Conor White impresses at Speed Week criterium series in Georgia
Conor White held his own competing in the Speed Week criterium series in Georgia last weekend.
The Bermudian managed top-20 finishes in the three races he competed in among a formidable field, with a best showing of fourth.
He avoided a late crash on the way to finishing sixteenth at the Athens Twilight “On The Stage” Race last Friday to get his weekend off to a promising start.
“I think I could have done a little bit better,” White told The Royal Gazette. “However, with about five laps to go there was a crash right in front of me and somehow I managed to stay on my bike and not go down.
“I managed to hold on to sixteenth, which was still pretty good. I think there were like 60 starters.”
The CS Velo Racing rider was the sole member of his team competing at the event.
“I didn’t really have any expectations because was riding by myself,” the 22-year-old said. “My team was at another race, so I had no team-mates there.
“I had no pressure and was just going to do the best I could.”
White improved on that showing by placing twelfth in the Athens Orthopaedic Clinic Twilight Criterium in Ultra the next day.
He did well to stay remain within sight of the lead group and avoid being lapped to complete the gruelling race.
“On one of the laps I went to the front of the main group and managed to get a little bit of a gap on the peloton,” White said. “I knew that was my moment to go, so I just sprinted as hard as I could up the little rise.
“I managed to close the gap to the breakaway and bridged up by myself. Eventually we started working together as a group of 13 riders.
“We ended up lapping the main field, so after that only 13 guys can win the race unless someone else broke away from the group and lapped up as well, which was not going to happen.
“It was such a long race that I just had nothing left at the end and could not even sprint. But I still managed twelfth, which was really good.”
White saved his best for last with a solid fourth place in the shorter Spin the District Criterium in College Park on Sunday.
“It was a 16-minute criterium instead of an hour, which was a bit nicer on the legs but was just as hard,” he added.
White was among the lead group but fell off the pace after a rival made an attack during the latter stages.
“I sprinted as hard as I could but just could not hang on,” he said. “I lost contact and just could not close the gap.
“I was out there solo and at that point I was like, ‘don’t get caught by the main peloton’ with only a few laps to go.
“I managed to still dig deep and hold them off, and ended up finishing 16 seconds back from the winner but still ahead of the main peloton in fourth.
“It was my best result of the weekend, so I am happy with that.”
The seven-race Speed Week criterium series took place in South Carolina and Georgia, with the Athens Twilight Criterium serving as the main event.
“This is often referred to as the biggest criterium in the United States and, based on the crowd size, the amount of people there was insane,” White said.
“It was an insane atmosphere which was pretty cool. It was also at night-time which made it even more cool.“