Professional Criterium National Championships reach High Point


Colorado Springs, Colo. (July 25, 2013) – The 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships, which will be streamed live online, will be in downtown High Point, N.C. on Saturday, July 27.

The 2012 Pro Criterium Nationals podium
Ken Hanson topped the professional men's podium in 2012 in Grand Rapids.

For the first time since 2010, the professional women’s criterium national title will be awarded in conjunction with the professional men’s national title. As the centerpiece of the High Point Cycling Classic, the professional criterium national championships will feature equal prize money for the men and women for the first time in the history of the event. Each race features a $10,000 prize purse, with payouts going to the top 20 riders.

The women’s national championship race is slated to begin at 4:50 p.m. and be 90 minutes long. The men’s race will begin at 6:40 p.m. and be 110 minutes long.

The eight-corner, downtown course with a small hill on the backside will spread the field out quickly and the wide corners will allow riders some flexibility going around them. The start/finish line is unique because it is under the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal, giving riders and spectators alike a faster feel while guaranteeing a dry section of the course in the event of rain.

Among the riders expected to compete in Saturday’s race are the last two professional criterium national champions. Ken Hanson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), who topped the men’s podium in Grand Rapids last year, will race alongside Eric Young (Boulder, Colo./Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), who won the race in 2011. Among the riders vying to dethrone Hanson is Luke Keough (Sandwich, Mass./UnitedHealthcare), who is the top-ranked American in the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) men’s standings. Also slated to compete in the men’s race are Luke’s brother and teammate, Jacob Keough (Sandwich, Mass.), who finished third in the 2012 NCC men’s standings. The second-ranked American in this year’s NCC men’s standings, Shane Kline (Bally, Pa./Team SmartStop-Mountain Khakis), will compete for the Stars-and-Stripes jersey, as well. Also expected to toe the line in High Point is the winner and third-place riders in the professional men’s road race at the 2013 Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships, Freddie Rodriguez (Berkeley, Calif./Jelly Belly Pro Cycling) and Kiel Reijnen (Boulder, Colo./UnitedHealthcare).

Theresa Cliff-Ryan narrowly beats Lauren Hall in the elite women's race
Theresa Cliff-Ryan narrowly beats Lauren Hall in the elite women's race. (Photo by Jonathan Devich)

On the women’s side, the defending national champion, Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Vie13), will be tough competition. Cliff-Ryan is currently third in the NCC women’s standings after topping the omnium at the Intelligentsia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series in Chicago. In fact, the top eight American women in the NCC women’s standings are slated to compete in North Carolina. After topping the 2012 NCC women’s standings, Erica Allar (Tucson, Ariz./CARE4CYCLING powered by Solomon Corp) has once again put together a stellar season and is poised to win this year’s rankings. Laura van Gilder (Cresco, Pa./Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers) is in second place in the standings and will be a factor in the race. Samantha Schneider (Milwaukee, Wis./Team TIBCO-To the Top), Jennifer Purcell (Austin, Texas/Colavita-Fine Cooking), Christina Gokey-Smith (Denton, Texas/ Rouse/Oogie Racing), Lauren Stephens (Dallas, Texas/ FCS|Cycling: p/b Zngine Mr. Restore) and Jessica Prinner (South Elgin, Ill./ CARE4CYCLING powered by Solomon) are all in the top nine of the NCC women’s standings.

In addition to the race, there are plenty of activities in downtown High Point to make the event memorable for the entire family. On Saturday, there will be a Bobby Labonte Kids Zone from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., where there will be sidewalk chalk art, face painting, bounce houses and an opportunity to race on the course with the pros from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. for kids ages 3-12.

There will also be a pair of free concerts. The bluegrass band from Chapel Hill, N.C., MIPSO will play on Friday from 6:30-10 p.m. under the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal. On Saturday night, Sol Fusion is slated to play from 8:30-11 p.m. adjacent to the Mendenhall Transportation Terminal .

Also on Saturday, before the professional national championship races, there will be two United Way Charity Bike Races called Ride United. The charity ride, which benefits the United Way and its 29 partner agencies, begins at 8 a.m. and encourages participants of all ages to ride, walk or stroll the same course that will be used by the pros later in the day. The second charity ride is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. and will be faster paced. Registration for the charity rides is $30 and includes a T-shirt.

Exhibitions of the latest custom-made bicycles, creative bicycle-themed art and engaging bike-related discussions and movies will be among the many activities at the Bicycle: Art Meets Form celebration. The 5 Leading Lights display, located in the Theatre Arts Galleries (TAG) of the High Point Theatre at the Mendenhall Transportation Center will feature the work and personnel appearances of five of the world’s leading custom bicycle builders: Nick Crumpton, Mark DiNucci, Dario Pegoretti, Dave Wages, and Peter Weigle. There also will be an extensive display of vintage bicycles by exhibitors from across the country at the High Point Plaza Hotel. The High Point Theatre also has a full schedule of movies and a conference featuring cycling experts and authors throughout the day on Saturday.

For complete details on this event, including a complete schedule, results, course maps and a photo gallery, please visit the event web site. If you can’t make it out for the event, follow all of the action on Twitter using the hashtag #CritNats.

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This Article Updated July 30, 2013 @ 05:00 PM For more information contact: