Ken Hanson Returns to BC Superweek With a Bang and Wins Brenco Criterium
Team NOW and Novartis for MS Take Top Two Podium Spots in Women’s Criterium
Despite a scary start which saw a crash on the first turn of the first lap, the 2013 Men’s Brenco Criterium, Stage Two of the Tour de Delta, went off without a hitch Saturday night, with a familiar team on top of the podium.
Just like NOW and Novartis for MS dominated the podium in the women’s race earlier in the evening, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies dominated in the men’s race with San Diego’s Ken Hanson finishing first and teammate Ryan Anderson of North Vancouver coming in second. For Anderson, it’s his second straight podium finish at BC Superweek this year, after winding up second in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterum.
In fact, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies had three of the top four finishers at the Brenco Criterium as sprinter Eric Young finished fourth behind Hanson, Anderson and BISSELL Pro Cycling’s Tommy Nankervis.
Despite Anderson’s finish to open BC Superweek, the riders on Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies weren’t satisfied with the overall team effort on Friday.
“Yesterday we didn’t really execute that well as a team and Ryan stepped up huge by getting second place,” Hanson said. “But we did have a strict game plan for today, we kept our cool and took control right at the last lap when we wanted to, did the perfect lead out, and the guys rode a perfect team race.”
On a personal level, a pure sprinter like Hanson excelled on the Brenco Criterium course, which runs through historic downtown Ladner.
“It was just about the team getting me and Eric into place,” Hanson added. “Ryan, who’s actually our lead out guy, had such a good day that he was able to hold on for second place, which is amazing and he definitely deserved it”
Hanson figures the crash to start the race was due to nerves and risks taken on behalf of some of the riders, but he figures it goes with the territory of being a cyclist at this level.
“It’s definitely not a good sign right off the bat, and it’s actually kind of a rare thing, but crashes are just a part of bike racing and certainly with criteriums your chances are a lot higher – I just chalk it up as an occupational hazard – it’s part of the job.”
Hanson loves coming to the Lower Mainland and competing in BC Superweek, as is evidenced by his back-to-back wins last year at the Gastown Grand Prix and the Giro di Burnaby and now a first place finish on day two this year.
“This is some of the best bike racing in North America hands down, and the series is fantastic, everyone is friendly, the crowds are good and the race courses are challenging and exciting. We love racing up here, in fact if we had even more racing up here, we’d come back as much as we could,” Hanson exclaimed. “Last year was huge for us winning back-to-back so that’s certainly a big goal later on this week, but before that, tomorrow’s a big objective for us with the UCI road race so we’re gunning for that and hopefully continue to building momentum for the rest of the week.”
Australian Tommy Nankervis of the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, who won this event back in 2011, came in a close third. Being on the podium is nothing new at BC Superweek for Nankervis as he took second place at the Giro di Burnaby and third overall at the Tour de Delta.
Team NOW and Novartis for MS continued its’ dominance at the 2013 Tour de Delta Saturday night at the 40 lap, 36 kilometre Women’s Brenco Criterium as Robin Farina of Nashville, Tennessee and Ireland’s Olivia Dillon finished 1-2 ahead of San Francisco’s Elle Anderson from Team Vanderkitten, who was also third on Friday night at the MK Delta Lands Criterium. Farina and Dillon’s teammate with NOW and Novartis for MS, Lex Albrecht, finished atop the podium Friday in Stage One of the Tour de Delta.
“Whenever you can have a break with numbers, it’s always in your favour and luckily I had a phenomenal teammate in Olivia Dillon where we really didn’t have to do a lot of work because we were leading the omnium points,” Farina expressed. “It was really up to Vanderkitten and Optum to push the brakes, it gave us a chance to take a breath and go for the big crowd preme at the end, so it was a great team effort and a fun night.”
Farina continued, saying that the victory was simply a product of working together with her cohorts with Team NOW and Novartis for MS, “This is a team sport, we like to ride as a team, we like to have fun as a team and that’s why we’re here.”
The excitement was at a fever pitch as almost every lap for the second half of the criterium was a preme lap. In fact, even the riders acknowledged it’s a pretty uncommon occurrence.
“We tend to follow those races, the races that give away lots of cash,” Dillon said jokingly. “And of course, the races that support women’s profile in the sport – that’s what we look for and that’s why we’re here.”
Despite back-to-back third place podium finishes to start BC Superweek, Anderson was surprised when she was presented with the Tour de Delta leader’s jersey.
“I hadn’t really done the math, but it was a really, really fun race and with so many premes, it kept the race so exciting,” said Anderson. “With every lap, you needed to be on and there were so few moments where you could take a breath, it all happened really fast and I was really glad to bridge up to those two lead riders and go on a little breakaway – it was just a really fun race.”
With three riders so close together toward the end, Anderson was conscious of being surrounded by NOW and Novartis for MS teammates.
“You definitely have to think about those situations and look around and assess who you’re with, I felt pretty confident that we could probably stay away but it was a lot of hard work to keep that gap,” added Anderson. “I was trying to see who was making those jumps and just going as hard as I could and that’s what it was all about tonight.”
Anderson will wear the leader’s jersey as the Tour de Delta wraps up with the White Spot Road Race on Sunday morning. BC Superweek continues with the UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday, July 9, the Gastown Grand Prix on July 10, Giro di Burnaby July 11, and three race Tour de White Rock from July 12 to 14.