The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Hilton Clarke (AUS) and Luke Keough (USA) took 1st and 2nd place respectively at the 10th Annual Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina. Demis Aleman of Team Jamis Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, finished in 3rd place, while Team UnitedHealthcare’s Carlos Alzate (COL), took 7th place, enabling the Blue Train to secure three of the top 10 spots in the race.
The victory was the fourth consecutive criterium win for Team UnitedHealthcare in the United States this season and Clarke’s third consecutive podium-topping effort. Earlier in the season, Luke Keough secured the team’s first victory at the Old Pueblo Grand Prix (March 9), while Clarke’s previous wins included the Cigar City Criterium (March 16) and the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium (March 23).
One of America’s premier bicycle races, 2013 marks the 10th year of the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational. Sponsored by Presbyterian Hospital and benefiting The Brain Tumor Fund Carolinas, the race was part of both the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC) and the USA CRITS National Series. An estimated crowd of 35,000 spectators lined the streets of center city Charlotte for the 50-mile twilight criterium, and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s six-man squad of Clarke, Keough, Carlos Alzate (COL), Karl Menzies (AUS), Brad White (USA), and John Murphy (USA), did not disappoint, battling the peloton throughout the fast and furious race around the 1.2-mile course.
Clarke, who remains atop both the NCC and USA CRITS series as the overall leader, commented on his winning performance, saying, “The team did awesome. We had a good situation with three guys (Menzies, White, Alzate) in the breakaway. We were actually pretty happy with it, but Team SmartStop (p/b Mountain Khakis) did a great job. They rode a nice race and brought back the breakaway. As soon as the boys got together, we drilled it and at five to go, led the race. Ultimately, we were able to get the win and second place finish here in Charlotte and we’re happy about that.”
SoCal’s Team Predator Carbon Repair rode well in the breaks and ended with Sergio Hernandez taking fourth place.
Photo by Chad Andrews