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CINCINNATI (VN) — Jamis-Sutter Home’s Jamie Driscoll defended his 2011 Hyde Park Blast title on June 30 in one of the hardest-fought races of the USA CRITS season.
Driscoll was part of an 11-man breakaway that took advantage of the uniquely shaped course and put itself in position to lap the field. But with only 30 minutes of racing left, the Jamis-Sutter Home rider attacked his companions and became the only man to bridge to the bunch.
The group that Driscoll left behind included Frank Travieso (Team Coco’s), Chris Uberti (Panther-Competitive Cyclist), Travis Livermon (Team Mountain Khakis-SmartStop), Emile Abraham (Rosetti Devo), Adam Farabaugh (XO Communications-CISCO), Andrew Crater (Cleveland Clinic Sports Health), Gavriel Epstein (Champion System-Stan’s No Tubes), John Simes (Jamis-Sutter Home), Ryan Sullivan (United Healthcare of Georgia-The 706 project), and Demis Aleman.
It was an ideal situation for Driscoll. With Simes still in the break and no longer contributing to the pursuit of the field, his chances at a victory would improve with every lap just so long as no one else was able to make the same leap into the back of the pack.
For Abraham, who was chasing additional series points to move up into third overall in the series, the motivation to lap the field was very high.
“I had Diego Garavito in the front with me, and he was working very hard to make sure the break stayed away because I was the only GC rider in the (group). So it was very important for me to stay there in that group to gain points that I needed to move up onto the podium.”
Before Driscoll changed the dynamics of the race, a sizable crash in the pack took down series leader Oscar Clark (United Healthcare of Georgia) and the man right behind him in the overall, Luke Keough (Mountain Khakis).
“I ended up hitting someone on the ground and just slammed my wrist. I figured it was broken right away.” Keough said. “It was hard to get back on the bike but I figured I traveled out here to race, so might as well ride.”
Keough soldiered on despite being barely able to hang onto his brake levers for the remainder of the event.
Driscoll and the rest of Jamis-Sutter Home drilled it at the front of the field, fending off all the firepower behind them. At one point the break came within eight seconds of latching onto the main group, but that was as close as it would ever get. Driscoll sailed safely across the line to take the victory in front of the 20,000-strong crowd in Cincinnati.
Keough, who was able to keep upright despite being in obvious pain, outpaced Clark and moved into the orange series leader’s jersey with a 5-point margin. The question now is whether he’ll be able to fend off Clark during the July 7 Iron Hill Twilight Criterium, the next stop on the USA CRITS calendar.
“Taking the overall was a surprise because after the crash I was just trying to finish.” Keough said following a trip to the hospital. “Going into next weekend I will have to tough it out and see if I can hold on the bars and the lead.”
“Last year I came into Iron Hill just days after getting hit by a car. I raced with a separated shoulder, so I guess this year’s race is going to be another hard one for me.”