After three difficult days of racing the MetLife team put it together for the final day at the Downtown Burlington Criterium. The MetLife boys fielded two teams for the four day Green Mountain Stage Race this Labor Day, with Corey Masson, Andrew Gardner, Chris Coutu and Peter Bell representing the elite category 2s, while Charles McCarthy, Vinnie Scalia, Austin Roach, Nick Bennette, Ryan Fleming, Tim Mitchell and Brad Sheehan toed up to the line with the Pro/1 race.
The three previous days had included heartbreak of Coutu and Gardner’s day long breakaway getting caught in the circuit race, as well as the devastating crash of Mitchell and Sheehan within sight of the finish line. A difficult second day over and through the mountains of Vermont allowed no one to hide in the peloton and the finish atop of the highest paved road in Vermont, Appalacian Gap, allowed the climbers to showcase their abilities.
It was the criterium however that truly tested the mettle of the MetLife boys, with one of the most difficult and technical criteriums in New England. To counter this, Bell was able to get to the front early and stay there, waiting until 7 laps to go to jump off the front of the group. Joined by James Morrison of Embrocation, the duo were able to stay just out in front of a fast-charging peloton through the final corner. As the group caught onto the back of the breakaway, Bell started his sprint, just holding off Morrison and a strong James Tosca of Corner Cycle.
In the Pro/1 race, Bennette also took advantage of good positioning early on, staying close to the front as the group shredded behind him. Coming into the last corner, Bennette was shoulder to shoulder with some of the best sprinters around, and managed a more than respectable sixth place.
Today, the team travels down to eastern Pennsylvania to contest one of the largest races in the US, the Univest Grand Prix. Historically a gateway for some of the sport’s top talent, this three day international UCI race will be televised live on Universal Sports and www.universalsports.com. Watch the MetLife boys race some of the best racers in North America and Europe.