It’s time for the much anticipated pre-season Little 500 rankings (see 2009 version here)! The summer road season is winding down and the Fall Cycling Series is just around the corner so who’s going to win next April? To be honest there’s not much change to be seen in 2011. It’s difficult to look further than the 2010 winners as favorites for the next race. With barely 10 female riders on any team having competed over the summer and returning four riders, Teter are going to be very difficult to beat. On the Mens side many smarter judges than I have commented that Eric Young maybe the most talented L5/ road rider since Wayne Stetina and will have a massive target on his back….something I’m sure he can deal with.
Mens Race- April 16th 2011
Cutters- 3/2 favorites. Four time winners and Young’s improvement should make up for the huge lost of Feldman. Whatever, we’ve talked about them enough.
Beta- 11/2. A year stronger than 2010 with rejuvenated house support. Their cockiness has worked for them so far!
Sigma Chi- 13/2. No longer dark horses. Fish and Morrow will be a one-two punch to match any other team.
Gray Goat- 7/1. Only one Kiel this year but his dedication is tattooed for all to see. RJ Half will be a good replacement for the other Kiel.
PDT- 7/1. Sharp and West return with some good talent waiting to fill the big shoes of Sovinski and Burnworth.
FIJI- 8/1. A mysterious team and that will surely ride the wave of their incredible comeback in 2010. If only they’d kept going……
DTD- 10/1- Somewhat of a surprise last year and their progress will depend on who they can add to support Stuart and Coudright.
BKB- 12/1- Shei and Quay are huge losses and they’ll struggle to regain the heights of the past few years.
Phi Psi 12/1- Only the quality of the program keeps them so high as they lose Brown and Mercer. Miles Johnson will take up some of the slack but not sure it’ll be enough for the podium.
Hoosier Climber 14/1- The anti-establishment favorites with some good athletes and excellent preparation. Looking to stay as a top ten team.
Delta Chi 14/1. Now in the ATO-house and this program is only going in one direction. Do they have the riders to match their ambition.
Sigma Nu- 18/1- Big surprise of last year and should continue to improve.
DU- 20/1- Replacing DRR will be difficult but they have a good list of rookies that hopefully can step into the breach.
The Field- 25/1. Who will be the 2011 Beta?
Womens Race- April 15th 2011
Teter- 2/1 favorites. Returning 4 riders and CvK won’t get any weaker. Got a deserved win after knocking on the door for the past few years. Have the potential to become the XX-Cutters!
AGD- 5/1. Huge 2nd place in 2010 and may have a legit race winner in Mindi Balchan. Always there or thereabout and maybe ready to take that final step.
DG- 6/1. Not much to report over the summer but return 3 strong girls and are now have a bonafide Little500 program. Losing Half will be difficult but she’ll still be in town to train and motivate.
Army- 6/1. Will hopefully avoid a horror wreck and look set to step up into the top three. Calvert has been one of the top riders over the summer and will look to take that forward into the spring.
Pi Phi- 8/1. Caroline Brown returns for a fifth year and needs a little more support to be in the running at the end. If she’s there then the battle between her and CvK will be on for the ages!
Wing-it 9/1. Another year stronger for this developing program with some talented and hard working riders. Need to develop a finisher to compete for the podium.
Kappa- 10/1. Self-professed spring-time riders who could compete for the win with a little extra dedication. Always have great talent and a fantastic support network.
Theta- 12/1- Most uncertain year for Theta in the last decade. Dickman will be a top 5 rider but can she motivate the rookies (with the help of in-town grads Metherd and Axley)?
Gamma Phi- 12/1. An enigmatic team who had bad luck last year. With more support Arnesen might take this team to the podium but she has yet to show her talent at the front on race day.
Kappa Delta- 18/1. Loss of Balbach will be difficult to overcome but her sister will improve and they have a solid program in place.
The Field- 25/1. Every other team has a ceiling of the top ten.
Hopefully these mis-conceived thoughts can be bulletin-board material to inspire some teams to challenge the favorites!
13 hours ago