It’s been 30 years that the Roger Millikan Memorial Criterium race has been taking place. It was formerly known as the Valentine’s Day Massacre, however the name changed in memory of former rider and race promoter Roger Millikan who passed away from cancer several years ago.
The more recent course makes for a challenging day of racing, as it is not your easy sit in and get sucked along all day crit. For most riders looking for a pancake flat course that has no hills and no technical corners, this course will test your fitness.
The day was a typical sunny California day and a perfect day for racing.
The Pro 1/2 men’s race started out fast and with breaks splitting off for most of the race. The Cylance – Incycle Crit team had most of their guns on the line as the previous day’s race at the UCLA Road Race didn’t go as well as the team had liked. They were out to prove they are the Crit Kings in SoCal, so not only did they bring the Pro’s out, but also their Development Team, so they actually had 14-15 guys on the line with the same goal of placing the Williams brothers in first and second.
Photos & Report © Frank Sarate / SoCalCycling.com
The field was a little weaker than in years past with multiple races going on for the weekend, however the field still had good numbers at around the 70 plus mark.
With breakaways taking off it was going to be up to Cylance – Incycle to control the race and they did just that! With team captains Justin Williams and Hilton Clarke directing the guys within the breaks and peloton they had their work cut out for them as mid to late in the race they saw a small 5 man break with a another chase group of around 10 or more riders working hard to merge so they could control the lead group, with the Cylance – Incycle team having two riders in the second chase group and their Development Team having a couple of riders in a chase move.
The Cylance – Incycle Team burned off all the Development riders to get organized and within the last 20 minutes of the race they got organized and had Justin ” The Judge” Williams cracking the whip with younger brother Cory Williams driving their team to take hard and long pulls to control the remainder of the race as the race was coming down to the closing laps. They were determined to bring it all together and with Hilton Clarke’s group merging with the lead break it left everyone looking at each other to see who was going to pull or attack and with tired legs. Hilton Clarke was able to control the main break and only a few last attacks from the break would try a last ditch effort to try and sneak away. However, it was to no avail as they had the breakaway riders and last escapee riders in their sites. Their work was almost done as they remained on the front burning their riders off as they headed in to the sprint with Cory and Justin sprinting in one and two with Centric’s German rider Wolfgang Brandl getting the best of the rest for 3rd. Brandl won the Cantua Creek Road Race the day before in NorCal.
The Women’s race had a good sized field. The race became an animated race with solo and small breakaways getting up the road. The race came down to a five women break that worked well together late in the race that would see them stay away to the end with Christina Birch (LA Sweat) easily taking the sprint from the break for the win.