NCC: Keough and Kirchmann grab early leads in NCC standings
The USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) began its second season on Saturday in fine fashion with the Old Pueblo Grand Prix in Tucson, Ariz. Clouds and occasional showers earlier in the day yielded to a spectacular night of racing. Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./UnitedHealthcare) and Leah Kirchmann (CAN/Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) found their way to the tops of the podiums.
The riders from UnitedHealthcare chased down a four-rider breakaway with three laps remaining in the race to set up Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./UnitedHealthcare) to sprint to victory and 100 standings points. Demis Aleman (ARG/Jamis-Hagens Berman), who finished second in the race, trails Keough in the NCC men's standings by 25 points. Rahsaan Bahati (Los Angeles, Calif./Bahati Foundation-CA) is in third place with 60 points while Keough's teammate Hilton Clarke (Santa Monica, Calif.) is in fourth place with 55 points. Shane Kline (Bally, Pa./Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis) is in fifth place with 50 points.
Leah Kirchmann (CAN/Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) repeated as the women's winner of the Old Pueblo Grand Prix. After winning in a sprint in 2012, Kirchmann left no room for debate as she nearly lapped the 41-rider field in 2013. Kirchmann leads the NCC women's standings with 100 points, 25 points ahead of the 2012 women's standings leader Erica Allar (Tucson, Ariz./CARE4CYCLING p/b Solomon). Joanie Caron (CAN/Primal Pro Women p/b BH) is in third place with 60 points, five points ahead of Lauren Hall (Dolores, Colo./Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Exergy TWENTY16) rounds out the top five with 50 points.
After placing a pair of riders in the top five of Saturday's race, UnitedHealthcare has jumped to an early lead in the NCC men's team standings. UnitedHealthcare earned 155 points and holds a 61-point cushion over second-place Jamis-Hagens Berman. Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes sits in third place with 66 points while Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis is 16 points behind in fourth place. Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rounds out the top five with 47 points.
Powered by a pair of riders in the top five of Saturday's race, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies holds the initial lead in the NCC women's team standings with 172 points. CARE4CYCLING powered by Solomon is 43 points behind in second place while Primal Pro Women p/b BH is in third place with 88 points. Exergy TWENTY16 is close behind with 85 points while Team Novo Nordisk is in fifth place with 30 points.
Check out a photo gallery from the race.
USA Cycling NCC Standings:
Men's Team Standings
Women's Team Standings
For complete standings, visit the NCC's official webpage at usacycling.org/ncc.
The NCC continues next Saturday, March 16 as the men will contest the Cigar City Brewing Criterium in Tampa, Fla. The women join the men to compete in the Delray Beach Twilight Festival in Delray Beach, Fla., on Saturday, March 23.
- Updates made to 2013 NRC and NCC, points tables released - Jan 28, 2013
- National Criterium Calendar starts second year on March 9 - Mar 01, 2013
This Article Updated March 11, 2013 @ 08:57 PM For more information contact: