The men's elimination race podium (l to r): Kent Ross, Bobby Lea and Jackie Simes. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
Rock Hill, S.C. (August 14, 2014) -- Bobby Lea(Mertztown, Pa./Custom Velo) continued to rack up the national titles, adding his 20th and 21st Stars-and-Stripes jerseys to his collection at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships at the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, S.C. The two-time Olympian dominated the competition in both the individual pursuit and elimination races on Thursday.
Paired up against a familiar foe in Liam Donoghue (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) in the men's 4k individual pursuit final, and with the elimination final starting soon thereafter, Lea made quick work by catching Donoghue and ending the race early. A change of bikes a few minutes later, and Lea was off against 15 other riders in the elimination final. That race came down to Lea and Kent Ross (Portland, Ore./PDX Devo Junior Cycling Team) left on the track, but Lea kicked it into another gear as he soloed away over the final two laps for the win.
"Looking at the schedule it was a little bit of a tough choice to try and sign up for that one (elimination race) because we seemed to have about 10 minutes in between, but it was a fun event so I decided to go for it," said Lea. "In the pursuit finals, I was paired up against Liam Donoghue, the third consecutive year, actually, that we've ridden off together. So it was beginning to feel a little bit like Groundhog Day. But that one worked out all right for me, I took the win there then swapped bikes really quickly, got on the line, caught my breath and away we go for the elimination."
Lea has three more events this week to try and add to his total of national titles: the points race, Madison and scratch race.
Zachary Carlson (Plano, Texas/Matrix Cycling Club) defeated Stefan Rothe (Austin, Texas) for the bronze medal in the individual pursuit, while Lea's teammate, Jackie Simes (Alburtis, Pa./CustomVelo), took the bronze in the elimination race.
Erica Allar (r) edges Colleen Hayduk to win the elimination race final at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
In the women's elimination race, Erica Allar (Tuscon, Ariz./Colavita-Fine Cooking) outlasted the eight-woman field for the win. She led out the final lap to defeat Colleen Hayduk (Kutztown, Pa./Fearless Femme p/b Vie 13) for the title.
"You definitely want to be at the front," Allar commented. "Even though it's a small field, you can probably ride at the back and get a little bit lucky in the sense of not getting caught behind too many people, but I don't like being back there. It's a personal preference to be toward the front and just maintain good position and try not to get boxed in underneath. I got back down to the top two going into the last lap, tried to ride it tactically smart and hopefully win, which I did."
Tela Crane (Sammamish, Wash./Lake Washington Velo) claimed the bronze medal in the women's elimination race after Colleen Gulick (Spring City, Pa./Riptide Cycling) was relegated from third place after an in-race infraction.
Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Team Alliance Environmental) ended the women's 3-kilometer pursuit final early after catching her teammate Julia Lonchar (Philadelphia, Pa.). Bailey Semian (Mertztown, Pa./Team TIBCO II) defeated Melissa Tabas (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the bronze-medal race to round out the podium.
The sprint semifinals were also held Thursday evening. Defending champion Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa./CustomVelo) defeated David Espinoza (Wellington, Fla.) in two straight races, and Aaron Kacala (Manitou Springs, Colo) did the same with Danny Robertson (Rolling Meadows, Ill./CustomVelo) to set up Friday night's men's final.
The women's sprint final will feature defending silver medalist Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa./Team Novo Nordisk) against Missy Erickson (San Pedro, Calif./Momentum Coaching Group) after both riders won two straight semifinal races. Marquardt defeated Shelby Walter (Los Angeles, Calif./Ritte Van Vlaanderen) and Erickson beat defending bronze medalist Dana Feiss (Telford, Pa./Chester County Cycling).
Friday will be the fourth day of the six-day event, with finals in the sprint, points race and team pursuit.