09 Jun Tjon En Fa and Marquardt win U.S. Sprint Gran Prix
June 8, 2018
The U.S. Sprint Gran Prix held June 8th, 2018, brought together a dozen countries to compete for valuable UCI points in TTown. The list of events is substantial, including a Women’s and Men’s Sprint Tournament, a UCI Women’s Omnium, a UCI Junior Men’s Race, and Pro-Am races for the Rider of the Year points.
Men’s Sprint Tournament Surprises with Australian Duo
The sprint tournament was a very close competition. Olympians, Hugo Barrette (CAN) and Njisane Phillip (TTO), thought they were going to focus on last year’s winner, Jair Tjon En Fa (SUR) but a pair of Australians had other plans. James Brister (AUS) and Thomas Clarke (AUS) in their red and white skinsuits continually challenged the favorites with multiple tactics, changes in speed, and different jump points on track to keep their competitors on their toes. In the 1/8 finals, Barrette was defeated by Brister, although Barrette protested the result based on Brister’s aggressive maneuvers. Ultimately, the UCI officials declined to penalize Brister and he moved into the quarterfinals where he faced off against Phillip. With Phillip as the top qualifier after the 200s and showing top finishing speed in his earlier rounds, the crowd expected Phillip to make it easily into the Finals. Brister and Phillip were all over the track, each challenging each other with amazing bike handling skills and wowing the crowds. With each round, the sprint was to the line, but it was ultimately Brister who made it through to the finals. In the finals, he faced off against 2017 U.S. Sprint Gran Prix champion Tjon En Fa. En Fa made Brister work for his efforts and track positioning and found success with long 500m sprints against the Australian. For the second year in a row, En Fa was crowned the U.S. Spring Gran Prix Champion.
Marquardt Victorious at her Home Track
The women’s sprint tournament saw 19 women from 5 countries race for valuable UCI points. Qualifications were fast with a number of women coming close to breaking 11s but with a bit of a headwind, it was Canadian Lauriane Genest who took the top qualification spot with 11.333 at 63.531kph. In the quarterfinals, Genest was matched against Sophie Knox (AUS) while Mandy Marquardt (USA) was matched against Madison Janssen. Knox returned to TTown this year hoping to be on the top step but the finishing speed of Genest in the quarterfinals forced her into the Bronze medal ride against Janssen. With Knox and Janssen in the Bronze ride, it was Genest and Marquardt in the finals. Both women showed very fast finishing kicks in all of their races through the day, which meant tactics were going to be very important. As in the men’s races, each rider utilized multiple tactics to try and force a weakness in the other but each ride came down to very close sprints. In the end, Marquardt was able to best Genest in exciting finishes for the crowd.
Pro-Am Racing and Rider of the Year
The Friday schedule included a number of Pro-Am races for Rider of the Year competition. Race director, Andy Lakatosh, scheduled short, medium, and long distance events, which made for exciting racing and different winners of the fields.