On Saturday, April 20, the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Carlos Alzate and Karl Menzies took first and third place respectively at the 2013 Sunny King Criterium in Anniston, Alabama. Predator Cycling’s Sergio Hernandez finished in second place; narrowly edged out at the line by Alzate. The victory at Sunny King marked the fifth consecutive win in the U.S. in as many attempts for the boys in blue and white. The Pro Continental squad’s current five-race win streak began on March 9 in Tucson, Arizona, at the Old Pueblo Grand Prix and continued through Florida’s Cigar City Brewing Company (Tampa) and Delray Beach Criteriums, followed by last week’s Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For Alzate, the newest rider to join the team’s 2013 roster, his victory in Alabama was his first as a member of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train.
In his post race interview with announcer, Chad Andrews, Alzate was full of thanks, saying, “I want to thank my team for giving me the opportunity and having the faith in me to win. I want to thank God and my family for their support. I am so excited for this win!” Adding to his comments on his family, Alzate mentioned that he was also happy about the fact they expecting a baby girl, making the win even sweeter.
The newly-crowned 2013 Sunny King Criterium champion remarked that he had received permission from his Team Director, Mike Tamayo, to “get involved in the break and make a go for it,” a strategy which proved most effective for Alzate. He and Menzies were able to lap the field midway through the race as part of a breakaway of six riders.
Reflecting on his first podium finish of the year, Menzies said in his post-race interview with Andrews, “Great riding all the way around by the boys. This was a great win for Carlos and I was happy to hold on for third place. He just put in a huge effort. The UnitedHealthcare boys went to the front with six or seven laps to go and from there it was just clockwork. All of the boys rode awesome. Hiltz (Hilton Clarke) had to hit the wind and did a tremendous job, along with all of our guys.”
“I have to add that Sergio (referring to Predator Cycling’s second place finisher, Sergio Hernandez) and his teammates also rode awesome, and helped make this a great race. It was a great night for us, and great night for them, as well,” Menzies concluded.
Team UnitedHealthcare Director, Mike Tamayo, summarized his approach to the race in Anniston, saying, “Tonight we wanted to mix up the strategy a bit. The course at Sunny King is tight and good for a potential break to lap the field. Carlos had good legs tonight and when a rider like Karl goes in the breakaway with him, you just go with it! That’s a lot of horsepower! I know we say this week after week, but it is truly nothing but teamwork that delivers these wins.”
In the women’s race, SoCal’s Coryn Rivera (Marian University) brought home the win ahead of Erica Allar (C4 Cycling) and Jennifer Purcell (Colavita).
Photo by Philip Darden