Saturday, August 4th, 2018
Clonan cashes in at West Reading
Kristina Clonan made a fool of announcer Brad Sohner at Saturday’s West Reading Criterium. The Australian, riding for Fearless Femme Racing, didn’t mean any offense, of course, but just seconds after Sohner explained to a crowd of thousands that the $500 “gambler’s prime” could leave a rider with a nice pile of cash, but likely without the legs to contest the finish, Clonan took the prime. Then, a little less than two minutes later, she also won the race. Sorry, Sohner!
Clonan said she had to rely on her tactical savvy to remain at the front of the race in the closing laps of the fast, aggressive race through this city in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region.
“There were a lot of attacks in the last 8 laps, especially with the tailwind on the backstretch,” said Clonan. “It was tough to stay in a good position.”
The West Reading Criterium, part of the Reading Radsport Festival, gave racing fans a chance to come out and celebrate this region’s homegrown cycling culture — local youth groups took to the streets before the women’s race to show off their wheelie skills — and cheer for elite athletes racing this second-year event in Pennsylvania’s Americana Region. With a $10,000 purse on offer, the racing was fast and positive throughout, with relentless attacks that strung the field out on the long, upwind homestretch.
Clonan spent much of the day in a two-woman break with Laura Jorgensen (Feed Hungry Kids Project) and also took a mid-race prime. Once returning to the field, Clonan stayed hidden while waves of successive attacks and surges sent riders out the back on each lap.
Legendary North American crit racer Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) stayed hidden most of the day, riding defensively to stay at the front of the race. She claimed an early prime and unleashed a fearsome sprint to take second behind Clonan. Katie Clouse (DNA Pro Cycling) finished third on her 17th birthday.
- Kristina Clonan (Fearless Femme Racing)
- Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Baker p/b Van Dessel)
- Katie Clouse (DNA Pro Cycling)
Carr surprises by taking Gambler’s Prime and Race Win
As the sun started to set in West Reading, the breeze picked up and blew straight down the homestretch against the riders contesting the West Reading Criterium. That wind worked to the advantage of Mike Margarite (CRCA/The Weather Channel) and John Delong (Team Skyline) who took off from the field early and built up a lead that stretched to 17 seconds, nearly getting out of the site of the 100 riders in the field and at times looking like they might close the gap to the Acura NSX pace car.
With both riders’ teammates blocking efforts to chase, it looked for a moment like the race might be decided early, but with a few mid-race primes, the gap to the two leaders started to come down. When three-time Olympian Bobby Lea (Burner Fitness) came to the front, with an assist from the Doylestown Bike Works team, the break’s fate was sealed.
Mid-race laps were marked by Weather Channel, Texas Roadhouse, CS Velo, and local favorites Skyline trading attacks, but after the near-miss with the early break, the field was disinclined to let anything get too far up the road.
The elastic finally snapped with about six laps to go when a group of four riders — Margarite, taking his second trip off the front, Skyline’s Adam Carr, Geno Villagano (CCAP), and Michael Jones, a former Health-Net Maxxis rider now racing for Nalgene p/b Sager Beer Works — got clear of the bunch and quickly built a big advantage.
Lea, who lives nearby, hit the front again with two laps to go, but without much cooperation in the chase, the advantage shifted to the breakaway where Skyline’s Adam Carr took the “gambler prime,” and then won the race a lap later — the evening’s second such double.
Jelly Belly’s Curtis White won the field sprint for fifth.
- Adam Carr (Team Skyline)
- Michael Margarite (CRCA/The Weather Channel p/b Specialized)
- Geno Villafano (CCAP)