The inaugural Bay View Classic lacked the big crowds that turn out for its predecessor to the north, on the Great Downer Ave., but the Superweek race did match the party spirit and the winner.
Thomas Soladay took advantage of a moment of hesitation in a 10-man breakaway and sped off with just over a lap to go Kinnickinnic Ave. His move was decisive, and Soladay book-ended his Superweek victories: the Great Downer Ave. Race and the Bay View Classic. The Kelly Benefits rider saves his best for Saturday nights.
Thomas Soladay strikes a victory pose in the Bay View Classic. Photo by Tom Held
Juan Enrique Aldapa (Mexican National Team) and Alder Marts (Hincapie Development) took second and third.
More than 50 riders started on the criterium course through the Lincoln Ave./KK commercial district and the adjacent neighborhoods. It was a surge-and-sit race in the early laps, with no breakaways sticking and the contest still intense for the sprint points.
The course featured a severe right just south of the start line. After doubling back to go east on Lincoln, the riders handled four more tight turns to reach the finishing straght.
The pro riders snake through the turn onto E. Lincoln Ave. Photo by Tom Held
The winning breakaway formed late, and built a 30-second gap.
On the podium, Soladay said he had a good read on the pace of the group, waited for his moment and escaped.
"It's all about momentum, and I had it," he said.
Bay View landmarks lined the course off Kinnickinnic Ave. Photo by Tom Held
Laurent Beuret (Team Atlas Personal) raced with the winning group, but failed to make up any points on overall leader Feng Chun-Kai (Action Cycling Team). The Taiwan National Champion will take home the top prize after the Whitefish Bay Classic on Sunday night.
As a first-time race in the 43-year-old Superweek series, the Bay View Classic showed great promise. The spectators, while not large in numbers, rallied to the sport and their beverages.
Like the neighbors who line the streets on Downer Ave., the folks in Bay View take advantage of an opportunity to throw a party.
Team VeloCause and South Shore Cyclery sponsored the event.
Neighbors took advantage of the streets closed to traffic. Photo by Tom Held