Matt Baranoski, son of Rodon designer Mike Baranoski made history as the first Junior to ever write his name on the Keirin Cup, a track cycling event in which racing cyclists sprint for victory. Keirin originated in Japan in 1948; the first Olympic competitions in the sport occurred in 2000.
The 25th Annual Keirin Cup presented by Meade Orthopedics at Coordinated Health was feverish. As temperatures hovered around 95 degrees at 8pm, the world class field seemed unfazed. After several rounds of hard-fought Keirin battles, the strongest survived, leaving a final round of World, Olympic, National and yes, even Junior, champions.
Three previous Keirin Cup winners, the Italian Stallion, Roberto Chiappa, local legend Andy Lakatosh and Polish Olympian Kamil Kuczynski, advanced to the final with little trouble. They were joined by current National Keirin Champion, Matt Baranoski, super sprinter Njisane Phillip from Trinidad and Tobago, Canadian force Joseph Veloce, World Cup champion Simon Van Velthooven (NZ), and the indomitable Shane Kline. The upset of the night came when 2X Olympian Giddeon Massie just missed the cut in the semi-finals.
The star-studded field lined up for the final Keirin contest with no obvious frontrunner. Too much talent, too much power, too much experience to call it early. As the motor pulled off, the race lit up, with the charging train of cyclist reaching upwards of 35 mph with one lap to go. The orange flash of Pure Energy Cycling/ProAirHFA came across the line first. In a show-stopping display of speed and tactics, young gun Matt Baranoski showcased why he is both the Elite and Junior National Keirin champion, on his way to the Junior World Championships in Moscow in August. His teammate, Njisane Phillip was right behind him in 2nd place. Veloce and Van Velthooven claimed 3rd and 4th. Matt “The Red Baron” Baranoski made history as the first Junior to ever write his name on the Keirin Cup.
The women’s Keirin came down to the line between hometown favorite Dana Feiss and Italian sprint sensation Elisa Frisoni. Feiss, the current National champion, made an early move, tearing away from the pack with one lap to go. She almost held off the charging Frisoni, however the Italian put on the turbo in the last turn and just nipped Feiss at the line. Mary Costelloe, leading the rider of the year standings, came in 3rd with multi-time National Champion sprinter Liz Carlson securing 4th in the final.
The night’s endurance events were a mixed bag of results. Njisane Phillip, a sprint phenom, held off the pack to take a stunning win in the elimination. Jennifer Valente, the Junior jet from San Diego, took the women’s 10 lap scratch and a second place in the points race. Sophie Williamson, the New Zealand novice, showcased tremendous staypower with a win in the points race and elimination, which gave her the overall omnium win. In the men’s 50 lap madison, Iggy Silva and Shane Kline rode away with a decisive victory.
The Keirin Cup lived up to the hype. Fast and furious with drama, shock and awe. It was a perfect send-off for our Italian Olympic contenders on their last night in T-Town. As we wave “Arrivederci” to our friends Roberto Chiappa and Elisa Frisoni, we greet the new breed of T-Town talent, starting with the exciting Junior that etched his name on the 2011 Keirin Cup.
Stay tuned for more on Matt's sucess in the coming months!