Chicagoland Could Be Game Changer for NROC Pros
July 20, 2012
It looks like it’s going to be a shakeout weekend for the top men in the 2012 National Roller Cup.
Most of the top skaters are headed to Hoffman Estates for the Chicagoland Inline Tour, and with double points on the line, the NROC standings may look quite different by the end of the weekend.
The current open pro men’s leader is Pinnacle Racing’s Bill Numerick, a 32-year-old web developer who returned to inline racing last season after 10 years off skates.
Numerick, of Travis City, Michigan, has shown that he still has the right stuff. He has collected 205 NROC points in four races.
But his lead in the open pro division is narrow — just five points — and he will be competing this weekend in the toughest field of any race so far this year.
Among the contenders are Adam’s Test Team’s David Sarmiento and two world-class Bont USA skaters: Justin Stelly and Harry Vogel.
Sarmiento, a 30-year-old Colombian transplant, is in second place in NROC with 200 points.
He beat Numerick in last month’s Apostle Islands Inline Marathon, finishing second behind Simmons’ Rob Bell. Numerick was fifth.
Stelly and Vogel are tied for fourth place in NROC with 170 points apiece. They are unbeaten this year, except by each other.
Stelly won the Texas Road Rash with Vogel second. Vogel won the Skate of the Union with Stelly second. Numerick finished seventh and eighth in those races.
The winner of the Chicagoland Tour will earn 200 points, more than enough for Sarmiento, Stelly or Vogel to take over the NROC lead.
Other pro men who will likely figure in the action include Ty Fidler and Steffen Howard, both of Pinnacle Racing, Alex Fedak and Ryan Chrisler, both of Simmons Racing, Brent Bovitz and Ron Marfori, both of Twincam, TISC’s Peter Doucet, Bont’s Norm Kirby, and Shift Racing's Jesse Pauley.
Simmons’ Rob Bell broke his collarbone in training last week and will be out of action until at least Duluth.
The women’s competition is shaping up as a battle between three skaters from different worlds.
First, there's Calvano’s Morgane Echardour, a 24-year-old Canadian skater and student at the Ontario College of Arts and Design in Toronto.
Then, there's Melissa Dahlmann, a 29-year-old long-track ice skater who skated her first marathon earlier this year and won last month’s Apostle Islands Inline Marathon.
Finally, there's Janelle Cole, the 15-year-old skater who finished second this week in the overall women's standings at Indoor Nationals.
One challenge for the teenager may be racing without a teammate. Last year, she scored two second-place finishes behind Bont teammate Briana Kramer.
But Kramer is out with a back injury, leaving Cole on her own this weekend.
The Chicagoland Tour is the first Mega Event of the 2012 season. It is made up of three races: a 2-mile time trial on Saturday morning, a 10K circuit race on Saturday afternoon; and a marathon on Sunday.
NROC pro and advanced skaters earn points in the tour. NROC youth skaters earn points in the marathon.
Live blog coverage of the marathon will begin at 9:15 am Sunday (CDT) on the Inline Planet.
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