Bryan Gomez, Paola Muñoz on top at Momentum Indy round of American Criterium Cup

·4 min read

This article originally appeared on Velo News

Bryan Gomez (Best Buddies) and Paola Munoz (CWA Racing) took home the accolades in Momentum Indy’s elite men’s and women’s category Saturday night as part of the penultimate round of the American Criterium Cup.

The women’s 60-minute race enjoyed a full complement of teams, with the stacked DNA Racing squad once again gracing the start line of the America Criterium Classic. However, the most dominant team of L39ION of Los Angeles was potentially on the back foot, starting with just four riders during the penultimate round.

Points leader Andrea Cyr (Butcherbox) started the race just 10 points ahead of Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Racing) at the start of the criterium, but the Canadian champion, fresh from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, went to work immediately back on the American tarmac, picking up extra points in the first and second intermediate sprint, motivated to protect both her sprint and overall standings. Coles-Lyster was denied the triple by Emily Flynn (LA Sweat), who snuck by her during the final opportunity to collect points.

Because all ACC teams were represented in Indy, the pace remained so high no attacks were attempted until Butcherbox’s Paige Kostanecki went for a move 45 minutes into the race to shake things up. It didn’t last long, and the race continued en mass until the lap counter was brought out, and the dynamic switched for the lead-out.

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CWA Racing took to the front early for Chilean Olympian Paola Munoz, giving bigger teams DNA Racing and L39ION of Los Angeles, who had just four riders, a free ride until the final lap, when the two teams swarmed to the front.

However, another win at America Criterium Classic wasn’t in the cards for US criterium champ Kendall Ryan. She, her sister Alexis and a few others crashed around the final corner, leaving the door wide open for Munoz to take a jubilant victory. Sofia Arreola (Virginias Blue Ridge TWENTY24) was second and Coles-Lyster took third.

“I love (racing in here) because the level in the US is very, very high,” Munoz said. “It is very important for me to be here because the race is very different. And you kind of have a war here. The name Momentum Indy is very fast, very flat, and very technical. It is is really true.”

The men’s race started without frontrunners Michael Hernandez and Justin Williams (L39ION of Los Angeles), who USA Cycling recently suspended for fighting at the Salt Lake Criterium in July. Robert Sierra (Best Buddies) also received a suspension.

The men’s race started off with plenty of action, but it wasn’t until 20 minutes in that Johnathan Freter (Texas Roadhouse PB Athletic Brewing), Tim Smith (Alliance St. Louis) Tyler Williams (L39ION), Bryan Gomez (Best Buddies), Jonny Brown and Clever Martinez (Miami Blazers) Tanner Ward (Best Buddies), Tim Smith (Alliance Saint Louis), Curtis White (Best Buddies), Will Hardin and Hugo Scala Jr. (Project Echelon) emerged off the front.

The firepower and motivation of the front group kept them 30 seconds off the front for the majority of the race, until 15 laps to go, when Ward, who won in 2021, attacked to break up the group. Eventually, it came back together, and the front group continued to put time on the peloton.

As the laps wound down into single digits and the final points sprint was up for grabs, the break was just 10 seconds away from catching onto the back of the main peloton.

The break lapped the bunch with four laps to go, and Project Echelon was the first squad to organize their break riders at the front.

In the run into the finish, Cory Williams attempted to lead it out for his teammate, Tyler Williams, but Gomez had superior legs on the day. Hugo Scala Jr. (Project Echelon) took second and Williams was third.

The final round of the American Criterium Classic will be the Gateway Cup on September 4.

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