August 23, 2004 – The 2004 USPRO Criterium National Championships was held late yesterday afternoon on the eight-corner, figure-eight course through the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove. A total of 105 racers from every U.S. team took to the line for 62-laps of racing in this 100K event. With bright, sunny skies and a temperature in the low 80’s (F), the conditions were nearly perfect for this staple of the American racing circuit.
With lots of horsepower and speed in the field, the racing action was fast and highly aggressive throughout. No one team seemed interested in trying to control the action, but they each kept up the aggression and chased when necessary to ensure that their chances for victory remained as good as possible. Substantial breakaways rarely succeed on this course, but it’s never due to apathy. Several riders even tried to breakaway in solo fashion, but their efforts never lasted more than five laps.
The Navigators Insurance squad kept a watchful eye on the action and was represented in any escape attempt that tried to sneak away. As the lap counter came down to single digits, it appeared that a field sprint would once again be the tactic of the day. As the speed at the front of the peloton increased, the riders were in a long single-file line.
The U.S. Postal Service put Tour de France strongman Floyd Landis on the front with his sprinters in tow, for the final 2.5 laps. Although the fight behind was furious, it was the Navigators Insurance team that took control for the final lap. With the field screaming into the right-hand turn in the middle of the course, it was Navigators in the front four positions. As the large crowd turned their attention to the final corner just 150-meters from the finish, it was a single rider entering the corner, but not exiting.
Misjudging his speed, a USPS rider dived to the inside, then continued straight into the barricade, slowing the progress of the leading riders. Sprinting from behind, it was Jonas Carney (Jelly Belly) taking the sprint over Tyler Farrar and Gord Fraser (both Health Net). Kirk O’Bee led the Navigators squad in 6th.USPRO Criterium Championship
1. Jonas Carney (Jelly Belly / Aramark)
2. Tyler Farrar (Health Net)
3. Gord Fraser (Health Net)
4. Dave McCook (McGuire Pro Cycling)
5. Alex Candalario (Jelly Belly / Aramark)
6. Kirk O’Bee (Navigators)
1. Tina Mayolo-Pic (Genesis Scuba-FFC)
2. Laura Van Gilder (Genesis Scuba-FFC)
3. Brenda Lyons (Velo Bella)