Lakatosh, Lea Score Big in World Series of Bicycling Event
The Fourth of July may have already come and gone but the fireworks were still going strong during the World Series of Bicycling event at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center tonight. The jam-packed schedule included all the fan favorites of the 10-mile scratch, keirin, sprints, wheel race, and a Madison. The competition was as hot as the temperature with riders from New Zealand, Canada, South America and Australia adding to an already impressive field of juniors preparing for track nationals which begin next week.
Pro Men’s Racing: The men’s racing started out with a 10 lap scratch race which was lit up from the gun when Nick Roeder, as well as Cameron Karwowski and Peter Builing from New Zealand, initiated a break-away. They three-man break managed to get a quarter lap gap, but that was no match for Bobby Lea when he jumped out of the field with two to go. Bobby went on to win, followed by Builing, the only surviving member of the break, with Kyle Wamsley rounding out the top three.
In the men’s invitational keirin, Andy Lakatosh, current leader in the men’s rider of the year standings, took his second keirin win of the season. Ryan Nelman followed the motor from the get-go, but was unable to hold off Matt Baranoski’s lead out for Lakatosh, his Pure Energy team mate. Baranoski managed to hang on for second, followed by Gil Hatton putting in an impressive effort to round out the top three.
Lea won another elimination race in his signature style, by essentially motorpacing the field for the majority of the race and then attacking with one to go. Emile Abraham and Peter Kos rounded out the top three.
The men’s sprint events continued with a miniature sprint tournament. In Heat 1 it was Andy versus Andy, as Lakatosh went head to head with Andrew LaCorte. After a game of cat and mouse, Lakatosh wound up his gear coming out of turn one to keep LaCorte at bay and move on to the final. The second heat between Baranoski and Dan Sullivan played out similarly, with Baranoski taking the wind. Heat 3 was by far the most interesting. Nelman was riding against Lanell Rockmore. Both of these riders used to be impressive domestic sprinters, but neither have been racing as much recently. Rockmore seemed to have it locked in until Nelman hit the gas coming out of turn four to pass him at the line.
The men attempted to crack the 10 mile record of 18:57, which was set back in 1999 by Jame Carney. This Friday was the second attempt of the season, the first was made opening night with Shane Kline taking the win, but he was notably absent from this evening’s competition. The race got off to a rather slow start, making it apparent early on that the record would remain until next time. The field remained intact despite numerous premes offered throughout the race. With 18 laps to go in the 50 lap race, a break formed consisting of Lea, Wamsley, Robert Bengsch, Alexander Gonzalez, Builing, and Emile Abraham. With nine to go Wamsley and Zak Kovalcik worked together to bridge up to the break away. The group shuffled around until two to go, when Lea blew the group apart to take the win followed by Builing and Kovalcik.
Round one of the sprint finals saw a three-up match sprint between LaCorte, Sullivan, and Rockmore to decide positions 4-6. Rockmore made the first move when he shot under a gap that Sullivan left underneath. He almost held it to the line, but LaCorte pipped him at the line.
Round two was a three-up sprint to decide the top three finishers in the sprint tournament. Baranoski led it out followed by Lakatosh who had Nelman glued to his wheel. Coming out of turn two, Lakatosh displayed a huge turn of speed to power over Baranoski and take the win. Baranoski managed to out sprint Nelman for second.
Lakatosh’s evening saw him retain his undefeated status in the keirin as well as the second time in a row he walked away with two wins in a night. As a local, Andy is a crowd favorite and he loves to race at his home track, “I love racing in T-town, the desire to win comes from T-Town pride, I don’t want to see anyone else from somewhere else win when I’m here.” From here on out, Lakatosh is taking his season “one week, one day at a time” as he gears up for nationals in hopes of making the national team for the world cup season.
The racing for the night concluded with an 80 lap Madison that was dominated by the German team of Marcel Kalz and Bengsch, followed up by the New Zealand team consisting of Builing and Karwowski.
It was Kovalcik’s last night in T-town after a three week stint in Pennsylvania. After the race Kovalcik professed his love for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. “I love T-town because the racing is really, really fast. The crowds are awesome; I race first to please the crowd and second to win the race.” We can expect to see Kovalcik to return to Pennsylvania for Madison Cup in August.
Pro Women’s Racing: Kim Geist set the women’s racing off to an aggressive start by attacking with 19 to go in the 20 lap points race. She stayed off to take the first points sprint and remained off the front until a field preme was offered by Pure Energy Cycles, inciting Colleen Gulick to attack. Gulick was followed by Nadia Latzgo and Elizabeth Steele. The field reeled them in with nine to go and the move was countered by Hannah Hayduk, Steele, and Kim Edwards. Geist’s work paid off resulting in a commanding win, followed by Steele and Edwards.
In the women’s chariot final, Gulick found an invisible hole between to eke out the win over Edwards and Melissa Garcia.
In the women’s elimination, Garcia played the devil to make it into the final three with Geist and Gulick. Garcia went to the front with one to go, but was passed by Gulick and Geist in the back straight, where Geist unleashed an uncharacteristic sprint to take the win over Gulick.
The final event of the night was a handicap that saw Steele beat Edwards by a bike throw for the win.
Pee Wee Pedalers: For the Teva Respiratory-sponsored Pee Wee Pedalers it was their big opportunity to show off the hard work they put in early Saturday mornings for the past four weeks. The kids gushed about the program and all of the things they learned. Deva Sullivan, age 8, listed the obstacle course among her favorite parts of the program because of how hard and challenging it was, where as Frederic Patton insisted that learning how to skid was the most valuable part of the course. Six-year-old Paige Seay hit the nail on the head when she explained that she “learned to always be a safe rider, be a protective rider, and always be a good rider.”
Next Event: The World Series of Bicycling returns to action next Friday, July 13 at Valley Preferred Cycling Center with an event in conjunction with the USA Cycling Juniors Track National Championships. Tickets start at just $5 and kids 12 and under are admitted free. Gates open at 5:30. Racing starts at 7:30.
Story by Elspeth Huyett
Photo by Anthony Skorochod of Cycling Captured
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