The American Criterium Cup final event, The Giro Della Montagna, part of the four-day Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup, was every bit the electric finish we expected from the event and a peloton of the best criterium racers in the world. Highlighting that criterium racing is primarily an American sport, the ACC draws on 10 iconic races, showcasing various cities and the strength of road racing in America.

Why American Criterium racing?

American road racing has had its ups and downs, flourishing when an American succeeds on the European stage but falling recently in popularity due to the growth of Gravel riding, with its more participatory events and generally more relaxed atmosphere. Road racing and criterium racing are not for the faint of heart, and unlike participating in one or two gravel events for personal achievement, Criterium athletes spend hours a week training and preparing for those 70 to 90 minutes on a weekend where they can compete and spend years gaining experience to move up through the ranks. While the number of Americans entering the sport may ebb and flow, the American racing scene is essential to athletes from all over the world, especially Mexico, Central, and South America, where programs and racing opportunities are less plentiful. You don’t have to look too far down a finish list to find riders from Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, and other Spanish-speaking nations. With an estimated 70% of the racing peloton native Spanish speakers or other Nationalities, it’s clear that the racing here impacts a World stage.

So, the sport’s health here impacts the overall health of the sport globally by providing the majority of Professional cyclists an opportunity to compete at a high level, launching them to greater achievements throughout their careers. In this way, the American Criterium Cup events are a true melting pot for athletes, open to anybody willing to line up and race.

The ACC Finale

Headed into our penultimate event, IU Health Momentum Indy, there was excitement for the final two events in the men’s race. Only 29 points separated American Cycling Group’s Danny Summerhill in the lead and NCL’s Miami Night’s Alfredo Rodriguez in the second. Rodriguez had unfinished business with the ACC after 2022, leaving the series with a broken collarbone while in the lead. But the NCL pulled travel support after their final Atlanta event, leaving many foreign riders who had gone home during the break unable to return and riders like Rodriguez sidelined during the last two events. This situation set up Summerhill to clinch the series win at IU Health Momentum Indy. While Rodriguez had enough points to retain second place, riders Bryan Gomez and Clever Martinez fell due to their absence.

The Maimi Nights Women’s squad also had a low turnout at IU Health Momentum Indy. But, Overall leader Paola Muñoz and an entire squad of American-based riders did attend the final Bommarito Audi Gateway Cup.

The Women’s Race

The Giro Della Montagne is an established race in St. Louis’ historic Italian neighborhood called “The Hill.” With a starting line in front of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Father Jack said a prayer for a safe race and good competition. Those prayers must have been heard because fans were treated to a fast-paced race preventing any significant breakaway, leaving riders in a constant battle for position as the laps winnowed toward a field sprint. As we’ve seen many times this season, when Cuban rider Marlies Mejias Garcia of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Twenty24 is racing, she’s tough to beat. Garcia would take the win and seventh in the ACC overall standings. L39ion of Los Angeles’ Samantha and Skylar Schneider would take second and third, respectively, giving their team enough points to win the Team competition and Skylar enough points to take third overall in the ACC. Miami Night’s Paola Muñoz would get fifth for the day, taking the ACC overall win, with teammate Andrea Cyr retaining second.

ACC Women’s Overall Final

  1. Paola Muñoz, Miami Nights
  2. Andrea Cyr, Miami Nights
  3. Skylar Schneider, L39ion of Los Angeles
  4. Samantha Schneider, L39ion of Los Angeles
  5. Kendall Ryan, L39ion of Los Angeles

DNA Pro Cycling’s Kim Lucie would contest two of the three intermediate sprints, adding to her uncatchable total over Rachel Plessing of ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK. Plessing would also win points in two of three sprints, solidifying her second place over third place Holly Breck of DNA Pro Cycling.

The Men’s Race

After his relegation at IU Health Momentum Indy, American Cycling Group’s Danny Summerhill stated he would win at the Giro Della Mongtagna, repeating his 2022 win and for redemption—prophetic words from Summerhill, who already had the series won.

Unlike the women’s race, the men were more inclined to attack in hopes of getting away. Miami Nights’ Frank Travieso would make a considerable effort, staying away solo for several grueling laps, eventually coaxing several riders from the peloton in a chase. One of those riders was Summerhill, looking to make good his promise. This small group of seven would stay clear the entire race, marking each other for the final sprint. Ultimately, Summerhill would be unstoppable, with only Travieso and Denver Disruptors Noah Granigan able to respond, taking second and third, respectively.

This win proved Summerhill the most dominant racer of the season, and with his ACG teammates, Jamie Castañeda and Jordan Para, this trio would prove deadly at most of the ACC events. Their consistency all season, along with Michael Hernandez, Robert Sierra, and Sebastian Cano, would put ACG firmly at the top of the Team Competition over a stacked field of hitters.

ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK’s Dusan Kalaba would prove himself as a rider to pay attention to in the coming seasons, taking third Overall and in the Sprint competitions. This team of younger riders had a great ACC season and should be expected only to get better.

ACC Men’s Overall Final

  1. Danny Summerhill, American Cycling Group
  2. Alfredo Rodriguez, Miami Nights
  3. Dusan Kalaba, ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK
  4. Brandon Feehrey, Miami Blazers
  5. Clever Martinez, Miami Nights

Summerhill would also win the Sprint race, earning this title early in the series. Teammate Hernandez would climb into second overall, while Kalaba would end the series in third.

  1. Danny Summerhill, American Cycling Group
  2. Michael Hernandez, American Cycling Group
  3. Dusan Kalaba, ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK
  4. Robin Carpenter, L39ion of Los Angeles
  5. Bryan Gomez, Miami Nights

American Cycling would sweep the series with a win in the Team competition, besting some powerhouse teams. And proving that Kabala is not the only consistent rider on ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK, the team won third, proving their rise in 2023 was no fluke.

ACC Men’s Sprint Final

  1. American Cycling Group
  2. Miami Nights
  3. ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK
  4. L39ion of Los Angeles
  5. Project Echelon Racing

Video highlights

The American Criterium Cup will continue in 2024 with another action-packed series of the best criterium racing in America. More details will be available at Complete series results are available here.