Two time U.S. National Criterium Champion Eric Young wins MK Delta Criterium

Matt Clark/Stirl and Rae Photo

Eric Young is billed as one of the fastest sprinters in North America, and he showed it on Friday night as he won the MK Delta Lands Criterium in a bunch sprint of 11 riders. The group would have been even bigger, but a crash with three laps to go eliminated a number of riders from contention.

Young, who rides for Rally Cycling, had hoped to help some of the other sprinters on his team to tackle the subtle climbs as part of the course.

“We’ve got a strong team and I was a little bit far back because I was trying to help them and we left it a little bit too late to come through that top corner with a couple of guys,” said Young. “This finish is so hectic and short, it’s really kind of the luck of the draw who has the momentum into that last little bit is probably going to win – and that’s how I won.”

The race was a chess match throughout, with no one really separating themselves from the pack until the last few laps. With a 1.2 kilometre loop, it might look to the casual observer that the MK Delta Lands Criterium course is an easy one, but in this case, looks can be deceiving.

“Even if it looks easy, it never really is – especially on a course like this. Bike racing is a hard sport!” chuckled Young.

Young also heaped praise on the Tour de Delta for the MK Delta Lands Criterium course, which drew 131 riders to start this year’s edition of the race.

“This course is awesome, it’s fun to race – we don’t have too many races like it on the circuit that we all do. It’s enjoyable to do something different and BC has such a great cycling culture, every single year we come back, so we’re really looking forward to an awesome week. To start it off here with a win is awesome,” Young exclaimed.

The 28-year-old Young is the defending Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix champion and also finished among the top-10 in Gastown in 2013 and 2014, so being on or near the top of the podium during BC Superweek is nothing new to him.

Holowesko | Citadel Cycling Team rider John Murphy finished second behind Young in the sprint on Friday night. The 32-year-old is a former member of the powerhouse UnitedHealthCare team that has dominated a number of BC Superweek races in the past.

In third was Tsawwassen resident Florenz Knauer, who is riding for Stradalli Safetti. The German’s success at BC Superweek is becoming one of legend, as he was second at the MK Delta Lands Criterium in 2016. The 28-year-old had six top-10 finishes last year and in 2014 at BC Superweek events, along with five podium appearances in 2013 and 2015.