Crit Chronicles, Episode 8: Team Continues Winning Streak at Gastown Grand Prix
The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team criterium squad is on an impressive winning streak after back-to-back wins at Tulsa Tough, Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, and now the second straight win since arriving in Canada for the British Columbia Superweek. Wednesday’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix was a major objective for the squad, so riders Adrian Hegyvary and Brad White were tasked with covering attacks from the exceptionally strong and aggressive field of competitors. With previous Gastown winners Ken Hanson and Hilton Clarke on the UnitedHealthcare squad, along with the previous day’s UBC Grand Prix winner Luke Keough, the team aimed to do all in their power to facilitate a bunch sprint in the finale.
With the incentive of intermediate lap primes, several strong groups formed throughout the race, with the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train making an effort to be represented in each. A solo rider escaped the field with 30 laps to go, forcing the team to assemble on the front and devote their strength to bringing him back. With 10 laps remaining, the team lifted the pace to regain the lead from the solo attacker. More enticing primes in the final laps lead to a tremendously aggressive end of the race, with the solo rider being caught amidst several counterattacks and regroupings. Karl Menzies delivered three teammates around the final corner in the lead, initiating the long, rough, uphill sprint for the finish. A strong challenge from competitor Ryan Anderson had Luke Keough engaged in an all-out drag race from the final corner through the line. The result was a photo finish with UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team rider Luke Keough taking the victory and teammate Ken Hanson earning third. Race winner Luke Keough expressed his gratitude for the hard work of his teammates, “Tonight was a great race. It was a fast race with a long sprint but with the way the team rode for me there was only one thing I could do… win!” The racing continues this evening in east Vancouver with the Giro di Burnaby.