We just wrapped up the first 3 races of the Fyxation Open here in Milwaukee and as always, we're humbled by the entire experience. The Fyxation Open is in it's 5th year and every year this great event keeps getting better and better. We changed up the schedule a bit this year and we actually brought 3 Fyxation Open races to the Milwaukee area so fans and riders alike were able to enjoy 3 exciting nights of racing here in our hometown. (For those of you that missed the races, you can watch a live stream of the Fyxation Open Downer Classic race here at USACRITS.tv.)
What makes the Fyxation Open unique is that we're not a standalone event like some other fixed gear criteriums. Rather, the Fyxation Open has always chosen to partner with existing criteriums to host our events. Because of this, our races are held on the same day and on the same course as the Tour of America's Dairyland (TOAD) here in Milwaukee. This makes our event an all day experience for fans and riders and exposes thousands of new people each day to the exciting sport of fixed gear street criteriums. In addition, because our race is held with TOAD and on their same course, riders get to ride on a proven criterium course that is both fast and safe. Knock on wood, but in all 5 years of racing at the Fyxation Open we've only had a handful of crashes in our races. Whether you're racing in a road crit or a fixed crit, unfortunately, accidents happen. The venues we choose for the Fyxation Open are selected just as much for the number of fans in attendance but also for the safety of the riders. We check their bikes pre-race and our number one goal is that the riders have a safe race. Mission accomplished once again as there were no crashes in this year's Fyxation Open.
This year we held 3 races here in Milwaukee in the Village of Shorewood and in the Bay View and Downer neighborhoods in Milwaukee. These 3 venues are all unique and draw thousands of fans out to cheer on the competitors. Our races were held immediately after the women's pro races and before the men's pro races meaning that we had top billing during the event and our riders got to experience these exciting races both as competitors and spectators. There's nothing better for our riders than finishing a competitive race and then being able to kick back with the other riders and enjoy the men's pro race as spectators. Anyway, enough of setting the stage for our series, let's get into the race results.
Shorewood Criterium Results
The Shorewood stage of the Fyxation Open was new for this year and was only an exhibition race and not part of the Omnium. Because of this the rider numbers were a bit low but the race was exciting nonetheless. Full race results are available for all 3 stages of the Fyxation Open in Milwaukee are available here but here is a quick recap. The women's field was dominated by Team Metoeor/Intelligentsia with their three riders taking the top three spots. Previous Fyxation Open Omnium champion, Ash Duban took first followed by teammates Nicole Mertz and Lexie Millard.
The Men's race was an exciting event and was the first time that the powerhouse Team Aventon participated in the Fyxation Open. Aventon is a big supporter of fixed gear crit racing and they have a strong international team and they sent riders over from as far away as France to compete. One of these riders, Olivier Leroy actually flew in that day from France, landed at Ohare in Chicago, drove up to the Fyxation Open and proceeded to win the event! It was a fast and exciting race series veteran, Emile Abraham, took 2nd followed by Quinten Kirby, also of Team Aventon. The fans in Shorewood had never seen a fixed gear criterium before and our riders put on a fun, fast and competitive show and we had tons of great of feedback post race.
Bay View Classic - Fyxation Open Omnium Stage 1
On Friday, June 29th, the Fyxation Open headed a few miles south to the Bay View neighborhood in Milwaukee for our second day of racing and the 1st official points stage for the Fyxation Open Omnium. This is the third year that we've held the Fyxation Open in Bay View and even though the course changed up a bit, the event was as action packed and as exciting as ever. The Women's field for this night of racing was a bit larger than the Shorewood race and from the beginning Eleonore Saraiva of Team Aventon and Nicole Mertz staged an early attack and quickly separated themselves from the field. They rode out front the entire race and in a final sprint, Eleonore Saraiva finished 1st with Mertz just behind.
The Men's field had 30 competitors for Stage 1 of the Omnium and our international field got a bit larger with the additional of 2 riders from team Velo iBike in Montreal. The race got off to a quick start and riders took turns leading the group. The Aventon team increased their numbers in this race and had 4 competitors in the race. Each member of the Aventon team took turns attacking throughout the entire race and succeeded at their goal of tiring out the field. Late in the race, David Santos from Team Aventon and winner of this year's Mission Crit, took the lead and held onto it until the end of the race. It was a close race for 2nd and was won by Brandon Feehery riding for Stanridge Speed, followed by Olivier Leroy and Emile Abraham coming in 4th.
Downer Classic - Fyxation Open Omnium Stage 2
With the Omnium underway, the Fyxation Open headed back to Downer Avenue for a 3rd year and for the final race of our series in Milwaukee. The Downer race is a super popular venue for bike racing as riders have a chance to race through the heart of the Downer Avenue business district and then turn into a great neighborhood of old historic homes in Milwaukee. The course is fast and technical and of all our race venues, has some of the most challenging turns for a rider that has no brakes and must continue to pedal. In addition, the course is packed with fans and by the time the Fyxation Open was under way, thousands were in attendance to cheer our competitors on.
The women's race once again got off to a fast start with the ladies from the Meteor/Intelligentsia Team taking turns up front. Evelyn Sifton racing for Hexagon Cycles was in the hunt from the beginning and after taking 4th at Shorewood, 3rd in Bay View, she looked ready to claim a higher spot on the podium. 1st place winner from Bay View and Omnium leader, Eleonore Saraiva from Team Aventon was also in the hunt. After the final turn at Downer, there's a long straightaway and looking at the Jumbotron, we could see Saraiva, Mertz and Sifton gearing up for the sprint. When it was all said and done, Saraiva took 1st and Sifton edged out Mertz at the line to take 2nd. After 2 days of racing, Saraiva was firmly in control of the Omnium standings with Mertz in 2nd and Sifton sitting in 3rd. We'll be offering double Omnium points in Chicago so it's anyone's series to win at this point.
As the men lined up for the Downer Race you could see that the group was focused and that it was going to be an intense. After 2 days racing side by side, the riders knew the tactics of the other teams and everyone was ready for another fast race. The Velo iBike team with riders Nicolas Cote and Nicolas Cote (yes dos Cotes) immediately attacked and led some of the early laps, but the Aventon team started to attack again with hopes of splitting up the field. Brandon Feehery and Emile Abraham wouldn't let the Aventon riders go and the lead pack of about 10 riders stayed together throughout the race. As the riders headed into the final stretch it looked as if Aventon was about to take it's 3rd spot at the top of the men's podium but with a final burst of speed and a lunge, Brandon Feehery won in a photo finish. Quinten Kirby and Olivier Leroy from Aventon took 2nd and 3rd and our good friend, Emile Abraham, came in 4th again. Feehery heads into Chicago leading the Omnium points with the Aventon riders and Abraham close behind.
We love the Fyxation Open and and we love the riders, fans and the crew over at the Tour of America's Dairlyand. See you in Chicago on July 29th!