The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team had a fantastic campaign at the 2017 North Star Grand Prix. With 6 stages spanning 5 days, this PRT event is one of the most challenging on the calendar. Beyond the intensity of the event is the challenge of the technical aspects the courses boast.
Beginning with a 5 mile time trial, the general classification was set with Cory Lockwood and Innokenty Zavyalov 7th & 8th going into stage 2. The St. Paul Criterium was on a different course this year and the excitement increased as the race was restarted with just a few laps remaining. The team remained focused and Alfredo Rodriguez sprinted to an impressive victory ahead of Justin Williams – Cylance and Ty Magner from Hincapie.
The Menomonie Road Race, stage 3, found the Elevate-KHS riders at the front of the peloton, with the height of excitement coming from a late day breakaway of power houses Connor Brown and Cory Lockwood. With over 2 minutes on the field with 40K remaining, the duo committed to going 100% which forced the other teams to chase. Although they were caught before the finishing circuits, their efforts allowed Alfredo Rodriguez to sprint for another podium, finishing 3rd on the day. Connor Brown was also awarded the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey at the end of the stage.
The Uptown Critierum, Stage 4, saw the team commit to leading Alfredo out for each Sprint Lap as well as gathering up as many of the remaining sprint points as possible. These efforts helped to ensure his lead in the Jacks Linxs Sprinter Jersey was secure for another stage. Ultimately, Alfredo placed 4th and Connor Brown was again awarded the Most Aggressive Rider jersey for the night.
The North Mankato Road Race proved to be challenging from the start. With Brian McCulloch working hard in multiple breakaways, this allowed Alfredo and Cory Lockwood to stay protected until the finish. As the group dwindled on the challenging finishing circuits, Cory Lockwood and Connor Brown held their own, finishing in the front group and ensuring Cory retained his top 10 GC, and Alfredo the sprint jersey.
Closing out the event with the Stillwater Criterium is always a tough day on the bike. With an 18% climb each lap, the team had their work cut out for them. They led the peloton to set Alfredo up to receive maximum sprint points which meant he would win the Sprint Leaders Jersey for the event. While the field continued to thin out, Cory Lockwood stayed in the front group and with his top 20 finish he was able to move up to 5th place overall for the event. This is a break through performance for him which is very exciting heading into US Professional Road Championships this weekend.
Through the commitment of the whole team from staff to riders, after the week of racing the team had received 2 Most Aggressive rider jerseys; 1 stage win; 3rd place on a stage; the Overall Sprint Leaders Jersey; and 5th overall. Congratulations!