Daily photos by GaryCosby Jr.|
Bikes are packed tightly as the men’s pro-am division riders sprint away from the starting line.
The amazing race
Gunn, Olheiser finish 1-2 as rest of field can’t catch top pair in Pro-Am
By Josh Cooper
It seemed inevitable.
Curtis Gunn and Huntsville native Michael Olheiser remained in the lead for almost the entire men’s Pro-Am race at the inaugural Decatur Daily Downtown Criterium, but it didn’t seem they would keep it.
The race public address announcer, who is provided by the Criterium circuit, kept saying that they were going to get caught.
The main pack of riders looked primed to catch up to the pair. Racing teams sent their attackers to the front of the second group to try to reel in the pair.
They never did, and Decatur fans who attended Sunday afternoon’s event saw Gunn of the Successfulliving.com cycling team hold off Olheiser from the Memphis Motorwerks team to finish first and second. Both finished around 19 seconds in front of the rest of the field.
They broke away from the main group in the first two or three laps and stayed ahead the whole way.
“I was looking for laps — the more we worked, the bigger the gap would be,” Gunn said.
While Gunn celebrated the win, Mark Hekman of the amateur Abercrombie and Fitch team won the overall point standings for the series.
Michael Olheiser leads eventual winner Curtis Gunn as they sprint along Lee Street inDecatur. Olheiser eventually placed second.
Hekman, who won the Athens Twilight Criterium to start out the series, finished with 1,740 points. Cody Stevenson from the Jittery Joe’s team had 1,650 points.
Hekman had a sizable lead heading into the event, so the chances of his losing were small. He came in sixth place in the Decatur race.
“The lead was under reasonable control,” Hekman said. “I had to not get beat by 10 spots. They had beaten me before by 10 spots, but it ended up being real clean racing it just worked out real well.”
Hekman’s strategy was to be conservative and not push the issue, but at one point, near the end of the race, he appeared to be attacking.
After the race, he said he thought it was one of the mid-race money sprints.
As the race neared the end and it became apparent that the main group was not going to catch them, Gunn and Olheiser engaged themselves in a last-lap sprint.
According to Gunn, he thought that Olheiser was too strong, so he attacked to try to tire his opponent out with two laps left.
The strategy apparently worked, and Gunn pulled away just enough to finish with a time of 1 hour, 16:21.0 minutes to Olheiser’s 1:16:23.4.
Emile Abraham from the Priority Health team rounded out the top three in 1:16:39.9.
“I thought he had some more speed, so I tried attacking,” Gunn said. “I didn’t shake him but I think I hurt him.”
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