News Roundup: Vermeulen’s first pro win; Aqua Blue blasts ATOC

Alexey Vermeulen takes his first pro win in Morocco and the overall race lead. Aqua Blue upset to miss out on California.

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Here’s your News Roundup for Tuesday, April 10. This is our way of keeping you up to speed on all of the stories circulating in the world of pro cycling. Stay tuned for more as the season heats up!

American Vermeulen takes first pro win in Morocco

As you may recall, Alexey Vermeulen was left scrambling for a team after LottoNL-Jumbo decided not to renew his contract for 2018. He ended up with Continental team Interpro Stradalli and now finds himself in the overall lead at Tour of Morocco with his first pro victory in hand.

Things started looking good for Vermeulen on stage 2 when he finished second to Frenchman Louis Pijourlet. After sitting second overall the next day, a sprint stage, the Michigander attacked Monday’s stage 4 and won out of a group of four riders to take the overall lead. He held the GC lead after stage 5, another sprint finish, which Jakob Mareczko (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia) won. The 10-stage race finishes April 15 in Casablanca.

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Aqua Blue founder Rick Delaney blasts Amgen Tour of California

After the Amgen Tour of California confirmed 2018 team invitations Thursday, Aqua Blue Sport team founder Rick Delaney took to Twitter to express his frustration, and he did not mince words.

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U.S. champion Larry Warbasse has ridden for the Irish team since the IAM Cycling team folded at the end of 2016. During that time, he collected two major pro victories: a stage win at Tour de Suisse and the U.S. Pro road championship title.

Things got worse on Tuesday, however, as Delaney expressed dismay at being excluded from the grand tours as well. His tweet implies that the team’s future may be in jeopardy. “No races means no traffic to our site, which means no sales & therefore no funding for our team,” he wrote.

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Olympic champion rower makes waves in Commonwealth Games TT

A New Zealander who won two Olympic gold medals in a glittering rowing career grabbed Commonwealth Games bronze in cycling on Tuesday, less than two years after switching sports.

Hamish Bond, who formed one of the great rowing partnerships with Eric Murray, was just over two seconds off the silver medal in the time trial — but was still kicking himself for not going faster.

“Now I look back at all the margins and think, ‘What if?’ but from now I just reassess what more I can do and where to next,” he told AFP. “I’m pleased with my execution. There are still things I could improve on. I’ll discuss this with the people who have helped me along the way.”

Despite his slight frustration, it remained a phenomenal achievement for Bond, 32, who has already won the highest accolades rowing has to offer.

Bond and Murray won Olympic gold in the coxless pairs in London 2012 and Rio 2016, and from 2009 to 2013 they went five years unbeaten.

“Life’s about taking on challenges. You don’t know what you’ve got until you get out there,” said Bond, when asked about his decision to take up cycling. “I think I’m in a pretty good place but there’s always things you can do better.”

Australia’s Cameron Meyer took gold and silver went to English rider Harry Tanfield, whose brother Charlie won pursuit gold and silver in the track cycling competition.

Holowesko dominates men’s Sunny King crit; Williams wins women’s race

Sunny King Criterium
Holowesko-Citadel swept the men’s podium at Sunny King. Photo: Jim Deese

Rain, wind, and unseasonably low temperatures are not typical springtime conditions in the deep south, but Lily Williams (Hagens Berman-Supermint) and Bryan Gomez (Holowesko-Citadel) prevailed to win the 16th Sunny King Criterium Saturday in Anniston, Alabama.

Williams out-sprinted Lauretta Hanson (UnitedHealthcare) and Harriet Owen (The Meteor-Intelligentsia) after the trio broke away halfway through the hour-long women’s pro race.

“I’m really excited. It’s only my second PRT victory,” said Williams. “I started racing last spring, so it definitely affirms that I belong here. I’m really pleased how it went tonight. I definitely did not expect to win.”

Hanson, who initiated the breakaway ended up second ahead of Owen.

Sunny King
Lily Williams won the Sunny King Criterium out of a three-person breakaway. Photo: Jim Deese

In the men’s race, Holowesko-Citadel sent Gomez and his teammate Brendan Rhim off the front to eventually lap the field and go one-two in the men’s pro race. Ruben Campanioni would finish third in the field sprint to make it a Holowesko-Citadel sweep.

“I think the wet road made it easier to be in the breakaway. It was pretty cold. The weather made it hard,” said Gomez, a 23-year-old Colombian who moved up to the UCI Pro Continental team this year. “I’m pretty happy with how my team worked today. We came with a plan of winning the race. I just went, you know, I didn’t know I was going to make it to the end, but sometimes you find your legs. I just kept going, and going.”

Sunny King was the first race of the 20-event calendar for USA Cycling’s Professional Road Tour.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.