Coming out of the final corner of the I’On Village Ciriterium, Global Bike rider Ben Renkema had nothing but open road in front of him. By the time he crossed the finish line his winning gap was wide enough to allow him the luxury of coasting while posting up the victory salute.
Held under ideal sunny conditions the course wound through the combination of narrow streets, one round-a-bout and a cobblestone corner. Not an extremely technical course, but enough to keep the peloton on their toes.
About halfway through the men’s Pro 1/ 2 race, Tom Smith of Team ACE made a solo effort. At one point Smith held a 30 second gap. However, at the front of the chasing peloton was the green kitted Global Bike team. With four laps remaining the steady tempo of the boys in green gradually reeled in Smith.
In those remaining laps counter attacks and surges went with race winner Renkema bridging up to a potentially dangerous break.
“I bridged to the move and when they saw me they looked at me and sat up,” said Renkema.
With one lap to go the field was together with Renkema’s teammate Boyd Johnson leading the group, steadily ramping up the pace. As the Global Bike riders peeled off the front one by one it was up to Renkema to seal the deal.
“They made it easy for me. I maybe sprinted ten pedal strokes.”
The woman’s open race was a small but strong field. A crash on the backside of the course was serious enough to have the race neutralized to allow for an ambulance to enter and attend to the injured. Finally when the race was re-started it was ex-pro Rebecca Larson taking a solo flyer and easily took the win. The battle for the lower placing was more hard fought as Christina Dekray nipped Nicole Johnson for second place.
Tomorrow is the South Carolina criterium state championships held at Hampton Park. In contrast to today’s I’On Village criterium, tomorrow’s course is a non-technical course with wide sweeping turns. Look for a rider with a strong finishing kick to take the win.
Carolina Cycling News will have a full report from tomorrow’s criterium championships.