Saturday, 8 August 2009

Portland Twilight

I can't say it better than Pat Malach did in his write up from the race. Pat is an Oregon photographer/cycling journalist who has been at most of the big regional races we've done this year and gave me some pretty generous talking up. Thanks Pat. And be sure to check out www.oregoncyclingaction.com for future write-ups and photos.


Washington’s Adrian Hegyvary blew into town with several of his Hagens-Bermans teammates and stole the show from the local stars at the 8th Annual Subaru Portland Twilight Criterium Saturday night.

Crowds jammed the sidewalks of Portland’s North Park Blocks to watch racers tackle the technical six-corner course on 8th and 9th avenues between Couch and Flanders.

Hegyvary, a Cat 1 rider for the powerful Seattle-based amateur team, has made a habit of winning races in Oregon this season. He took two stages of April’s Cherry Blossom Classic in The Dalles, a pro/am race won by Bissell Pro Cycling Team’s Paul Mach. Hegyvary was one of the most aggressive amateur racers at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic in Hood River – also won by Mach – ending up in race-shaping, daylong breakaways on at least two stages.

He wasted little time letting the rest of the field know he meant business again.

”I got a call-up at the last minute,” he said. “So I figured since I was on the front the best would be to just go from the gun. We had a bunch of teammates here, so I figured if I couldn’t stick it, then that would be a good way to get the race started. We do better if the race is a little faster, especially on short course like this.”

But Hegyvary was in for a tough battle with Land Rover-ORBEA fielding top guns Evan Elken, who had been on the podium twice before at this race, and Roman Van Uden, winner of the criterium at Tour of the Gila, heading up a small contingent for the Portland-based UCI pro team. Gentle Lovers also fielded a small group of riders to support sprinter Steven Beardlsey’s podium ambitions. Team Oregon, HPChiro/Hammer Nutrition, Veloce/Felt, Hammer/CMG Racing, Cyclepath and most of the other Oregon teams also had riders in the bunch. 

When Hegyvary attacked on the second lap, Elken, Van Uden and Beardlsey were immediately in tow. The breakaway stayed off the front but failed to build a significant lead. Portland Bicycle Studio’s Molly Cameron soon bridged to the group, which by now was just dangling off the front of the field.

“I kept wanting to drive it to get the gap up so we wouldn’t have to worry so much,” Hegyvary said, “But it was tough getting guys to work a little bit.”

With the break tantalizingly close to the field, the makeup of the group began to change as riders bridged and then dropped, flatted or sometimes crashed. But Hegyvary, Elken and Beardsley remained steadfastly at the front, trying to cash in on their daylong efforts.

“At the start I thought it was going to stick; about 20 minutes in," Hegyvary said. “But there just wasn’t enough cooperation. We would roll through, but we weren’t pulling hard enough. So it wasn’t really until the last couple of laps that I really thought we’d stick it.” 

Coming into the last laps the lead group contained Elken, Beardsley, Hegyvary, Team Oregon’s Chris Swan and one of Elken’s Land Rover-ORBEA teammates.

That’s when Hegyvary’s Hagens-Berman teammate Sam Johnson made a desperate solo bridge to the breakaway group on the second-to-last lap and immediately went to the front to set up his teammate in the sprint. Hegyvary jumped two corners before the finish and comfortably held off Elken and Beardsley, who finished within inches of each other for second and third, respectively.

“I went on the outside, and then Sam kind of eased off a little bit so the gap opened up,” Hegyvary said. “That was awesome. That was a good move.”

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