Two days of cycling action in Northeast Georgia wrapped up Sunday night with the fourth annual Downtown Gainesville Criterium. And like the rest of the weekend, Sunday’s pro race was marked by the success of the Toshiba team.
The criterium win went to Toshiba rider Mark Hekman, who clocked in at one hour, 13 minutes in the sixty-lap race that was run on a course carved out of Washington, West Academy, Spring and Green streets.
Toshiba finished the weekend with four of the top five placers in the overall stage, which also included Saturday’s road race and time trial. Frank Travieso was the overall stage winner, followed by Hekman in second, Bobby Sweeting in fourth and Alex Hagman in fifth. Heathnet’s John Murphy finished the overall stage in third.
"We came here to win the overall," said Hekman, a Michigan native now residing in Winston-Salem, N.C. "And we did that. Yesterday we took second, third, fourth and fifth (in the road race) and second in the time trial, so it was a pretty wonderful weekend for us."
Toshiba’s dominance was displayed early in the criterium, as three riders pulled far ahead of the pack, with Oscar Henao of Clinca Union cycling tagging along. The quartet maintained a pace that expanded from 30 seconds to almost a minute ahead of the rest of the field before they began lapping competitors with 22 laps left.
Henao finished the race in second place, followed by Travieso and Sweeting.
"Once the three of us on our team lapped, it was kind of like we could relax a little bit," Hekman said. "Not too much, because it’s still dangerous in the back of the pack, but it’s just so much easier riding with the pack than it is riding out front.
"The main thing was securing Frank’s overall win, so once that was done, winning the day was just gravy."
Other winners of Sunday’s criterium races included: Ryan Graham (Competitive under 35), Sammy Flores (Competitive 35 and over), Tyler Stanfield (Elite), Eric Murphy (Masters), Kira Shoemake (Women category 3/4), Laura Bowles (Women’s Pro).