Deja vu all over again. In a repeat of last year’s results by Columbia-High Road, German Ina Teutenberg swept the Merco Cycling Classic by winning the Foothills Road Race bunch sprint ahead of Brooke Miller (Tibco) and Laura Charameda (All Sport – Team Swift).
“Tibco did a good leadout, they gapped Emilia [Fahlin] at the top of the hill trying to surprise us. Emilia led out to the top of the hill and then Amber [Rais - Tibco] went around her but I saw it straightaway so I jumped. I think I had a gap on Brooke so she had the work in the wind like I did. I could sit in for another 50 meters and waited for Brooke to start sprinting so I could react on it. ” explained Teutenberg.
While Tibco raced defensively in Saturday’s race, the road race was all about aggression, and still practicing the leadout train.
“By about 2 kilometer, we were organized, I was on Lauren [Tamayo], then Kat [Carroll] and Amber [Rais] go. Again, we’re working on our leadout and I’m learning to race from a leadout like that, they are doing such an incredible job, it’s very exciting, even taking second. There’s a very big difference between losing and getting beat. Ina beat me. I can’t get mad at that. ” continued Miller with a smile. “Right now, she’s faster than me. She keeps racing against me, I keep getting faster, my team keeps on doing that and one of these days…”
The threatened rain did not materialize for the women’s race as some 50 riders raced on the 72 miles (116 km), over 3 loops of rolling terrain surrounded by blooming almond trees and vineyards in Merced County. Typically, cross winds play a factor in the race but it was dead calm on Sunday.
A break went up the road that included riders from Tibco, Columbia-High Road, Touchstone and Colavita/Sutter Home but it never managed to get more that one minute before being caught in the final lap by an organized peloton.
“Tibco, us, Colavita was always in there, everybody went for it. Tibco always wanted to have two in there, and they are outnumbering us, that’s fine. Kim [Anderson] sat on that break too at the end because she didn’t feel comfortable winning out of that break, we did the same, we played tactics today too.” said Teutenberg.
“The peloton did a really good job, the small teams did a good job of organizing. I thought it was going to do, Columbia like it, Colavita was okay with it. The other teams brought it back.” said Miller.
In the end, the race came down to a sprint finish which makes it two win for Teutenberg and the Columbia-High Road women’s team.
“It’s great. It’s always to have two under the belt. We can’t wait for San Dimas. The men are still up on us, they have 5, we have 3 but percentage-wise we are up, they do way more races than we do. ” Teutenberg explained the friendly rivalry between the men’s and women’s teams.