Wins by Allie Dragoo and Daniel Holloway in the pro divisions at the Twilight Criterium were far different, but both came thanks to a little help from their friends.
Dragoo was able to spring to a dominant win in the women’s race Saturday while her Twenty16 teammates held off the rest of the field, and Holloway’s short-handed Altovelo-SeaSucker team put him in position to win by a nose in the men’s race to finish off the night.
For Holloway and his team, it was worthy of a rejoiceful celebration after completing his victory lap.
“We only had four guys, everyone else had six, so all those guys that helped get me in that spot were doing about twice as much work,” said Holloway, who is from Morgan Hill, Calif. “It showed we could take control of a race and that we’re a good friggin’ bike team.”
It was the first win in Boise on his second visit for Holloway, who took third last year. On Saturday, he outdueled defending champion Ken Hanson in a frantic sprint to the finish.
“I don’t get to start the front that often, it’s new to me, but the guys dropped me off perfectly,” Holloway said. “I just had to wait until the final corner to open it up, and it was just kind of eyes closed, see where the arrow landed and it was a bull’s-eye. Maybe a bit of a pinhole to see through, go to that light at the end of the tunnel.”
Dragoo’s win was her first in Boise, and she won for her locally-based team. Like Holloway, the Boulder, Colo., racer took third last year. But her Twenty16 squad was on its game, with teammates Lauren Hall and Lauren Komanski taking second and fourth, respectively. With about 15 laps remaining, defending champ Erica Allar was clipped making a right turn, and crashed. Once the field settled again with a dozen laps to go, Dragoo made her move, and won by 14 seconds.
“Last year, I got third, and I really wanted to do better. ... When I went, they made sure to cover everything, and slowed everything down, it was perfect teamwork,” Dragoo said.
Winning in front of many team sponsors and leaders, getting a strong team effort was all the more rewarding.
“I’d like to think I did it smart, and everyone had a big part, so it was a good night,” Dragoo said.
ARMSTRONG FEELING ‘REALLY GOOD’
Boise resident and two-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong took part in her annual kids’ ride before Saturday’s races, leading about 250 kids in a ride around Downtown Boise.
Afterward, she got to see her Twenty16 teammates put together their strong showing.
Different than last year was the fact Armstrong is again an active racer, having ended a three-year retirement in April. She expressed excitement over the big crowd, noting how it has supported her right before the Olympics, or when she was pregnant or retired. Though her chronic hip problems still exist, the 41-year-old said it hasn’t slowed her down. She set a course record May 23 at the USA Cycling Professional Time Trials in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“My hip, on the bike, ironically is great,” Armstrong said. “I would never go out for a hike or a long walk. There’s still stuff that will have to be done to it, no matter what happens in the (next few months).”
Next up for Armstrong, who said she has felt “really good” to be back in competition, is the Cascade Classic in Bend, Ore., on July 22. She will compete in a Colorado race in August before Sept. 22’s world championship time trial in Richmond, Va., with a spot in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on the line.
“That’s my key focus,” Armstrong said. “That’s really what my sights are on. Things are going well.”
RAIN DELAYS ACTION SLIGHTLY
A rainstorm that briefly bordered on torrential delayed action for about a half hour Saturday, prompting the men’s 1-2-3 race to be reduced from 45 minutes to 30 minutes and a celebrity race to be one lap instead of 15 minutes. The weather cleared about 20 minutes before the women’s pro race, and very little standing water was on the course by the time it got started only 10 minutes late, causing no issues.
Cameron Hoffmann won the men’s Cat 1-2-3 race, Mollie Brewer took the women’s Cat 2-3-4, Tim Root was the Masters 40+ champ, and Antonio Gonzalez took the Cat 4-5 race.