Mejias, Summerhill claim wins at American Criterium Classic finale
Maggie Coles-Lyster and Brandon Feehery take series wins.
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Marlies Mejias (Virginias Blue Ridge TWENTY24) and Danny Summerhill (Best Buddies) took top honors at the 10th and final stop of the American Criterium Classic.
The Gateway Cup Giro della Montagna, held in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday, sewed up the overall win for Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Racing), who locked in her overall title and the sprint jersey. She said her entire season competing at the ACC was memorable, but several wins stood out.
“Salt Lake Criterium and Harlem Skyscraper were two really big ones for us,” she said. “And I mean, for me personally, obviously winning the Canadian national criterium and road race were huge. So I’d say those three really take the cake.”
Brandon “Monk” Feehery (Project Echelon Racing) did the same as the Canadian crit champ, clinching the overall series jersey. The “Pride of Knoxville” also secured the sprint jersey.
“This is a super high for me,” Feehery said after the race. “It’s been a whirlwind of a season. I have to thank the whole crowd at Gateway Cup. This is one of the best series around, so I’m super happy to be out here day in and day out with the biggest crowds and the biggest fans.”
Now that the ACC is complete, Feehery said his season is too.
“This is the end of the season for me,” Feehery said. “I’m battling an injury. So I’m looking forward to some time off and getting back into the daily routine with work, taking time off the bike, and focusing on next season.”
Anna Christian (Colavita Factor) and Ethan Craine (Project Echelon Racing) took home the overall Under 23 titles. Colavita Factor and Best Buddies Racing took home the team competition titles, respectively.
The slick tarmac and painted sections of road made the women’s race course turn into a proverbial ice rink, causing several crashes, one of which neutralized the race with eight laps to go. Because of the conditions, the riders were wary around corners and raced fairly conservatively, hoping to make it through unscathed.
With L39ION of Los Angeles absent from the women’s and men’s events, it opened the door for different teams to control the finale. The Virginias Blue Ridge TWENTY24 squad capitalized on the opportunity, setting up Cuban speedster Mejias perfectly for her first win of the series. Danielle Morshead (LA Sweat) took second and Kaia Schmid (Human Powered Health) finished third.
The course dried up by the time the men started. As in the women’s race, L39ION wasn’t present due to a race schedule conflict with the Maryland Cycling Classic. The race dynamic was aggressive from the start, mostly instigated by a motivated Best Buddies Racing squad.
Nothing significant got away until 13 laps to go when Summerhill made a move, but the pace continued to be so high that it was impossible to create a separation. Summerhill successfully set up Bryan Gomez to counter, however, and the Indy Momentum winner enjoyed a small gap off the front with a rider from Texas Roadhouse before heading back into the field. Along the way, Gomez picked up the final sprint point.
With L39ION’s absence, Best Buddies dominated the proceedings, with Summerhill pinging off the front several times in the latter part of the race. The strategy proved fruitful with two laps to go, and Summerhill held off a looming peloton by seconds to take a rare solo win. Clever Martine (Miami Blazers) finished second and Alfredo Rodriquez (Best Buddies Racing) claimed third.