Cyckelcity’s Jonas Ahlstrand Takes Dramatic Win in 2010 Univest Grand Prix

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- September 11, 2010

Cyckelcity’s Jonas Ahlstrand Takes Dramatic Win in 2010 Univest Grand Prix

Bissell Pro Cycling, United Healthcare, Lead American Contingent, Powerful Amore & Vita Looking to Repeat 2009 Sweep

Race Results

Souderton, Pa. - An all-out effort by the powerful Amore Vita squad and series of aggressive attacks by Neil Shirley of Kelly Benefits Strategies helped close a 40-second gap with two kilometers to go in Saturday’ Univest Grand Prix. But it was the final strike by Cykelcity’s Jonas Alhstrand that gave the young Swedish champion his first international elite victory.

Ahlstrand’s countryman Michael Olsson of the PA Lightning team took second and American Nick Frey of Jamis Sutter Home/Colavita got third in the reconfigured North American pro-am classic that featured constant attacks and breakaways and led to the largest pack sprint in race history.

Cykelcity’s Jonas Ahlstrand takes a dramatic win in the 2010 Univest Grand Prix to give the young Swede his first international elite victory. Photo by marcoquezada.com.

“We watched the large groups go and come back, go and come back,” Ahlstrand said. “I had good legs but Amore Vita had five guys left and they pushed really hard.”

Amore Vita is sponsored locally by Detwiler Hershey & Associates. Cykelcity is sponsored locally by Klehr Harrison.

Amore Vita, with defending Souderton champion Volodomyr Starchyk and two-time Doylestown winner Yuriy Metlushenko in the field sent all of their guys to the front in the final laps, setting a pace that was impossible for the breakaway to withstand. Yet even after the pack came together in the final kilometer, Shirley kept attacking until Ahlstrand’ jump with 500 meters to go on a downhill sprint.

Shirley – along with Amore Vita’ Vladislav Borisov of Russia, Canadian Ryan Roth of Spidertech Powered by Planet Energy and Frank Pipp of Bissell Pro Cycling – looked to have the winning break with three laps left.

“We hit the final five circuits and it was ‘game on,’+” said Shirley, who expected his attacks to wear out the others. “I looked at the other guys and I could tell they were feeling it. I felt we were going to be able to keep it up but the pack came up faster than expected.”

The new Univest Grand Prix course designed by race organizer John Eustice of Sparta Cycling featured 11 laps on a 5.8-mile figure-8 course in Souderton, Franconia and Telford and five finishing laps on a 3.8-mile loop in Souderton. The course was designed to enhance spectator appeal and the large crowds gathered at the finish line and along Souderton” deceptively steep Wile Avenue hill – as well as the fast speeds and exciting racing – justified that decision.

“Based on the spectacular finish, the daylong racing action, the crowd attendance and enthusiasm, I feel absolutely certain I made the right decision to change the race course,” Eustice said afterward. “This is the future of road racing, especially in urban areas and maybe even in Europe.”

None of the early breaks was able to maintain a consistent lead and riders kept reshuffling the early standings but the constant turns and 16 times up Wile Avenue kept the strongest riders in contention until the end. However, with only three kilometers left it looked like the winning break of four riders would stay away until defending champions Amore Vita went to the front and hit the gas.

“It was really close at the end. I had to throw my bike across the line for third,” said Frey, who also won the Bergey’ First American Award in his fourth attempt to finish the Univest Grand Prix. “That hill, going up every single time, was like a grinder. This was a European-style race – always hard and aggressive.”

Olsson said the race was really fast right from the start. He had some difficulty adjusting to the almost constant turns but found his rhythm as the race progressed, he said.

Cykelcity coach Aike Visbeek, a Univest Grand Prix veteran, who earlier in the week said the new course had national championship potential, said the race lived up to its promise. “It was exciting to the finish,” he said.

Visbeek said he was surprised that the final break was pulled back but it played right into Cykelcity’ strategy.

“With almost 40 seconds to go and one lap, I thought it was going to be incredibly tight,” he said. “But we had four guys and there were all prepared to work for Jonas.”

In addition to the top three places and Frey’s Best American award, other awards included:

  • The Univest Grand Prix yellow jersey to Ahlstrand
  • Alderfer & Leidy” Premium Meat Products Best Sprinter jersey to Joey Rosskofh of Team Mountain Khakis/Jittery Joe” Coffee
  • King of the Mountain jersey to defending jersey holder Bernardo Colex Tepoz of Amore Vita
  • The Intelligencer Most Aggressive Rider jersey to Neil Shirley.

Racing continues Sunday at the always-fast Univest Criterium of Doylestown, which includes 50 miles of high-speed action on a 1.4 mile course around the perimeter of the Doylestown Arts Festival in Bucks County.

Race Results

For More Information

Kim Detwiler
VP, Director of Corporate Communications
Univest Corporation
215-721-8396
detwilerk@univest.net
www.univest.net

 

Joe McDermott
Media Director
Univest Grand Prix
484-860-2289
jysmcd@ptd.net
www.spartacycling.com

About the Univest Grand Prix

From its inception, the Univest Grand Prix has united the towns throughout Bucks and Montgomery counties for a weekend of community celebration while offering a unique showcase for the best young talent in cycling. The pro event is presented by Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania,Alderfer and Leidy’s, WFMZ-69, and Comcast SportsNet. For more information visit www.univestgrandprix.com.

About Univest Corporation

Headquartered in Souderton, Pa., Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania (UVSP) and its subsidiaries Univest National Bank and Trust Co., Univest Insurance, Inc., Univest Investments, Inc., and Univest Capital, Inc.,serve the financial needs of residents, businesses, and nonprofit organizations in Bucks, Chester, Montgomery and Lehigh counties. For more information please visit www.univest.net.

About Sparta Cycling

Sparta Cycling provides race promotion services to deliver world class events that meet the needs of sponsors, teams and riders, spectators and supporting communities. For more information, please visit www.spartacycling.com