Women's scratch race podium (l to r): Beth Newell, Tela Crane and Kim Geist. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
Rock Hill, S.C. (August 17, 2014) -- Tela Crane(Sammamish, Wash./Broadmark Capital) considers herself to be a mix of sprinter and endurance racer at this point in time but, whatever the combination of prowess, it was enough to be crowned national champion in Sunday's women's scratch race as competition wrapped up at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C.
A year after winning national titles in the keirin, Madison and sprint, the 27-year-old Crane reached the podium in three additional events while also narrowly missing out on defending her title in the keirin. This week's tally in Rock Hill includes gold in the scratch and team pursuit, silver in the keirin and bronze in the elimination race as she makes the transition from pure sprinter to endurance racer.
"I kind of feel like I'm a hybrid right now," said Crane. "I'm not a pure endurance rider because I was definitely suffering in that scratch race. The breakaway was pretty hard for me, but I do still have some sprint. Came up a little short in the keirin yesterday, but I was pretty happy to win the scratch race today."
Crane was in a five-rider break along with Beth Newell (Oakland, Calif./JAKROO Racing Team), Colleen Hayduk (Kutztown, Pa./Fearless Femme p/b Pure Energy Cycling-Vie 13), Kim Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Team Alliance Environmental) and Kimberly Ann Zubris (Alburtis, Pa./Peanut Butter & Co Human Zoom) that pulled away from the field with 15 laps to go in the 10-kilometer race. When the break was reeled in by the pack with three laps to go, Crane knew she could fall back on her sprinter's legs in the final lap.
"When I was sticking with the breakaway I knew I just had to stay there. We got caught with a little over a lap to go and I knew of anyone in the group that I hopefully had the best shot at it so I just needed to be a little bit patient and open it up when I needed to and it worked out."
Open it up she did as Crane came around Geist in the final straightaway to take the win. Newell also nipped Geist at the line to take the silver medal as Geist settled for the bronze.
Bobby Lea wins the scratch race for his fifth gold medal of the week. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
The men's scratch race also came down to a sprint at the end of the 15-kilometer race and it was multi-time national champion Bobby Lea(Mertztown, Pa./Custom Velo) claiming yet another title ahead of Zachary Kovalcik (Portland, Ore./Black Lodge Cycling) and James Alvord (Allentown, Pa.). Points race champion Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Bissell Development Cycling) appeared to sneak into the silver-medal position at the finish, but officials relegated him in the field for riding on the blue band.
For Lea, it capped off another dominating week for the two-time Olympian and now 23-time national champion. The week's haul included gold medals in the omnium, individual pursuit, elimination race, Madison and scratch, as well as a silver medal in the points race.
In the men's team sprint, the trio of Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa./Custom Velo), David Espinoza (Wellington, Fla.) and Danny Robertson (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) tuned up for next month's Pan American Track Championships by riding away with the gold medal. The team of Garrett Hankins (Carmichael, Calif./VuMedi Elite Cycling Team p/b Hammer Nut), Eric Geier (La Jolla, Calif./SDBC-Emerald Textiles) and Tony Cordova (Mercer Island, Wash./Fischer Plumbing Cycling Team) took the silver medal while the squad of Alvord, Andrew Carlberg (Seattle, Wash./Broadmark Capital) and Jonathan Fraley (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Cerious Speed Serenity) earned the bronze medal.
The women's team sprint final proved to be much closer as Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa./Team Novo Nordisk Women) and Shelby Walter (Los Angeles, Calif./Ritte Van Vlaanderen) edged the duo of Missy Erickson (San Pedro, Calif./Momentum Coaching Group) and Alissa Maglaty (Redondo Beach, Calif./Momentum Coaching Group) by four one-hundreths of a second. Anissa Cobb (Portland, Ore./Predator Cycling) and Dana Feiss(Telford, Pa./Team Alliance Environmental) teamed up to win the bronze medal.