There was only one former champion in the mens pro field of the 26th annual Twilight Criterium that was raced in the streets of Downtown Boise on Saturday.
That would be Hilton Clarke, who sprinted past the field down the stretch to become a repeat winner.
Clarke, an Australian native, races for Team United Health Care. He said he had raced in five criterium races in the past week.
I had three thirds, and a crash in one, and we were really looking for a win, he said. Finally, in our fifth race in seven days, we got it.
Clarke said he really enjoyed the fact that he could get another win in front of the Boise fans.
I told (my teammates), who are first-time riders, that the crowd here is really spectacular, he said. The rain may have kept a few people away, but after finishing I did a last lap, rode around slow and the crowd was great.
Clarke said he was lucky to emerge the winner after a hectic final lap.
The last lap was really chaotic, he said. There were a lot of crashes.
But he managed to take the lead about halfway down the final straightaway and sprint to the win.
On the womens side, it was a victory with a local slant as Kristin McGrath was a surprise winner for Team Exergy TWENTY12.
McGrath isnt known as a sprinter, but she found herself in the right place at the right time after breaking a spoke and re-entering the race.
At the end of the race, she found herself in position to make a move.
All of a sudden I knew I was up, McGrath said. Its not a traditional role for me, but the team worked really hard.
Team Exergy is based in Boise and members of the team talked before the race about the added pressure of racing in front of their hometown fans.
Were all excited, McGrath said. We didnt care who won, we just wanted to see Exergy cross the finish line first. My team did an awesome job tonight and it shows when we work together we win.
McGrath moved to Boise this past winter to train with and be coached by Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong.
Armstrong was pleased to see some of her work with McGrath pay off.
Its great to have one of my athletes that I train with and also coach and who is living in Boise win this race tonight, Armstrong said.
Armstrong, also a member of Team Exergy, didnt race as she prepares for the London Games, but she knew the pressure her teammates faced.
When your sponsor is in Boise, Idaho, as athletes we put a lot of pressure on ourselves, and we wanted to show our sponsors we could do it, and tonight we showed them tonight.