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L39ion of Los Angeles men’s and women’s teams collected more hardware on a dry, hot evening at the Boise Twilight Criterium, during the fifth round of the American Criterium Cup on July 9. Skyler Schneider held off a late charge from Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Racing) to take a repeat win, and Ty Magner won in a photo finish sprint against US criterium champion Luke Lamperti (Trinity).
The thermostat read 94 degrees Fahrenheit when a deep pro women’s field took the line in downtown Boise for 70 minutes of racing. Schneider immediately went to the front for L39ion of Los Angeles as the primes started early. The dominant six-deep crit team swapped riders at the front along with ButcherBox and LA Sweat for the first few minutes, but then fell back into the bunch as things cooled off.
Overall and points leader Coles-Lyster padded her large lead in the green jersey competition, winning the first and second intermediate points sprints.
“My team, DNA, are so crucial to getting me to the line and helping me out during the race, especially with this ACC format where I need to go for the sprints,” Coles-Lyster said. “They’re there to cover moves and help protect me at the end, and I mean, we just have such a great team and such great team energy. So I love where we’re going with that.”
With 27 laps to go, L39ion’s Alexis Ryan was the first to make a move that got some daylight, but DNA Racing had a close eye on the squad, shut down that acceleration, plus anything else L39ion had up their sleeves.
And that’s how things continued, with several solo moves in between, before Butcherbox lined up at the front and released Paige Kostanecki off the front in a surprise attack that caught many off guard with ten to go.
Kostanecki dangled off the front for several laps, claiming the final intermediate sprint in the process, as the disorganized bunch looked left and right before reeling her back. Fellow ButcherBox rider Gillian Bennett was the next rider to attack with five laps to go, but her mission ran out of gas a lap later when Colavita took control of the bunch.
L39ion overtook Colavita soon after, with four riders leading the Stars and Stripes jersey of Kendall Ryan. Coles-Lyster locked on to the L39ion train and made a huge effort to come over the top of Ryan around the final corner, which drew words from the newly crowned US criterium champion after the race concluded.
Schneider took the win ahead of Coles-Lyster. Amanda Cyr (ButcherBox) claimed the final spot on the podium.
“It’s really special to repeat the win here,” Schneider said. “It’s all because of the team. I think our lead out this year has really led to a lot of domination.”
Magner wins despite late swarm
The men’s 70-minute race kicked off under slightly cooler temperatures as the sun started to fade, but the action was still high from the start.
Frank Travieso (Miami Blazers), one of the most active riders of the night, was part of several short-lived moves, but the bunch shut down all attempts until 35 laps to go when a dangerous break of about 20 riders rolled off the front containing US criterium champion Luke Lamperti, Curtis White and Michael Hernandez (Best Buddies).
The Blazers continued to fire riders off the front of the breakaway, and next to set out was 2018 US national road champion, Jonny Brown. But the entire operation was shut down by L39ion, who, sensing the danger, amassed at the front soon after.
Kaler Marshall (Expeditors) took advantage of a small lull in the bunch to spend a few laps alone off the front with 20 laps to go. But the Blazers kept the speed up and forced some bigger teams to chase. And, once again, the attackers were reabsorbed.
A large crash close to the front of the bunch sent many to the pit, and overall series leader Alfredo Rodriguez (Best Buddies Racing) to the medical tent, prompting a race neutralization. A second crash happened soon after and took another handful of riders to the pit, including Thomas Gibbons (Automatic), Brown, and Xander White (CS Velo).
With the laps ticking away into the single digits, L39ion and Best Buddies fought for the front, but L39ion was never really threatened. Behind, Hernandez was securely locked into Lamparti’s wheel, who infiltrated the L39ion’s train on the final lap.
“It just goes to show the level is coming. It’s coming up here in the States again,” Magner said about L39ion’s challenge from other teams in the finale. “We want the top competition here. It’s great to have Luke (Lamparti), the national champion, here racing this. It makes the game that much harder. You have to think out there, but it makes it better all around.”
It was a drag race between Lamparti and Magner, with Magner coming out on top in a photo finish. Hernandez finished third while Brandon Feehery (Project Echelon) moves into the overall series lead after a crash forced Rodriguez to abandon.
“Last year we went 1-2-3 here, and it was awesome to get to win again,” Magner said in the post race interview. “This is awesome.”
The next round of the American Criterium Cup is the Salt Lake Criterium on July 16.