Murph' takes U.S. Criterium title in Downers Grove

By Michael Zellmann

Intensely focused John Murphy (Team OUCH/Maxxis - middle of pic) would be a National Champion two hours after this photo was taken.

The Men's race was drenched in heavy rains and filled with countless crashes. Several SRAM-equipped teams including Jelly Belly, Kelly Benefits, and Team OUCH, were eager to win one of the most popular and long-lived National Championship in Downers Grove.

The chaos of the final laps would be impossible to capture here but riders came across the line one-two with Fly V Australia's Ben Kersten taking the win and American John Murphy scoring the Championship Jersey as the first American.

Murphy rolled through the chaos of the final turn, which featured a kamikazee crash by Rahsaan Bahati, that held up some of the major players. Murphy was in perfect position regardless.

Just prior to the race start Team OUCH/Maxiss Tires' Mike Tamayo stated, "We're going to win this and then we're going to Utah and win some more." A confident and accurate Tamayo also predicted that "Murph" would be wearing the jersey after its all said and done.

In the Women's race SRAM equipped riders took 2nd and 3rd. 2008 champion Brooke Miller (TIBCO) rode to a strong second place behind six-time champion Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter Home). And Pro Man's Shelley Olds took third, moving up several places out of the final turn.

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Women's championship podium - top three L to R - Brooke Miller (TIBCO - 2nd), Tina Pic (Colavita), and Shelley Olds (Pro Man)

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