The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Hilton Clarke (AUS) and Jake Keough (USA) captured 1st and 3rd place respectively in the 9th Annual Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium, Saturday night, April 14, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Team Jamis Sutter Home’s Alejandro Borrajo (ARG) split the two Team UnitedHealthcare sprinters to finish second. Clarke’s win was his second of the season and the victory allows him to remain atop the National Criterium Calendar’s (NCC) individual standings. The Team is also in first place in the USA Cycling Team standings.
Clarke secured the Team’s first win of the season two weeks ago on March 31 in Tampa at the 2012 Cigar City Brewing Criterium & Street Festival, beating Luis Amaran (Jamis Sutter Home) and Amaran’s teammate, Kyle Wamsley, who took third in the first race of the NCC. Wamsley put forth yet another valiant effort in Charlotte, but the five man squad from UnitedHealthcare consisting of Clarke, Adrian Hegyvary (USA), Jay Thomson (RSA), Karl Menzies (AUS), and last year’s Presbyterian Crit winner, Jake Keough (USA), proved to be too much for the field. The boys in blue and white put forth a mammoth effort in the final laps to reel in the leaders and their well-executed lead out paved the way for Clarke and Keough to take spots one and three on the podium.
Pleased with the results, General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, stated, “Charlotte is stage one of an important weekend of back-to-back racing in the US for us. The guys will leave Charlotte and fly straight to Battenkill where they will race shortly after landing in upstate New York.”
Tamayo continued, “I’ve been a director with this group for many years and I’ve seen them put together a great lead out, but tonight I wasn’t so sure about the distance from where they took over the front. I thought it may have been too far from the finish, but they showed me and everyone else just how strong they are and pulled off an amazing ride and a great win.”
“These guys are just so unselfish. Jake, Adrian, Jay and Karl were all selfless in devoting the entire race to make sure they could sprint for Hilton. Menzies really does the job of 10 men (hence the nickname, 10 Menzies). Jake won this race last year and selflessly focused on helping Hilton win it this year – and he still landed on the podium. It is great to have such incredible talent working together to race and win for one another,” Tamayo concluded.
The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium is part of USA Cycling’s National Criterium Calendar (NCC) as well as USA CRITS national series, and boasts one of the most lucrative prize purses. This year’s edition saw the elite men roar through the streets of downtown Charlotte’s 1.3 mile closed barbell shaped course at a lightning fast pace, amidst the backdrop of a crowd that was nothing short of electric. The race is the chief fundraising event for the Brain Tumor Fund for the Carolinas, and has raised nearly $5 million for charity over the years.