The Nevada City Classic Criterium Bike Race crowned a new king Sunday as Walton Brush pulled away in the final lap to claim the race’s 54th installation.
“I have to say this is the biggest win of my career so far,” Brush said. “For me this is pretty awesome. Bike racing is pretty difficult, and you put a lot in to see a little return, so you’re always happy to win when it happens.”
The 24-year-old, racing for Mike’s Bike’s Pro Cycling Team, spent much of the 90-minute race contending with a large lead pack, but with three laps left, there were just three battling for the title — Brush, Torrey Philipp and Chris Harland-Dunaway.
“I knew Torrey Philipp was going to be somebody to watch so I was covering all the moves he made,” Brush said. “The course is so hard you don’t have to race it super aggressively, it kind of sorts the men from the boys by itself, and that suits me. I just hung on and made my move when the time was right.”
By the final stretch, Brush had built a slight lead, big enough to raise his hands in victory as he coasted through the finish line on Broad Street. Brush’s victory ends Stephen Leece’s two-year hold at the top.
In the Men’s 3/4 Elite category a little history was made as local rider Ryan Vanderleun, racing for the SHO-AIR/SERT team, took the lead on the final lap to win. It was the first time in more than two decades that a local rider has won any race in the Nevada City Classic series.
“It feels good,” Vanderleun said of winning in front of the home crowd. “It was awesome.”
The women’s Pro 1/2 race came down to a pair of cyclists who were forced to contend with a rarity in criterium races — a staggered restart.
After a bad crash on turn 2, which proved to be a treacherous corner in every race throughout the day, officials halted the race so an ambulance could reach the fallen rider.
Once the injured racer was safely removed, the race resumed with a staggered start with Katie Hall and Katheryn Donovan battling for first place with just three laps to go.
“That was a little funky,” Hall said. “But I thought they handled it very professionally. It was good, I was tired, so the little break was super nice.” The break was just what Hall needed as she created some separation on the last lap to win the Women’s Pro 1/2 race.
In the Men’s Masters race, again turn 2 factored in as the early leader and last year’s Nevada City Classic Masters winner Jason Walker took a spill, dropping him from the front of the pack. Walker would finish 12th in the Masters 35+ division. Andres Gil, riding for Michael David Cycling Team, won the 35+ race. Dan Shore, riding for the Folsom Bike Road Racing Team, won the 45+ division.
In the Junior races, Nye Yackle won the boys 9-12 year old race, Gianni Lamperti won the boys 13-14 race, Miles Daly claimed the win in the boys 15-16 race, Conner Ellison took the boys 17-18 race and Emily Abraham won the girls 17-18 race.
Locally based junior riders fared well as Larry Sussman finished fifth in the boys 17-18 race, Anthony Pritchett took fourth in the boys 9-12 race and Brenner Krogh took seventh in the 9-12 race.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.