The final day of action for Masters nationals

USA Cycling’s Masters nationals concluded on Saturday. Here’s a story on the last day of criterium racing…

July 4, 2009 (Louisville, Ky.) – The USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships wrapped up with the men’s 30-49 criterium contests on a wet Fourth of July. The final four masters road Stars-and-Stripes jerseys were awarded following fierce battles on the half-mile course around the infamous infield at Churchill Downs. In all nearly 1,000 competitors age 30 and over fought for national titles in the road race, time trial and criterium over the last week in Louisville. Masters racers will now turn their attention to the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships set for Aug. 18-23 in Colorado Springs.
 
The eldest age division of the day, the 45-49 men, set an aggressive tone early with numerous riders trying to make a break in the 50-lap affair. In the end however it came down to a sprint to the line between the top 15 riders. Track and criterium specialist John Walsh (Playa del Ray, Calif./Amgen Giant Masters) proved the strength of his kick, outsprinting the talented group by less than a second. Gregg Betonte (Truckee, Calif./Safeway-Bicycles Plus) and Steven Carroll (Fort Collins, Colo./Texas Roadhouse) followed two and four tenths of a second later to grab the silver and bronze.
 
“I was confident coming in and just told myself I could win,” explained Walsh who secured his first national title. “I just tried to cover every break and I knew I could do it if I were there at the line.”
 
The men’s 40-44 race played out in dramatically different fashion with a break of five powering away to grab the top-five spots from the massive field. The division’s best all-around rider, Grant Potter (Parkland, Fla./Champion Porsche p/b Racers Edge) scored his first-ever national title outpowering his break partners to win the gold. Michael Johnson (Newport Beach, Calif./Sho-air-Sonace) had to settle for silver by only tenths of a second and last year’s champion Byron Nix (Centennial, Colo./Green Mountain Sports) finished third.
 
“We had to push it the entire time,” explained Johnson, a former NetZero pro racer who is coming back from a severe leg injury. “We were really hoping the rain would start pouring.”
 
In what may have been the most exciting race of the event, three riders, John Puffer (Schaumburg, Ill./Texas Roadhouse), Chris DeMarchi (Chino, Calif./Amgen Giant Masters) and Andrew Clarke (Medina, Ohio/Panther-RGF) held off a talented field in the 30-34 age division. The excitement didn’t end there however, coming down to a photo finish to decide the national championship as Puffer was able to edge Demarchi by only inches for the Stars-and-Stripes.
 
The 30-34 men’s contest ended in another field sprint, but not until Josh Frick (Bethesda, Md./Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo) led a solo attack for the early half of the 66-lap event. In the end it was another photo finish with Mike Olheiser (Huntsville, Ala./Marx and Bensdorf Realtors) edging Marco Aledia (Worthington, Ohio/Kenda Pro Cycling-Spinergy) and David Bozak (Elkridge, Md./Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo) to win another national title.
 
That race wrapped up the week-long event where nearly 1,000 competitors age 30 and over fought for national titles in the road race, time trial and criterium in Louisville. Masters racers will now turn their attention to the USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships set for Aug. 18-23 in Colorado Springs.    
 
USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships
Louisville, Kentucky
June 28-July 4, 2009
 
Day Seven
 
45-49 Men’s Criterium
1. John Walsh (Playa del Ray, Calif./Amgen Giant Masters) 55:54.2
2. Gregg Betonte (Truckee, Calif./Safeway-Bicycles Plus) 55:54.4
3. Steven Carroll (Fort Collins, Colo./Texas Roadhouse) 55:54.6
4. Joe Baratto (Seattle, Wash./Wines of WA-Bikesale.com) 55:54.8
5. Jack Keiser (Breckenridge, Colo./BBC) 55:55.0
 
40-44 Men’s Criterium
1. Grant Potter (Parkland, Fla./Champion Porsche p/b Racers Edge) 1:07:22.7
2. Michael Johnson (Newport Beach, Calif./Sho-air-Sonace) 1:07:22.9
3. Byron Nix (Centennial, Colo./Green Mountain Sports) 1:07:23.2
4. David Henderson (Columbia, Mo.) 1:07:24.0
5. Mark Light (Hackettstown, N.J./Liberty Cycle) 1:07:25.7
 
35-39 Men’s Criterium
1. John Puffer (Schaumburg, Ill./Texas Roadhouse) 1:09:53.1
2. Chris DeMarchi (Chino, Calif./Amgen Giant Masters) 1:09:53.2
3. Andrew Clarke (Medina, Ohio/Panther-RGF) 1:09:54.2
4. Jason Meidhof (Bethesda, Md./Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo) 1:10:20.1
5. Anthony Galvan (Los Angeles, Calif./NOW-MS Society) 1:10:26.6
 
30-34 Men’s Criterium
1. Mike Olheiser (Huntsville, Ala./Marx and Bensdorf Realtors)
2. Marco Aledia (Worthington, Ohio/Kenda Pro Cycling-Spinergy)
3. David Bozak (Elkridge, Md./Clean Currents p/b Don Beyer Volvo)

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