Argentinean Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) won the bunch sprint in the fast and furious 50-mile Visalia Criterium ahead of Cody O'Reilly (Successful Living) and his leadout man Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita/Sutter Home).


Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) wins the sprint

"We came out the last lap in perfect position, the train was perfect. The last lap, (the team) led out Borrajo and I and (we) came out first and second wheel and we finished first and third." said a happy Haedo as graciously translated by his teammate Davide Frattini.

"I went as hard as I could, I couldn't have gone any faster." said a happy O'Reilly.

The pro men gathered on Sunday for the second day of the Sequoia Cycling Classic to tackle the flat and fast Visalia Criterium. Right from the get go, the race was aggressive as team after team tried to launch a rider on the 0.7-mile, 6-turn course in downtown Visalia.



The field under the impetus of the big teams such as chased down every move that they didn't like and no rider managed to get away. Teams with big numbers in the race such as Kelly Benefit/Medifast, Successful Living, California Giant Berry Farms launched repeated attacks along with solo flyers from riders from Symmetrics, Bissell, but attack after attack was neutralized.


(l to r): Kelly Benefit/Medifast at front of the field; Early attack by Colavita/Sutter Home and Cal Giant; Curtis Gunn (Successful Living) gives it a try

"It was too fast, to be in the breakaway, the breakaway had to be representative of all the major teams, if one team missed, they closed the gap, it had to be perfect." said Frattini about the inability to launch breaks.

Adding to the volatile mix, were the riders chasing the primes, including the intra-race Oceania competition between Toyota-United's Heath Blackgrove and the Health Net-Maxxis duo Rory Sutherland and Karl Menzies. The edge seems to have gone to Blackgrove in this competition.

With about 20 laps to go, a crash took out lead sprinter Canadian Charles Dionne (Successful Living) and the team had to go to plan B and work for their other sprinters.

With 11 laps to go, Symmetrics' Cam Evans launched his millionth attack (okay eighth or so) and dangled in front of the Kelly Benefit/Medifast driven field for a few laps.

With 5 laps to go, the Successful Living and Colavita trains organized and jostled to take position at the front of the field. On the final lap, in the final corner, Borrajo led Haedo through the corner, Oreilly was on his teammate's wheel and the sprint was on.


Trains forming at the front: Successful Living with 2 laps to go; Colavita/Sutter Home with 1 lap to go

The race went exactly to plan for the Colavita/Sutter Home team.

"It was important to be in all the breaks to make sure that we don't miss any breakaways and don't waste energy to bring back some breakaways." said Haedo.


Men's podium (l-r): Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita/Sutter Home), Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita / Sutter Home), Cody O'Reilly (Successful Living)

Men's Crit Top 10 Results
  1. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)
  2. Cody O'Reilly (Successful Living.com P/B Parkpre)
  3. Alejandro Borrajo (Colavita / Sutter Home p/b Cooking Light)
  4. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling)
  5. Karl Menzies (HealthNet/Maxxis)
  6. Joao Correia (Bissell Pro Cycling)
  7. Alessandro Bazzana (Successful Living.com P/B Parkpre)
  8. Rory Sutherland (HealthNet/Maxxis)
  9. Michael Sayers (BMC Pro Cycling Team)
  10. Alex Candelario (Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast)
Full results here.

All photos c. Lyne Lamoureux