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The American Criterium Cup series headed to The Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, Alabama last weekend, the second race of the 10-race series. In the women’s event, Alexis Ryan of L39ion of Los Angeles came to the race in the Selle Italia Leaders jersey. And while Denver Disruptors’ Erica Zavetta had green from the sprint competition, that team sat out Sunny King, meaning the jersey would change.
Like many Southern criteriums, Sunny King is a fast, four-corner course, with minimal elevation gain, in this case, 17 feet. Races tend to get down to business, and this one was no different.
An early crash upset the pace in the women’s race, but it soon wound back up with the first intermediate sprint, a sign that these women were here to race.
Kimberly Lucie of DNA Pro Cycling jumped around Rachel Plessing of ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK, throwing down her challenge to the green jersey ownership. Lucie would dominate this day, winning the first and second sprints and placing second in the final, giving her the green jersey going into Tulsa.
ACC leader Alexis Ryan was joined by her sister, national champion Kendall Ryan and Lizbeth Salazar. However, Alexis Ryan led the duo through the last corners, sacrificing her ACC lead for team goals. It was Salazar and Kendall Ryan who finished first and second, respectively. Alexis Ryan would finish 26th and outside of the ACC points for the day. However, this move ensured high placings for the two L39ion riders, with Salazar winning and Kendall Ryan placing second. Alexis Ryan lost the lead in the ACC standings but retained second place, with Salazar and Kendall Ryan third and fourth, respectively.
The Miami Nights and Andrea Cyr kept the ACC lead in their sites, with Cyr finishing fifth in the race and taking the Selle Italia Red jersey. She leads now by 55 points, a good margin, but eight races remain in the series. We’ll see DNA Pro Cycling in the red jersey hunt too, and if L39ion of Los Angeles keeps a consistent crew at ACC events, they are a threat to the overall lead, especially with three riders now well positioned.
- CYR, Andrea: Miami Nights 155
- RYAN, Alexis: L39ION of Los Angeles 100
- SALAZAR, Lizbeth: L39ION of Los Angeles 100
- RYAN, Kendall: L39ION of Los Angeles 90
- ZAVETA, Erica: Denver Disruptors 81
Women’s P/1/2 sprint
- LUCIE, Kimberly: DNA PRO CYCLING 45
- ZAVETA, Erica: Denver Disruptors 35
- PLESSING, Rachel: ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK 35
- KIRCHMANN, Leah: Denver Disruptors 15
- EBERHART, Verna: Miami Nights 15
But consistent attendance from both teams and riders is essential to success in a series. Missing one or two events can create a points deficit that is difficult to overcome.
And where the Miami Nights benefited from Alexis Ryan’s support of other riders, they suffered by not having Bryan Gomez in the men’s race. Having to return home to Colombia unexpectedly gave Danny Summerhill and American Cycling the opportunity they needed to take both the Selle Italia Leaders jersey and sprint green.
Summerhill, who finished fifth overall, got second in the first sprint and won the mid-race sprint, which offers the most points. Wearing green at the start gives him a significant lead in the Sprint competition. Summerhill’s fifth place was also enough to give him the lead in the series overall.
In the Sunny King’s Men’s race, Project Echelon joined the ACC and immediately impacted with aggressive attacks and efforts to keep the pace high. What is almost a signature of Sunny King, the Men’s race was a contest of attacks and counterattacks, with riders looking to burn off each other’s matches in a high-speed contest, where attrition becomes a factor.
Last year’s winner, Alfredo Rodriquez, looked like a sure win. But he miscalculated the finish and celebrated a tad too early, allowing Cade Bickmore of Project Echelon to pip him at the line to win the men’s race.
- SUMMERHILL, Danny: ACG 155
- RODRIGUEZ, Alfredo: Miami Nights 129
- GOMEZ, Bryan: Miami Nights 100
- BICKMORE, Cade: Project Echelon Racing 100
- ARTHUR, Fergus Texas Roadhouse Cycling p/b VQ Labs 84
Men’s P/1 sprint
- SUMMERHILL, Danny: ACG 55
- HARDIN, Will: Project Echelon Racing 25
- KALABA, Dusan: ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK 15
- MCQUIRK, Evan: ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK 15
- MAGNER, Ty: L39ION of Los Angeles 15
Sunny King Criterium Highlights
Race number three of the American Criterium Cup is the Blue Dome Criterium, the first race in the Saint Francis Tulsa Tough series, June 9th, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
You missed a good one if you didn’t see Sunny King live. But you can catch the replay righthere.