his cards a bit. He shut down just about every move for a long damn time. I thought he was going to blow and let McCabe give it a go behind UHC. Nope. Will be curious to see him mix it up at California with the big boys. Is he too old to make the jump?

  2. Stu

    Would have also loved to have seen Holloway in that race. My guess is he would turned the race on its head.

  3. channel_zero

    Is he too old to make the jump?

    Yes, probably. There are a couple of things going on at once.
    Age: Marcotte is “old” for the UCI’s elite show. That’s imagining Marcotte bankrolling his own contract.
    The number of elites is shrinking. No room for an “old” guy unless he can fund his own contract+++ and the UCI is okay with it.
    Big leap to WT. He’d need years to develop/adapt to the distances. He went to Worlds last year and DNF’d. That’s not assigning blame or fault.. I don’t know the circumstances

  4. euro

    The race promotion was a joke. I live right here in Greenville, and there was barely a peep about it on any local media until a few days beforehand. Too bad-Brad Sohner and Frankie Andreu are an excellent team, and made the show a great experience for those few who showed up…

  5. Jason Ward

    True. The event promotion was horrible. I knew the championships were happening but not the other races. Plus the open races were outrageous, I think the High Point open races were half that.

  6. Thom

    Judging from Sonny King in Aniston and this crit in Greenville, UHC is going to have to rethink how they race if they want to resume winning. Even if Eric Marcotte had not jumped, I’m not sure Luke Keough could’ve beat Ty Magner to the line.

  7. Bill K

    In the women’s race, it almost looked like the lead out rider touched her brakes going through the last turn, because she was going into it, too hot, causing her rear wheel to slide out.
    (but what do I know)
    I didn’t see a pedal strike.

  8. riverdog

    Rivera was out cold on the pave’….anyone know how she is doing?….over the bars with her front wheel into her lead out…ugly

  9. ExRider

    Look a little closer at that video. It was 100% a pedal strike. Left foot. Popped the wheel off the pave and the rest was history.

  10. Big Bill

    A national cycling championship in April? How stupid is that? A bit early in the year, no? Oh wait, it was just a criterium championship. No worries then..who cares about crits anyway? Too bad about Coryn Rivera though. Hope she’s doing okay. That chick is a real stud…and I mean that in a complimentary way, yo.

  11. Bill K

    Yep…pedal strike.
    That’ll lose ya a lotta skin……….and get you yelled at, after the race.

    I made that same mistake once, up in Madison, on an off camber turn, on the bell.

  12. Sean YD

    Rivera was up and walking around after the crash and even seen hanging out on the fence line during the men’s race.

  13. Shawn

    Love the back alley course…why don’t the run it through a garbage dump! Ever since they split the calender into NRC/NCC the entire circuit is an amateur show joke and there are no races, especially stage races. Did any one remember what happened to Indy car? Racing is DEAD!!! The men’s race looked like a Masters 3 poser race…bizarre. So basically no one shows up and Marcotte 35 the body builder who never leans out after a season and comes out of nowhere… wins so hipster never amounted to anything Creed can jerk off.

  14. Pepsi Frank

    The best Cat 1 contract is the girlfriend sponsorship. She works, you get to live a life of liesure and pretend that you are a “professional” athlete. I know guys in their 50’s still doing this.

  15. Paul Boudreaux

    I do a ride every Saturday (BOS) here in the Phoenix area that Marcotte shows up to pretty often during certain times of the year. All I can say is that based on the very small interaction I’ve had with him he seems like a very good human being and I’m proud of him. Seems like as things clean up you will have more guys like Marcotte “coming out of nowhere” to win races. Not really sure why anyone would question this guy being on the up and up?

  16. Jim

    Haterz. Thats the only explanation. He was a body builder duuuuuurrrr huuuurrrrrrrr that means he doped duuuuurrrrrrr huuuuuurrrrrrrrr.


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