Union City criterium - Image ©Copyright Beck Cycling
After a tough world cup in Beijing where I got quite sick, I took some time off to balance the options for the 2012 season. It became clear I wanted to be in races that best suit me; criteriums and fast races. I got in touch with Emile Abraham who runs one of the best amateur teams in the USA; Rossetti Devo Cycling Team.
Emile is himself an excellent rider, he’s put together a strong core of cyclist from six different nations;
Emile Abraham – Trinidad
Gevan Samuel – Trinidad
Daniel Asconeguy – Uruguay
Ricardo Giraldo Sierra – Colombia
Jean-Michel Lachance – Canada
Benjamin Bryant – USA
Franco – Puerto Rico
The calendar is still in the oven, but promised to be filled with some of the best races around USA, Canada, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and other countries.
Our sponsors includes Rossetti bikes which are simply amazing, the best bike shop in Atlanta Outback bikes, EDA construction, SauceBox cyclewear and a few others.
For this venture, I drove a crazy 2250km in two days to finally arrive on wednesday 14th. The following day, was one of those days… building the bike, adjusting the position and finally a short ride which ended up being a long four hours. The next weekend, we had two races on the program. I was a bit anxious about my fitness with a few weeks completely off trainning and a good three and half month off the road. Speaking about winter trainning, it was pretty much the first time in four years, I spent the whole winter in Quebec city. Preparing for a road season in the cold is never easy and it takes a lot of motivation to train at high intensity on the trainer.
Anyhow, I took part in both races; a one hour crit on saturday and a seventy-one mile road race on sunday. To be honest, I was happily surprised with my form. My legs were still sore from the two previous rides in the days before. I tried to go away a few time in the crit and won one prime after the breakaway lapped us, I went on a gruelling 40km solo breakaway in the road race.
Next on the program is a race in Tampa, Florida.
We are in the sprinting line on our way to the Olympic Games of London. Sofia has to participate in the four World Cups, Pan American Championship and the World Championship in order to make enough points to qualify.
The qualification system its complicated, it’s a ranking for Continents. The American continent has 5 places for the women’s omnium and we have Sarah Hammer (USA), Tara Whitten (Canada) and Marlies Mejias (Cuba) that have secured their places for the Olympics in the last season. The big dispute is between Angy Gonzalez (Venezuela), the Colombian Maria Luisa Calle and Sofia Arreola (Mexico).
Sofi hopes to finish in the top 10 of the World Cups and World Championship in order to finish within the first five in the Pan American Ranking.
Training base in
Mallorca is a perfect place for training; it has high mountains as well as flat and safe roads to do nice and long rides to improve the endurance. Mallorca has 2 different tracks where you can train and improve different things.
Sofia is currently training under the direction of Andy Sparks in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Supported by the Mexican Cycling Federation and the National Sports Commission.
The training objectives are to improve power and endurance for individual events of the omnium. Training with Sarah Hammer and riders from Turkey and Ireland has made significant changes in Sofia as she has improved both her power and her endurance on the track. In the last Pan American Games in Guadalajara 2011, Sofi showed the progress when she won the silver medal.
First World: Astana
In Astana, as in all World Cups, you need to do a points race of 40 laps in order to qualify to the finals in the omnium, they have 2 heats and the best 12 of each heat get to ride the finals. Sofia was 4th in her qualifying heat, showing again her progress in her endurance.
The omnium started with 24 riders, all the best girls of the world were there only two big names were missing: Tara Whitten and Sarah Hammer they both decided to start their season in the 2nd World Cup in Cali.
Sofia was looking strong but performed poorly in the elimination race and finished 13th overall at the end.
2nd World Cup: Cali, Colombia
For this World Cup Andy and Sofi planned to do the scratch race in addition to the omnium. The scratch race is an official event in the World Championships but not in the Olympics, this is one of Sofia’s favorites events and she can perform really good in it as well.
You also need to do a qualification ride before riding the finals, 2 heats where only the first 10 of each heat can go to the finals. Sofia was second in her heat and was ready to give everything in the next race.
The final had 20 riders, the best riders in the world for sure. She was trying to control the race from start to finish and maybe worked too much, 4 riders went into the break away and she managed to win the bunch sprint to finish 5th place, this complies in part with the goal set by Andy for this World Cup.
The next day begins with the qualifying for the omnium. Sofia had to ride the heat with the best two riders of the specialty (World Champ Tara Whitten and multiple World Cup Champ Sarah Hammer) She managed to qualify and had a very regular start in the first event (250m flying lap). In the second event (points race) she finished in 5th place, Sofi improved her chances in the general classification and she was getting closer to the top 10 she wanted.
In the next event (elimination race), a race that is usually very complicated as every rider starts the race full gas because every 2 laps the last rider gets eliminated. The excitement of the riders as well as their desire to win caused several crashes, Sofi was involved in one of them. She hit the wall of the track injuring her back, right arm and finger and so had to end her participation in this World Cup.
Sofi is currently in 3rd place in the world ranking of the scratch race and she is looking forward to top that at the World Championships in Australia but her main focus is to make more points for the Olympics, she still wants to secure top 10 in the next two World Cups in Beijing and the Olympic test of London.
There are now four more races where she can collect Olympic points: the next two World Cups, the PanAm Champs and the World Champs it will be a hard and close fight between the riders because everyone is working harder than ever before to get there but we are sure that Sofia can achieve her goal and make her Olympic dream a reality in London.
Cali Track World Cup 2011
Update From Cali World Cup
The highlights of yesterday are quite interesting; in the men’s team sprint qualifying the German trio of Rene Enders, Maximilian Levy and Stefan Nimke set a new World Record in an impressive ride (42.914), the women’s team sprint was won also by Germany with Kristina Vogel and Miriam Welte.
2 Team Erdgas
Women’s Team Sprint:
The women’s scratch race was full of attacks, Sofi Arreola (Mex) was very active in the race but at the end there was a break away with 4 and she couldn’t make it but she won the bunch sprint to finish in 5th place.
1 Kelly Druyts (Bel)
2 Katarzyna Pawlowska (Pol)
3 Ahreum Na (Kor)
4 Leire Olaberria Dorronsoro (Spa)
5 Sofia Arreola (Mex)
In the women’s Team Pursuit GBR were fighting the NZL girls for gold and it was a very close battle till one of the girls of New Zealand got dropped off the wheel of her teammate and that gave the British team a gold medal while the American team finished 3rd.
The men’s team pursuit was a different story, the Australians were fighting for gold against New Zealand but unfortunately for the World Champions one of their teammates had a crash in the first kilometre of the race and they were not allowed to start again. NZL finished 1st, AUS 2nd and DEN 3rd.
The craziest race of the day was the 3rd event of the omnium: Elimination race. As usual, it started super fast, everyone fighting to be in a good position in the peloton, short after the race started there was a crash with 4 riders including Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) one of the race favorites! He and the rest of the guys were allowed to come back on the race but the crash caused a bad effect on them so they were all eliminated soon.
There was more chaos during the race because riders didn’t want to leave the track after they were eliminated; I guess there was a lot of confusion there. Very close to the finish there was another crash with more race favorites like Zach Bell (Can) and Shane Archbold (NZl), they were also back in the race but both with bad luck, Zach was eliminated right after the crash and Shane was disqualified of the event after not leaving the track when he was eliminated.
The race was about to get more confusing and at the same time more interesting when the race commissaries said Juan Esteban Arango (Col) was eliminated but the Colombian rider was refusing to leave the track! The commissaries let the race continue and they eliminated Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa), this rider was seriously upset and had a fight with the judges after leaving the track so he also got disqualified of the event.
The commissaries told Arango he must leave the track and said the race was over while Bryan Coquard (Fra), Michael Freiberg (Aus) and Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) were still on the track! The riders were confused and complaining to the UCI commissaries while the DS from Colombia was also fighting to get his rider back on the track, he said that the red monitor that lets the riders know that they are eliminated was never flashing in his Arango’s bike so he wasn’t really eliminated…. Anyways the commissaries let him come back to the race, the other riders were not happy but they kept on racing.
Arango was the first eliminated, followed by the Belgian rider and Bryan Coquard beat Michael Freiberg (reigning World Champion) in the final sprint.
The current omnuim standinga are here:
1 Bryan Coquard (Fra) France 10 pts
2 Recep Ünalan (Tur) Turkey 14 pts
3 Juan Esteban Arango (Col) Colombia 16pts
4 Zach Bell (Can) Canada 20 pts
5 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Denmark 28 pts
6 Martyn Irvine (Irl) Ireland 30 pts
7 Michael Freiberg (Aus) Australia 31 pts
8 Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Belgium 32 pts
Full results of every event from Tissot Timing click here.
Live streaming of the Cali Track World Cup is available at Mundo Ciclistico by clicking here.
Pan-American Games - Guadalajara - Mexico
Last week was very crazy and very intense! It was time for the PanAm Games in Mexico!!!
This track is brand new and its SUPER fast, believe me when I say it could be one of the fastest tracks in the whole world, the track is in a place with great altitude (Guadalajara, Mexico) and it’s a nice indoor track. I think it’s perfect for someone who’s planning to break a World Record.
The races were so much fun to watch, the first day Colombia broke the PanAm Record in the Team Pursuit (4.59) and they won the gold medal against the Chilean team, while the women from Venezuela won the Team Sprint against Colombia, Mexico came 3rd with a team led by the veteran Nancy Contreras.
It was good to see Njisane Phillip (Trinidad & Tobago) break the PanAm Record in the 200 metres (9.91) in the morning of the second day of competition, he’s very friendly and knows how to get the crowd going crazy. He calls himself “the black Mexican” and all the people in Mexico love him. Unfortunately, he lost in the semifinals against Hersony Gadiel Canelon from Venezuela and had to race from the bronze medal. The final podium: 1st Hersony Gadiel Canelon (VEN), 2nd Fabian Puerta (COL), 3rd Njisane Phillip (TRI)
Another great race to watch was the men’s omnium with Juan Esteban Arango from Colombia dominating the field from start to finish, he was never lower than top 5 in all six events of this tough race and won 3 events to finish with 13 points, Luis Mancilla (CHI) was 2nd with 20 points and Walter Perez (ARG) 3rd with 28pts.
In the women’s Team Pursuit Canada was the one who took the highest place in the podium posting a time of 3:21.448 with Laura Brown, Stephanie Roorda and Jasmin Glaesser (who is German and got her Canadian citizenship just weeks before the event). 2nd and 3rd places went to Cuba and Colombia.
Sofia Arreola Omnium - PanAms 2011 - Image Copyright Nancy Arreola
Of course my favorite event to watch was the women’s ommnium as my sister Sofia was riding for Mexico, if the crowd was going crazy with Njisane Phillip I don’t know how to describe it when Sofi was riding. The track was completely full and you could hear all the audience screaming “Sofia, Sofia, Sofia” and “si se puede, si se puede!” (its Spanish for “you can do it”). It was fantastic to be there, and it was a great experience for Sofi to be able to race this big event in her home country.
She started with the 250 flying lap and finished 4th behind Cuba, Venezuela and Canada but in the points race she was super aggressive all day and managed to get away with 10 laps to go and lapped the field at the very last moment, it was such an epic moment and the audience went wild!
After that it was time for the elimination race, Sofia was now in 2nd place in the overall standings and again gave us a great performance, she pulled at the front the whole race and at the end Angie Gonzalez from Venezuela beat her in the sprint. It was good, 3 events done and 3 to go and she was sitting in 2nd place with a good advantage.
The first event of the second day was the individual pursuit, she didn’t post a good time and finished 4th again, so the overall standings were close and Stephanie Roorda from Canada had a chance to move her from her second place so in the scratch race it was all or nothing because Sofi is not good in the 500mts so if she wanted to keep her silver medal she had to win the scratch.
The race started with many attacks but nothing that would last, the average speed was very high because everyone wanted to finish in a good position. With 6 laps to go Sofi took control of the bunch again, pulling on the front all the way to the finish and setting a very high speed. It was impressive, no one could pass her and she won the scratch as Venezuela, Cuba and Colombia finished far behind.
That put Sofia only one point away from the gold medal with only the 500mts to go and now with huge advantage on the 3rd and 4th place. Marlies Mejia from Cuba posted a very fast time in the 500mts (35.1) finishing first and that result put her in the top 3 in the final classification.
Sofia Arreola with her Silver medal PanAms 2011 - Image ©Copyright Nancy Arreola
Women’s omnium results: 1st Angie Gonzales (VEN), 2nd Sofia Arreola (MEX), 3rd Marlies Mejia (CUB)
This is just the start of the track season, the World Cups start next month in Astana!! It’s going to be super fun to see which riders qualify for the London Olympics because nothing is written in stone yet!