Saturday’s South Carolina state road race championships finish ended in controversy. Justin Lowe, one of seven surviving racers crossed the finish line first. However, the moto official relegated Lowe for crossing the center line in order to advance his position in the field. Although his fellow racers defended Lowe the officials stuck to the letter of the law. The Hincapie Development rider was relegated to fourth place and second place Boyd Johnson of Team Globalbike advanced to first, making him the new South Carolina state champion.
Before the finish line drama the racers had to face not only 90 miles of rolling terrain but also heat and windy conditions. Making a guest appearance at the race was Kelly Benefits riders Alex Candelario and Daniel Bowman. With the US Pro road race the following day, the Kelly Benefit riders were looking to blow some of the cobwebs out – and that’s exactly what they did.
The first two laps Candelario and Bowman hit it hard shattering the field. Then on the third lap the duo quit the race in order to save some matches for the US Pro road race (Candelario won the field sprint and was second overall).
From that point on the race one of attrition with riders falling off the back of the peloton.
Boyd Johnson tried a solo break away, but the conditions of the day took it’s toll.
“I tried to go solo from 30 miles to go and then realized I’m not Cancellara. I was cramping like crazy on the last lap but managed to ride.”
With seven riders remaining and only miles from the finish it was obvious that the state champion was going to come from this exhausted group. As the remaining riders made the left hand turn onto the narrow finish line road, which also signifies one kilometer remaining, Lowe crossed the center line which would lead to his relegation.
There was a brief lull in the action as the riders were looking at each other seeing who would jump first. At 600 meters to go Lowe took advantage the cat and mouse situation and jumped. “I barely held it,” said Lowe. Unfortunately Lowe’s excitement of winning his first road race was short lived.
Regarding Lowe’s regation to fourth Johnson was showed how he was a true sportsman by giving Lowe both his first place medal and state champion’s jersey.
“Justin got relegated, but he deserved the victory.”
1 Boyd Johnson Team Globalbike
2 Parker McConville Triangle Velo
3 Brian Hill Unattached
4 Justin Lowe Hincapie Devo Team
5 Bruce Humphries Colavita Racing
6 R Maitland Jones Fiets Met Slagroom
7 E. Julian Cabra DeMaine Cycling Team