Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO) out sprints Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home) by mere inches at the finish in a dramatic win at the Tour of Missouri Women’s Series Stage 3 – Giro Della Montagna.
Despite several break attempts by Lip Smacker, Team Type 1 and Webcor, it all came down to Team TIBCO vs. Colavita/Sutter Home.
Stage winner Miller stated, “We wanted to wait until one lap to go to lead out but no one wanted to take control of the race. Rushlee (Buchanan) went up with two laps to go. Kat (Carroll) and Ali (Starnes) were waiting to counter any moves. I was just sitting back, making sure I was in good position. It was unlikely that we were going to get our usual lead out because we were burning up a couple of matches early. Going into one to go, we had Kat take over. Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1) was on Kat’s wheel. Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/ Sutter Home) was on my wheel. Kat really opened it up on the hill. I was actually third around the last corner thinking it was going to be a long sprint because of the downhill. I went early on purpose. I was very lucky because sitting on my wheel gave Kelly such a great sling shot. She very nearly had me. When she came around me I was thinking, ‘Oh darn it!’ I then really pulled hard. I really like fighting people off at the line. Fortunately I was able to fight today.”
Second place finisher, Benjamin and Colavita/Sutter Home suffered some bad luck in the last laps of the race. Tina Pic experienced a mechanical and was no longer able to help her team mate.
“Not sure if it was from the crash but my spoke broke. It was less than five laps to go. Rachel (Heal) stopped to give me her wheel,” commented US Crit Champion Pic. “I was then caught in no man’s land.”
“It was good until Tina (Pic) had some bad luck,” said Benjamin. “Losing her was losing my right hand man. I had to improvise. TIBCO had Kat Carroll on the back drilling it. The group became strung out. I was right on Brooke (Miller). I had the right line to the finish. I even was able to come around her…but she is pretty powerful. We were drag racing to the line. She got me.”
Third place winner and US U23 Criterium Champion, Sam Schneider (Team Type 1) stated, “They (Brooke Miller and Kelly Benjamin) had awesome positioning. Their teams did a great job. My team was up there helping me as well. It was a really fast last lap. It was a little scary but everyone kept it up. I was in 7th position coming around the last corner. It was a downhill sprint so I didn’t need to be up there. I waited a little longer. I drafted off some riders and then took off. It was go time.”
The race was delayed for about 15 minutes when a huge pile up occurred right near the officials’ stage. Maggie Conley, a local triathlete, was injured and taken to hospital. The race resumed with 38 minutes remaining.
The battle continues on Monday at the Greenstreet Properties Tour of Missouri Criterium.
Miller attended the pre-race Tour of Missouri press conference Sunday afternoon prior to racing the Giro Della Montagna. She spoke about the women’s participation at the Tour of Missouri.
“One of the things about women cycling is we don’t get the press coverage that the men get and having press coverage is key,” stated Miller. “When people get to know us they really love us. Women cycling is approachable…it’s fun. Having these races where little girls come up to us and ask for our autograph or people being able to relate to us. We are less intimidating than the men. We present a different angle to the sport which we do not get to showcase. Unfortunately a lot of race promoters don’t recognize the value women cycling. So for us to be able to have this forum….a chance to introduce our racing to hundreds of thousands of people is very valuable to us. This is a fun opportunity for us to get a bit more limelight than we are used to. In terms of experience, I have raced all over the world and the US. This is simply a world class venue. It is really fantastic for us to be a part of an exciting event.”
Complete results here
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