One of the biggest rivalries in Midwest bicycle racing will come to a head this Saturday in Indianapolis. In the first race of the 2005 Truesport Metro GP series both the Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team and the hometown Bacardi-NUVO Cycling Team will fire an opening salvo.
Curtis Tolson, leader, Texas Roadhouse Bike Team
Now in its third year, the Truesport Metro GP features five bicycle races for all levels of competitors - from beginners to professionals. The series opens June 25 at Brookside Park on Indy's near Eastside. It is one of the oldest running bicycle races in the U.S. Carmel will host the second race on July 10 and then the following two races come back to Indy for the Butler University and Major Taylor Velodrome events on July 23 and 30, respectively. The series finale will be in Bloomington on Aug. 6 on a very exciting and spectator-friendly circuit in front of the gates to IU.
The series format is similar to that of a track meet: The riders score points as individuals but those points are then added to each team's overall tally. The team with the most points at the end of the series will be declared winner. Within each race, however, a complex set of tactics will be played out as the teams attempt to use their rival's weaknesses to their advantage.
The Texas Roadhouse/Bacardi-NUVO rivalry goes far beyond this particular race series; these two teams bash heads nearly every weekend from March through September with the Metro GP series acting as another manifestation of the rivalry. In 2004, Texas Roadhouse took overall honors ahead of Bacardi-NUVO. This rivalry was also played out on a smaller scale as Patrick O'Donnell (Texas Roadhouse) and Aaron Hubbell (Bacardi-NUVO) engaged in a very heated competition for the individual honors - Hubbell narrowly squeaked out the victory by out-sprinting O'Donnell in the final race.
Aaron Hubbell, leader, Bacardi/NUVO Bike Team
Bacardi-NUVO is represented by key local riders Declan Doyle, Dean Peterson and Aaron Hubbell, and will be looking for a great performance from new addition Jason Sonneborn of Bloomington. Texas Roadhouse has always fielded a team with great depth and talent and have continued that trend by adding to the team a number of former professionals from Ohio to back up Curtis Tolson from Louisville and Harry Clark from Indy.
Duke-Big Brothers, who finished third in the series last year, will be playing spoiler, hoping to use the rivalry to their advantage. Locals John Kelly, Matt Riggs and Doug Pederson, along with Karim Abdelkader from Bloomington, will likely look to put in sneak attacks whenever Bacardi-NUVO and Texas Roadhouse are occupied with each other.
Many other riders and teams from throughout the Midwest will participate in the series that features fast courses, hard racing and exciting finishes. Packs of riders up to 80-strong will fly through corners at over 30mph and sprint at nearly 40mph as they ceaselessly pursue victory.
The racing begins this Saturday in Brookside Park at 8:30 a.m. with the beginners; the showcase Pro-Am event begins at 12:20.