Professional Bike Race Draws Thousands

WCSA | 7/10/2010, 1:50 p.m.
Race Bolsters Bid to Host 2010 Giro D'Italia...
Mayor Adrian Fenty (pink jersey) took part in the "celeb ride" showing support for the bid to bring the "GiroDC2012 Celeb Charity ride to the Nations Capital in 2012. Photo by John E. DeFreitas

Race Bolsters Bid to Host 2010 Giro D'Italia

Fourth generation of American cycling dynasty wins 2010 Capital Criterium

The 2010 Capital Criterium presented by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (CapCrit) attracted huge crowds, a selection of Washington, D.C.'s movers and shakers, and a slate of top professional cycling criterium racers to Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of the nation's capital. A packed men's pro field of nearly 100 racers took to the streets in downtown D.C. to compete on one of the nation's most challenging criterium courses--an explosive, seven-corner, 1.3 km circuit silhouetted by the U.S. Capitol.

Jackie Simes (Jamis/Sutter Home), the fourth generation of an American cycling dynasty, edged out Bobby Lea (Bahati Foundation) for first place, giving the CapCrit another exciting finish down the stretch. Italian Ambassador Guilo Terzi and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty officially opened the annual race.

Simes escaped a high-powered field with just five laps to go in the 1 hour and 45 minute event. He chose the right breakaway partner in Lea (Bahati Foundation), an Olympic track star who specializes in the 4,000-meter time trial. As the field waited for other favorites to respond to the attack, Lea drove the breakaway up to a 20-second advantage. With one lap to go, Lea used that Olympic power to fend off the hard-charging field. In the closing 200 meters of the race, Simes jumped his breakaway partner to take biggest career win, seconds before the field sprint hit the finish. Lea held for second, just ahead of Simes' teammate Frank Travieso of Cuba, who finished third.

The race opened with a salvo of attacks, many of those riders wilting in the heat on the broad expanse of Pennsylvania Avenue. After one hour of racing, the stronger riders pushed to the front and began launching big attacks off the front of the field. Those efforts went to no avail until Lea and Simes took advantage of a lull in the field to time their winning move to perfection.

"Once again, the Capital Criterium presented by the Washington Convention and Sports Authority exceeded all expectations," said Mark Sommers, CapCrit race director. "I am confident this professional bike race will grow into a very broad-based D.C. happening. While pro cycling provides the spectacle of sport, this year showed the CapCrit's reach extends beyond cycling sports fans."

In addition to the men's pro race, the Capital Criterium featured a full compliment of activities throughout the day including men's and women's amateur races, the CycleLife Kids' Safety Races, which gave all participating kids free helmets in order to promote kids cycling safety initiatives, and the CapCrit Lifestyle Expo.

The Expo featured cycling, transportation, and green-related exhibits including urban-cool artists Albus Cavus, DDOT, who showcased D.C.'s newest fleet of SmartBikes and the WCSA, who provided samples of Carmen's Italian Ice, raffled off tickets to D.C. United games and had a Wii cycling exhibition for visitors.

The Kids' Safety Races featured four categories of 300 young cyclists competing on the course for age-group bragging rights. The kids' races were followed by the GiroDC2012 Celebrity Charity Ride which was staged in support of Washington, D.C.'s bid to host the 2012 Giro d'Italia. Like its French counterpart, the Tour de France, the 100-plus-year-old Giro d'Italia is a three-week European grand tour cycling race.

A spirited two-lap ride was undertaken by federal and District officials including Mayor Fenty, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, US Department of Transportation Policy Under Secretary Roy Kienitz, President's Fitness Council Executive Director Shellie Pfohl, DDOT head Gabe Klein, Washington Redskins Jeremy Jarmon and a variety of media, sports and District personalities.

"This was a great day for people to enjoy world-class criterium cycling right here in Washington, D.C.," said Erik A. Moses, the managing director of the WCSA Sports, Entertainment and Special Events Division. "It's one thing to watch cycling on television but your appreciation and enthusiasm for the sport can't help but grow by witnessing this event up close and in person. We are proud to have been associated with this wonderful event."

The WCSA is D.C.'s agency dedicated to attracting major international sports events to the nation's capital and will continue to play a leading role in finalizing the GiroDC2012 bid and future cycling events.