Athens Twilight is probably the best attended criterium in the country. The town of Athens gets behind the race in a big way. The 1k course is lined all the way around 6 deep. I know because when it was time to stage, I could barely get through to the course. A spectator helped me to push through the crowd to the fence where I could get onto the course. Crazy.
The big story of this race is a wreck that involved a moto and an unconscious rider and then a pile-up as a result of the moto. Chad explained it the best. It wasn’t a situation that could have been handled well; although, I think it could have been handled better. After the Bicycle rider wrecked into the barriers, the trailing moto stopped with the wreck. Here is where he could gave radioed to the lead moto to neutralize. However, the referee didn’t appear to see the unconscious Emile Abraham for the first 30 seconds. Once he saw the rider against the barriers, he started maneuvering the bike towards the rider to protect him. He could have lined the bike up better to avoid incoming riders. Maybe directly against the barriers. He also could have insisted on neutralizing over the radio to the lead car and lead moto. The real problem was that we were doing 1 minute laps. By the time he was able to do anything, the breakaway had passed by and the pack was coming. It was just bad circumstance. Hopefully Emile is healing up well. I hear that he is. Thankfully it wasn’t worse. Check out the YouTube video of the wreck if you haven’t already.
As for how the race unfolded, after the field was finally neutralized, the race continued. They put Dan and A Ray off the front 16 seconds. Two Hincapie that had attacked during the crash were put back into the field after some protest. The problem was that 10 minutes of standing around gave everyone enough rest to bring the break back. Lots of attack/chase ensued and no break stuck. Eventually, we started trying to protect Dan’s position and he nailed it. King of the shitfight.
Roswell is the counterpart to Athens. The difference was daylight, virtually no crowds, and pouring rain. In the first three laps, Anthony jumped into a 5 man move. Shortly thereafter, Dan soloed across with no reaction to the group. Chad let me know we had two up there. We commenced chasing attacks. A Ray put in several hard laps and then realized it wasn’t coming back. Apparently Dan made several super hard pulls that built the gap. Anthony nailed most of the primes and did a good deal of pacesetting. Finally, Anthony did a monster one lap lead out for Dan, and Dan came around for the second victory in as many days. Perfect execution.