Denes win in Dalton, cycling team preps for SECCC Championship


(photo courtesy of Mercer Cycling) Gabe Denes’ yellow machine cruised to victory in a rain-soaked race in Dalton last weekend.


(photo courtesy of Mercer Cycling) Gabe Denes' yellow machine cruised to victory in a rain-soaked race in Dalton last weekend.

He’s just going darn fast these days. Gabe Denes finally broke through with a Criterium win in Dalton for Mercer’s first crit win of the season. Denes’ finish on his highlighter yellow Specialized S-Works machine was only one of many top results for the Mercer Cycling during the past month or racing.

In early March, a small group from the team traveled south to Tallahassee for the Seminole Cycling Classic in which Kevin Roberts would take 5th in the individual time trial with a blistering 6:05 with teammate Denes on his heels at 6:16 to take 15th. Austin Sholly would take 12th in the Men’s C category time trial with a 6:54.

A strong effort during the Criterium helped Denes mark the 5th place at the finish line while Roberts, despite working hard to bridge gaps early in the race would fade back to 13th in the 34 man field.  Austin Sholly would fight for 29th place in a huge ‘C’ category race with 47 entries. The road race results were cancelled the following day after an altercation with the local police and a mix-up on racing permits, thus nullifying all results.

Following the race, Roberts would experience a bout of tendinitis in his knee, leaving him unable to train for the rest of the month while another part of the team would travel to Georgia Tech for the road race events.

Denes, Andrew Lockwood, and Elizabeth Lee would compete in Saturday’s race close in Handy, Ga. in which Denes would stay with the main ‘B’ category peloton in route to a 11th place finish. Lockwood would drop off after the second lap, soloing the final four laps of the race for 20th. In the women’s ‘A’ category, Elizabeth Lee would take a strong top-10 on a very hilly course.

After the hilly Georgia Tech race, Denes went on to ride to a 4th place finish in the Union City road race presented by the Georgia Cup racing series, followed by his win in a rainy Dalton race.

“I pushed it really hard in our four-man breakaway late in the race,” said Denes following his win. “I was able to make a move with my Trey Crisp of the local Georgia Neurological Institute team to win the thing in the rain. It was a great feeling,” he added.

Sholly would come up with a great finish of his own, a podium finish, taking third in the Category 5 fieldsprint in the Criterium the same day. Denes would continue his strong Georgia Cup showing with a 5th place finish the next day in the road race.

The streak of top finishes bodes well for the team’s confidence heading into the month of April in which they’ll encounter plenty of top competition from around the southeast in the SECCC Championship, hosted by Mercer, April 16-17, as well as at the Athens Twilight Criterium (April 23), Roswell Historic Criterium (April 24), and Georgia State Criterium Championships (May 7). The Georgia State Criterium Championship is hosted by the local Georgia Neurological Institue Cycling team around Tattnall Square park on Saturday, March 7, serving as the second annual Macon Cycling Classic. After a successful first year in 2010, local promotors hope the event will be an even greater success come May.