Professional bike racing returns to Scranton for the first time since 1980 with the Inaugural Electric City Classic. The two days of racing started with a 10-turn $10,000 criterium in Downtown Scranton for Pro Women and Men and concluded with a Hill Climb Tournament up the cobbled Olive Street.
New Zealand sprinter, Olivia Ray outkicks competition to take the Electric City Classic.
The first edition of the Electric City Classic Criterium brought riders from across the globe to contest the fast and technical 10-turn course in Downtown Scranton. Pocono native Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) brought in a few teammates to try and take on CWA Racing p/b TREK’s full squad including Samantha Schneider to Scranton in hopes of securing the top step. Early primes within the race saw other riders challenge the dominant CWA Racing including Sammy Fox of Philly Bike Expo and Jamie Gilgen (Mellow Mushroom) and Paige Kostaneki (Wolfpack Racing), but CWA was not shut out of those intermediate sprints thanks to Madison Kelly.
These early primes instigated several breakaway attempts, however, Sam Schneider, Caroline Baur, and their CWA Racing team shut each move down. In the closing laps, the inevitability of a field sprint became apparent to the racers and the pace slowed. With one lap to go Mellow Mushroom and CWA Racing leadouts fought for control, but it was Ray who surprised the field by jumping early going into the final turn holding off Schnieder and Ray’s Pickle Juice Pro Cycling teammate Colleen Gullick in third.
Gomez wins his first race back in the US.
The combination of the high caliber men’s field and the technical 10-corner course saw many attempts at breakaways. Throughout the night, breakaways formed for a handful of laps only to be reeled back by the collective effort of the peloton. After the early flurry of attacks, Frank Travieso (EDS Construction) and Bryan Gomez (Gateway Harley Davidson) found themselves off the front with over 10 seconds on the field, which was enough to be two turns ahead of the bunch. But it was Hayden Strong (Texas Roadhouse) and Alberto Ramos (Rockleigh Cycling Club) who bridged across to make the group of four. Once they connected, the bunch immediately went into chase mode, including Connor Sallee (Butcherbox Pro Cycling) and Reading Radsport Festival winner, Shane Kline (Smart Stop Self-Storage). But as stronger riders went across, the group eventually became 15, lost its cohesiveness, and the bunch was able to bring it back together.
It was not until 10 laps to go that a large crash in the field caused confusion and allowed a few small groups to form at the front of the field. Many strong riders were involved in the crash. When they were reintroduced to the race, they were put into the field while these small groups were sorting themselves out at the front. During these hesitations, Bryan Gomez and Travis Clayton (Kreitler Rollers) found themselves with a few seconds advantage. Before anyone realized it, the two had built up a 15-second advantage. Even with two primes being offered, the field was not able to organize enough to bring the break back before the finish. With one lap to go, the duo had 35 seconds and Travis led for most of the lap, which allowed Gomez to come over the top of him prior to the final corner to take the race win. It was Tom Gibbons (Automatic Racing) who would take the final podium spot in the bunch kick to the line.
Day two is a Hill Climb Tournament up the cobbled Olive Street in the Hill Section of Scranton. The three pitch climb starts with two paved sections and finishes on the 20% cobbled third pitch. Open Men, Open Women and Open Fixed Gear each raced at least two times up the climb, with the number of runs determined by the total number of starters.
In the Open Fixed Gear Tournament, Andrew Dudle (Doylestown Bikeworks pb Fred Beans) convincingly took the tournament in two rides by winning both heats over Clayton Travis (Kreitler Rollers) and Colin Fitzgerald (CS Velo pb Cannondale). Notably, Fitzgerald also raced the Open Men’s Hill Climb Tournament, which had him race five times up the 20% cobbled Olive Street.
The Open Women’s Tournament saw Saturday night’s criterium winner Olivia Ray (Pickle Juice Pro Cycling) win again by besting the rest of the field in two rides. Second in the tournament was junior athlete Vanessa Romano (Young Medalists) who bettered Emma Bast (Levine Law Group pb Husby.com) in two rides.
Frank Travieso got his race win in the Open Men’s Tournament (EDA Evolution Cycling Team) by winning his Qualifier, Semi-Final and Final rides. Travieso bettered Scott McGill (Aevolo Cycling) and Juan Pimental Jr (CRCA/Jamison-Cannondale) in the close final. Pimental Jr had the lead right until the cobbles when Travieso was first to the cleanest line forcing McGill and Pimental Jr to rougher lines over the final 50 meters.