Going into the third stage of the Joe Martin Stage Race on Saturday, May 10, leader Rory Sutherland (Health Net-Maxxis) only had 20 seconds buffer ahead of Anthony Colby (Colavita/Sutter Home).
With 24 riders separated with less that one minute in the general classification, attacks came early to put pressure on the Health Net-Maxxis team, as the contenders were hoping that the team had been weakened by the chase on the previous day. But as with previous years, the stage ended with a bunch sprint.
Valeriy Kobzarenko (Team Type 1) and Luis Amaran (Colavita/Sutter Home) escaped in the first of the three 23-mile loop and managed to establish a gap of over 2 minutes. The field led by the Health Net-Maxxis squad was happy to let them dangle in front until the last lap when the duo was reeled in. As the sprinters’ train were forming, Bissell’s Teddy King timed his attack perfectly and used the downhill to the finish line to his advantage to win his first NRC race of his career. Sebastian Haedo (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Brad Huff (Jelly Belly) crossed the line in second and third place, with Sutherland finishing in the same time and keeping his leader’s jersey.
A completely different scenario occurred in the women’s race, Catherine Cheatley (Cheerwine) started as the leader with a 9 seconds lead, and her teammate Robin Farina won the stage and took over the lead with over 9 minutes gap over her closest competitor.
Farina escaped from the field on the first of two laps and never looked back. The field under the direction of second placed Mackenzie Woodring and her Colavita/Sutter Home squad couldn’t get organized to chase and the gap kept on growing. Then the women’s field has to be neutralized, ie stopped, to let the pro men’s field pass through. Farina crossed the finish line, alone with a gap of over 10 minutes.
The field came barreling in, getting ready for the field sprint won by Farina’s teammate Laura Van Gilder and Woodring came in third.
Robin Farina is no stranger to breakaways as she was off the front in a suicide breakaway for a few laps of the 2007 Commerce Bank Reading Classic, and finished 15th for her efforts that day.
Full results here.