So I will do another Belgium post but in the meantime I just want to say a word about Crit Nationals. I won’t be going. There’s a wedding I have to go to up in Asheville on Saturday instead. And I’m not really bummed about it for two reasons.
First, last year was kinda dumb. I was away, by myself, for about an hour. Now, I love breakaways as much as the next guy, but I’d really like to have some company, plus I’m no diesel engine. The fact that I got 2 minutes on the field (half a lap) should indicate to you how easy things were going in the field. If you want to see how to wait for a field sprint, watch crit nationals. With big teams like Optum and UHC wanting a field sprint last year, a breakaway had a snowball’s chance in Hell to stay away. Plus, I didn’t get a SINGLE PRIME…thanks Chad.
Also, even if I were to go race for a sprint, there’s almost no chance to compete with some of the big name sprinters or teams.
Second, USACycling, and most Pro teams for that matter could care less about Crit nationals. Yes it’s obviously a big deal if you as an individual win, but as a team, it doesn’t count for much. How many times did Eric Young get to wear his jersey last year? And how many times were Holloway and that U23 kid line up in their kits at Crits this year. The fact that you could potentially have 3 guys wearing a national championship kit in a race sort of devalues the jersey.
I’m with most other pro guys that think it’s shitty that USA cycling is allowing Amateurs into the event. Don’t get me wrong, the amateur teams going to Crit Nationals deserve to be there MORE than most Pro teams (Champion System, UHC, and our Astellas guys being the exception). You want to know why? It’s because teams like Athlete Octane, Stan’s-No Tubes, KHS, CRCA, and SeaSucker that believe in Criterium racing and have actually sent teams to do all of the races.
It sucks because USACycling is basically saying: if you’re a low budget Professional team, like many that exist below the resource level to do the big Cali, Utah, Colorado, or International tours and focus on American Racing, you’re wasting your money.
American racing IS criterium racing. Crit racing is exiting, it’s fast, it’s dangerous, and there’s usually drunk people watching; you can’t deny the entertainment factor. With all the live streaming and easy promotion that you can do street level, it has the kind of grassroots potential that is difficult to ignore. Just look at how many people are spectating at Tour of Alberta or how long you can stand to sit and watch a stage for.