The University of Arizona Wildcats widened their team’s lead over ASU to 158 points last weekend at the 505 Cycling Classic Omnium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while UA riders Cara O’Neill and Adam Bryfogle continued their hold on conference leaders’ jerseys.
Northern Arizona University and New Mexico State University still rank third and fourth in team standings, respectively. The race set up UA to secure the conference championship in team and individual standings going into Javelina Chase in Duncan, Arizona on Saturday.
“Last weekend was tough competition against Colorado Mesa University and the [windy] conditions made it excellent training for nationals,” said UA team president Joey Iuliano. “We have a commanding lead going into the championships, so we’re confident that we’ll win the title.”
Southwest Collegiate Cycling Conference riders were once again challenged by out-of-conference Colorado rivals from varsity team Colorado Mesa University. They made the trek from Grand Junction, Colorado and displaced points within the southwest conference and offered some stiff competition within the Men’s and Women’s A fields.
“It’s great to have competition from the varsity teams,” Iuliano said. “It makes us stronger.”
Team time trial
A chilly and flat 20 km team time trial on Saturday morning offered collegiate teams one last chance to fine-tune TTT tactics before competing at nationals.
Although UA had the fastest times for both men and women, CMU dominated across A fields, displacing points from both UA and ASU.
UA and NMSU shared victories in Men’s B and C categories.
Following the TTT, teams headed over to the Sandia Raceway for a windy crit that whipped around the banked corners of a race car track.
Once again, CMU riders dominated the fields by sweeping the Men’s A and B podiums, with Mauro Rato and Herman Larsson on top.
The Women’s A victory was captured by CMU’s Emelie Persson, while UA was close behind in placings, and Nicholas Seeber (UA) won the Men’s C.
On Sunday, winds of up to 25 mph caused race directors to shorten courses for all categories by 10 to 20 miles.
The infamous Heartbreak Hill claimed more than a few DNFs, but collegiate riders suffered through and conquered the course, even in more heartbreaking conditions.
CMU continued to show power as they swept the Men’s A and B podiums, and Luise Ollick climbed her way to the top of the Women’s A podium, followed closely by UA’s O’Neill. Seeber (UA) took a second victory for the weekend in the Men’s C.
Next weekend collegiate riders will compete for double points at the conference championships in Duncan, and it will be the last weekend for conference racing before nationals in Grand Junction.