Winning Streak Continues at Gateway Cup as Men and Women Go 3-for-3
The third race of the Gateway Cup, the Giro Della Montagna, took place this afternoon in St. Louis, Missouri. The men’s and women’s criterium squads of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team lined up together, hoping to extend their 2-in-a-row winning streak in the 4-race series. Today’s race had extra importance to many of the contesting teams and riders as the last race of the 2014 USA Criterium Series and therefore the last chance to secure points.
The women began racing shortly after 4:00pm on the windy 4-turn course. The fast and wide-open route made a substantial breakaway difficult to accomplish. Several small groups and solo riders attempted to build a gap on the field throughout the first half of the race, but the field was still all together with 10 laps to go. The pace had increased significantly by the final 3 laps, with each new lap time faster than the last. The field was still all together, aside from riders exiting out the back due to the prolonged intensity. The riders entered the final lap still in a bunch, with UnitedHealthcare Blue Train riders taking turns pulling for Coryn Rivera, the race winner for the previous two days. Hannah Barnes was the last rider sheltering Rivera and led her through the final turn in great position. 22-year-old sprinting prodigy Coryn Rivera jumped out of the corner and held the lead through the line, securing her third victory in a row for the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. After leading Rivera out for the win, Hannah Barnes managed to finish 3rd out of the bunch and joined her teammate on the podium.
After pausing to enjoy the exciting racing action from the Gateway Cup children’s field, the men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team lined up to race, inspired to match the previous success of their teammates in the women’s race. The 70 minutes of racing started with a punch as several attacks launched immediately following the whistle. As witnessed in the women’s race; the fast, windy course and high stakes caused an especially attentive field, careful not to let any dangerous breakaways form. With 20 laps remaining, two riders managed to build an advantage of a few seconds, drawing the heightened attention of the main field. With 10 laps to go, the men of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team began to organize at the front of the field, keeping an eye on the dangling breakaway. The field was closing in on the two breakaway riders as the race entered the last 3 laps, capturing one of them by the second-to-last lap. The race was reset with one lap remaining as the final breakaway rider was passed by the field. The UnitedHealthcare Blue Train went single file on the front of the field for the last lap, bringing Ken Hanson and Luke Keough around the final turn for the sprint. Ken Hanson crossed the line first, repeating last night’s victory, with Luke Keough taking 2nd place on the podium. The team will look to continue the winning streak in the fourth and final race of the Gateway Cup- tomorrow’s Benton Park Classic.