Zak Kovalcik of the Sizzle Pie p/b Veloforma team won the Elite Omnium Track National Championships in South Carolina this past weekend. On Friday he won the flying lap and elimination races, then Kovalcik used a winning kilometer time trial effort to secure the overall victory. Teammate Al Urbanski joined Kovalcik on the podium, snagging third, with Stefan Rothe (Tulsa Tough) in second.
Great job by Zak and Al, and more terrific results for the all-business carbon Veloforma Pista Pro track bike!
Kovalcik broke down the racing action for us:
The Omnium is a six-discipline event run over two days of competition. Day one starts with a flying one-lap, 250 meter time trial that favors riders with an explosive sprint. Second is the longest event: the 30k, 120-lap points race. Riders accumulate points with sprint laps every 10 laps. Finishing off day one is the tactical elimination race where all the action is at the back of the race. One rider is eliminated every other lap until two riders remain and they sprint for the final placings.
Day two begins with a 4k pursuit time trial favoring steady endurance riders. The penultimate race is the 15k scratch race: 60 laps, first one over the line wins. The event finishes with the 1k time trial: an explosive all-out effort and possibly the most painful.
The omnium is scored cumulatively over the six races. For each race, the first place rider receive one point, second place two points and so on. The rider with the fewest points at the end wins.
I came into this event petty confident, but there were a quite a few riders I didn't know beforehand. I knew I had good form and my sprint had been good. I won the flying lap with a time of 14.130 – three-tenths faster than second place. Al got 3rd with a 14.559. Some of the top riders I did know about were pretty far down since they are more endurance-based riders.
The format has one event in the morning and two in the evening, so we were all done after that short effort. Unfortunately we came back to a bad storm and had a one-hour delay and almost no warm up before the points race. It kind of killed some of the momentum, and the points race didn't go so well. There were a handful of riders that were not terribly experienced at racing at this level, and the race just had no flow. I kept getting stuck in traffic and missing moves while riders were gaining laps on the field and the 20 point bonus that goes along with it. I amassed 30 points just on sprints without taking a lap, but I ended up sixth. I was still in the overall lead while some more threatening riders moved up in the standings.
The elimination race was better as most of the strong riders were at the front pushing the pace. Daniel Holt and I were the last riders left, and I then turned on my match sprint skills learned from my coach, Brian Abers to take the win and further my lead.
In the second day of racing, Kovalcik relied on his 1k TT strength to finalize his win and take home the illustrious National Championship jersey. “I know it's a strong event for me,” Kovalcik told USA Cycling. “I always have a good finish kick so I was pretty confident about the kilo. I saw the guy at the table setting the jerseys out, and I got a little excited.”
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