Exciting Final Minutes at Lansing’s Capital City Crit Gets Vanias a Spot on the Podium
August 13th, 2015 by Erin Lumbard
By OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors Elite Cyclist, Collin Snyder
Michigan crit racing was in for a treat as bike racers stormed the state’s capitol. This years Capitol City Criterium’s main attraction, the men’s Pro 1/2 was a rare but highly entertaining night time event, with the field lining up at 8:30 and racing wheel to wheel for an hour and a half. Team OAM NOW was well represented by Cory Stange, Dan Yankus, Alex Vanias, Collin Snyder and Terry Ritter who pulled doubled duty by racing the Masters race earlier in the evening.
The race started out fast and never let up until the end, averaging a solid 27 MPH. With the State Championship Jersey on the line, everyone was hungry to get something going. I started the evening with a hard attack early on, hoping that someone would jump with me to no prevail. At the very least, I wanted to set the score for the evening, stringing the field out to which I was very successful. After the opening few laps, teams took turns throwing guys out front, hoping something would stick. Within the first 10 minutes, there were a total of 4 different breakaway attempts all of which failed to get more than a handful of seconds.
With 50 minutes to go, I threw in a hard attack and managed to get some breathing room between the field and me. The likelihood of me staying away from the field solo is a solid zero percent, but sometimes moves like that can setup the next and potentially winning break. A Jack’s Cyclery rider bridged up to me and we worked desperately together for a few laps. When the inevitable catch was made, a counter attack instantly went with a handful of riders including OAM NOW’s Alex Vanias.
The field stayed strung out, frantic to bring back the break. The team raced great, staying towards the front and never let a strong chase effort form. The gap never reached more than 20 seconds but at the same time it was steady for the longest time. As the laps ticked by, it looked like the break might just stick. In the unfortunate event we did catch them, we were well position near the front to make a counter move.
As the race wound down, teams who didn’t make the break became desperate, and the firepower came out. The time gap started to move down and down, eventually getting to just six seconds. The determined break wouldn’t let up, and with OAM NOW and EPS racing at the front covering moves, it actually ticked back up to over 10 in a matter of just one lap, but the smell of a catch was too strong for the field. The chase effort intensified and with just 9 minutes to go, the deed was done.
However, that wasn’t the end of the night for all the break participants. Right before the catch was made, Alex Vanias threw in cheeky attack and put a big gap between him and the break. Bryce Nuiver of EPS Cycling and I saw this among the chaos. Bryce put in a hard bridge effort and I locked onto his wheel. Looking behind me, we never actually made a significant gap with the front of the group, so I made the decision to ease up and let Bryce go. All night I was ready to make the counter incase the break had failed, but with Alex having another go at it, it was my time to step back and let him do his thing. The two of them never got a huge gap on the field, but it was late enough in the race, it actually worked. Bryce would go on to win the sprint against Alex, clinching the state champion title.
With Alex second place and another top 10 for Cory, the team had a very successful night. The team raced as one, putting the team’s results before our own. With only two more crits left in 2015, there is a closing window to watch TEAM OAM NOW’s Elite squad do what they do best in person. If you can make it, come out and cheer us on to victory.
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