The 2011 Roanoke Twilight Criterium was a huge success for the guys once again taking the top 2 spots in a tough and exciting race. Before the race the team talked about the course and the strategy. The race course was only .6 mile course and with 6 corners the team knew that this race would string out and cause a lot of the riders to get dropped from contention. The plan was to go to the front early and make the race hard and fast and that a break would probably be established early. With strong representation from teams such as Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder, Stan's NoTubes / AXA Equitable / CRCA, and XO COMMUNICATIONS/BATTLEY HARLEY-DAVIDSON they knew that this was not going to be an easy race.
Right from the start the race did string out and it did not take long for Ben to establish a small gap. Soon Thomas and Jared Nieters (Battley) also joined Ben. As the main group continued to shrink considerably each lap a few more riders slipped off the front. Just 20 minutes into the race a lead group of 7 had been established with all the favorites (Thomas, Ben, Russ Langley and Jared Nieters from XO, Phil Gaimon from Kenda, Clayton Barrows from Stan’s, and Jeremy Grimm from Cleveland Clinic). It was considerably early for this move and we had initially hoped to have separated from some of these key players, but with everyone represented the field was comfortable letting these riders move ahead.
The group of 7 worked together and lapped what was a considerably smaller field. Eventually more hostilities ensued and as Phil Gaimon made a strong attack the team was able to control this dangerous move. In doing so they reduced the lead group to 15. All the 7 leaders were still in contention but this had eliminated many of riders able to support those 7. So at this point we felt comfortable in Thomas’s ability to win this in a sprint and we waited to see if Ben could recover from his earlier efforts and try a late breakaway.
Ben was near the back of this group and looked in considerable pain so it was with some relief that with just 5 laps to go he gave us the thumbs up sign. With 3 laps to go Ben let the fireworks fly and attacked hard! His gap went from 6 seconds to 8, and continued to grow enough to where he had time for a comfortable victory salute. Neil had Thomas in great position out the last corner and he took a convincing 2nd place. BOOM!
2011 Roanoke Twilight Criterium, Roanoke, VA
Saturday, April 16, 2011
1. Ben Zawacki - Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop
2. Thomas Brown - Team Mountain Khakis p/b SmartStop
3. Clayton Barrows - Stan's NoTubes / AXA Equitable / CRCA
4. Russ Langley - XO COMMUNICATIONS/BATTLEY HARLEY-DAVIDSON
With Easter approaching the team will take the weekend off. That does not mean they will not stop preparing for the Terrapin Twilight Criterium and Speed Week. USA CRITS Speed Week is a series of seven criterium races over nine days across three southern states – starting in Athens, Georgia and ending in the North Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. Speed Week features the best criterium cyclists in the world racing the downtown streets of seven cities, transforming these areas into international cycling competition arenas. Olympians and world- and nationally-ranked athletes will take to the streets to contest the series.
Speed Week commences in Athens on April 29th and runs through May 8th.
One again we humbly thank you for support and interest in the team. We are truly honored to be able to put the team on the road with the necessary support and armed with the best equipment to be able to do what they have done. Their performance to date has truly made us very proud.