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The U.S. national criterium champion Danny Estevez came over the top of the seemingly unbeatable L39ion of Los Angeles train to win the seventh round of the USA CRITS series in Spartanburg, Virginia on Friday night.
In in the women’s race, Skylar Schneider simply rode away from a breakaway to take a blowout solo win.
The Skylar show
Schneider returned to USA CRITS after skipping the last round, and the L39ion of Los Angeles ace wasted no time in putting on a display of power. An early crash stacked up the field and forced a restart, and upon the restart Schneider immediately sprinted to the first corner and strung out the field, her teammate Kendall Ryan one wheel back.
At the race’s midpoint, Schneider jumped into a five-woman breakaway. It quickly became apparent that no one could match her pace. A few times she would sit up after accidentally distancing her breakmates through corners. Then, one rider came off the pace. Then another. Soon Schneider just put her head down and went it alone, riding more than 15 laps solo to a commanding victory.
When the field came through about 15 second later, it was Ryan taking the field sprint for second and a L39ion 1-2, with DNA’s Maggie Coles-Lyster in third.
Rachel Langdon (InstaFund Racing) is the overall USA CRITS leader with three races remaining.
U.S. champ takes a USA CRITS win
For most of the men’s race, it was the standard L39ion-dominance story, with the gentlemen in blue and orange acting as engines for the USA CRITS train. There were a few breakaway attempts in the race of approximately 70 laps, but none got more than a handful of seconds.
Spencer Moavenzadeh (ButcherBox) had perhaps the most time off the front with a solo flyer. He dangled alone in front of the L39ion train for about 10 laps.
In the closing laps, a crash split the field at five to go.
At two laps to go, L39ion still had everything firmly in control, with Alec Cowen on the front followed by Tyler Williams, Tyler Magner, Cory Williams, and Justin Williams.
On the final lap, however, Danny Summerhill (Best Buddies) came over the top of the L39ion train with Estevez on the wheel.
With a bit of an uphill finish out of the final corner, Estevez powered to the win, followed by Thomas Gibbons (Automatic Racing) and Tyler Williams (L39ion).
“The whole race I tried to save energy,” Estevez said. “With a couple laps to go I knew L39ion might set it up for Ty [Magner]. So on the backstretch Ty went, and I got on his wheel, and I finished it off.”
An emotional Estevez dedicated his win to his late cousin, and was quick to thank his teammates and his family.
“I am a dad with three kids, and I sacrificed so much to come back to this sport,” he said. “So I hope my wife is happy. These guys rode amazing tonight.”
Gibbons leads the USA CRITS headed into the final three races.
Athens up next Saturday night
USA CRITS resumes tomorrow in Georgia with the legendary Athens Twilight Criterium. Watch the action live here, with the women’s D1/pro race kicking off at 7 p.m. and men’s D1/pro race at 8:15 p.m. EDT.