The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team headed to Tulsa, OK with a strong sprint team and the aspirations of winning the overall omnium at the three day event. Returning to the event was Scott Law, 2017 Overall winner as well as Alfredo Rodriguez who placed second overall. Adding to the sprinting fire power was recent Winston-Salem winner Sam Bassetti, ensuring the squad was prepared to take top honors.
Tulsa Tough has been a favorite event for the team since 2011. The festival atmosphere, fantastic hosts and top notch racing is always a highlight for the team. Having had success winning the 2014 addition and knocking on the door the past few seasons, the team was motivated to land on top again.
Friday night racing took place in the Blue Dome District, where the 60 minute event was livestreamed to include the fireworks show with 5 laps to go. There had been several animated breakaways and attacks thanks to the $500 primes and racers looking to make their money back for the weekend, or get a few laps off the front on the big screen. As the laps wound down, the team methodically collected at the front to reel in any last chance takers up the road.
With 3 laps remaining however, things seemed to get slightly disorganized as other trains took the lead. As the front of the peloton exited the darkness on the backside of the course on the final lap, there were three unmistakable blue jerseys together and ready to pounce. In what would go down as one of the most epic finishes at Tulsa Tough, the team finished 1-2-3, placing Sam Bassetti 1st across the finish line, with an already celebrating Alfredo Rodriguez in 2nd and fist-pumping Scott Law close on his heels in 3rd.
Saturday the pressure was on for the team to control the race in the Brady District. With 70 minutes on tap, and a sharp climb up past the Sound Pony and live party, the team had their work cut out for them. Again, motivated racers began taking flyers and charging for the substantial prime laps. With great work from Kevin Girkins, Gavin Hoover and Nick Torraca, all dangerous breakaways were covered, saving the three top placed sprinters for the finale.
As the last of the breakaway riders were collect, the six Elevate-KHS riders took control of the front end of the race to set the sprinters up again for a furious fight to the line. WIth a slight bobble into the final turn, sprinter Scott Law lost his position and notable rival Daniel Holloway took to the front. With a massive bike throw from Rodriguez, the photo finish went to Holloway, placing Rodriguez in 2nd and Bassetti in 3rd on the night. Bassetti retained the Pink Overall Leader’s Jersey going into the final stage.
Sunday provides some of the best racing – and entertainment – of the entire season. Cry Baby Hill is the highlight of the weekend as the racers take on the River Parks Criterium. The day boasted temperatures over 95F with high humidity, along with racers motivated to leap-frog the Elevate-KHS hold on the top 3 positions in the overall, the racing heated up quickly.
Kevin Girkins quickly found himself on the attack, taking on Cry Baby Hill solo lap after lap. This allowed him to win the RedBull KOM jersey as bridging attempts began. A small group joined Girkins, including teammate Scott Law. This was the move that ultimately stayed away to to the finish line as they pushed the pace. With 6 riders coming into the final lap, Law had the help of Girkins to set him up perfectly to take a resounding win on the stage. Alfredo Rodriguez won the field sprint for 7th, which awarded him enough points to take the overall omnium victory. Scott Law finished 2nd overall, and Sam Bassetti moved to 5th in the standings.
These stand out results moved the team up in the PRT USA Cycling standings to No. 1, with Bassetti ranked 3rd and Rodriguez 6th. Piccoli is close behind in 9th and Law rounds out the top 11.
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