The Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Hilton Clarke won Florida’s 2013 Delray Beach twilight criterium on Saturday, March 23, 2013, while teammate, Carlos Alzate, celebrated his birthday with a 3rd place finish. Sandwiched in between the UnitedHealthcare duo on the Muscle Milk podium was Shane Kline of Team SmartStop presented by Mountain Khakis, who took 2nd place.
Photo: Courtesy of Team Management
Team UnitedHealthcare’s five-man unit of Clarke, Alzate, Adrian Hegyvary, Karl Menzies, and Davide Frattini, took on the .7mile course of tight turns and straight-aways through the streets of downtown Delray Beach, Florida, with the customary level of focus and determination for which it has become known for. However, just two laps into the criterium, Frattini was involved in a race neutralizing crash which sent the seasoned pro and one of the most consistent members of the team to the hospital with a shoulder laceration that would require 37 staples.
Following the big pile up, the four remaining Team UnitedHealthcare riders rode hard for their fallen teammate. Alzate spent most of the race in the breakaway that was eventually chased down by Team SmartStop (which worked hard and well together throughout the race). After the break was caught and the field back together, the Blue Train organized and with 17 laps to go, started its lead out with precision, eventually controlling the race from 15 laps out.
In his post-race interview with race announcer, Chad Andrews, Clarke (who won the 2013 Cigar City Brewing Criterium in Tampa exactly one week earlier) talked about the role Frattini and his teammates play. The current NCC and USA CRITS overall leader said, “My team was just amazing tonight. They took me all the way to the last corner and I can’t thank them enought. Also, I can’t thank the crowd here in Delray enough. They were just incredible and it is a great feeling to come down the home stretch with so many people at such a great event.”
Andrews asked Clarke if he thought the breakaway would not only stick, but also lap the field. Clarke responded, “With about 30 laps to go we (Team UnitedHealthcare) had a chat and just said we’re going to ride for a sprint. With about 15 laps to go, we were controlling things and the team is really experienced in doing that. They worked all the way and led me out to about 100m to go and they were just amazing.”
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, spoke about the effort the squad put forth on the beautiful but humid night in Southeast Florida. Tamayo said, “The guys are on fire right now. Hilton is riding really well and when you have that kind of confidence, it helps all the boys ride better and with a reason. With only four riders, I was nervous because the responsibility is always on us. But they adjusted and executed.”
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROSTER FOR 2013 DELRAY BEACH twilight criterium: