Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO) made it a clean sweep this afternoon with her win at the Tour of Missouri Women’s Series Stage 4 – St. Louis Criterium. In winning her fourth straight race of the Gateway Cup, she took home the omnium’s leader’s jersey.
“It’s hard to win a bike race and the competition was great,” commented Miller about her four victories this weekend. “Everyone puts a lot of pressure on me but this team was flawless and made it look easier than it really is. It’s taking awhile to sink in. It’s hard to win one race. I am very thrilled today.”
There were several break attempts throughout the race but none were able to succeed.
“It was a hard course today, despite the length of the straightaways,” commented third place podium winner of the Gateway Cup Omnium, Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom). “I think everyone was out for the win and because it was an omnium, a lot of the breakways you would think would work didn’t. Certain people were looking to advance and others were looking to protect there place. It’s not unlike a stage race where certain people won’t race if they are taking someone dangerous up the road. Kat Carroll (TIBCO) is not going to go up the road with me because they want the stage win and not because I was that big of a threat to overtake Brooke Miller. You just have to ride, wait and see if the break will work or not. Today had a bigger prize list and people thought they might have an opportunity. The right break could have stayed. I think the difference is that today’s event was so much bigger.”
Miller agreed with Van Gilder. “It was a hard course to attack on. It was like yesterday where there was enough downhill on the backside that it gave people a break. You can’t really keep the pressure on. If you attack on the front side and get caught you immediately want to launch a counter attack. It’s hard to do that when it’s too fast on the backside. You can’t get away. It made it a harder race to get a break going. It also made it a harder race to put pressure on.”
“We were pretty impressed with Lip Smacker being so aggressive,” continued Miller. “It was great to see other teams animate the race. We were doing the same strategy as before. Since we only have four riders we wanted to be careful and make sure that everything we did counted. We were covering everything. It just made us shift to more of a defensive mode. We wanted to make sure if there was anything up the road…we were covering it. We were always looking for opportunities to make things happen.”
“With two laps to go the field was going too slow for us. We sent Ali (Starnes) up to the front to set the pace. Kristin Sanders (ValueAct Capital) went on the attack. We had Ali just mow her down and brought her back. With one lap to go I went looking for Kat (Carroll). The two of us were kind of surfing. Rushlee (Buchanan) was looking for late flyers. We got behind Colavita and Team Type 1. Kat was behind me until the second to last corner. She then popped out and then I got on her wheel. She took me to the line. We were being very patient letting the other teams work it out.”
Second place stage winner and US Criterium Champion, Tina Pic (Colavita/ Sutter) felt the loss to Miller was assisted by her miscommunication with team mate Kelly Benjamin.
“We had this plan for me to go early. Kelly and I kind of bobbled it,” commented Pic. “One of us should have worked for the other but we didn’t and in that way we missed it. We ended up next to each other and we both had to go. Kat came by and Brooke was on her wheel. I thought Kelly would be the third one so I moved over. It turned out that she was waiting for me.”
Second place winner of the Gateway Cup Omnium, Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home) wanted her team mate Tina Pic to win today’s stage.
“It would have been great to have Tina win today. It is tough for me. Perhaps it’s my mistake but I can’t get ruthless about this one because it’s Tina Pic. I have the rest of my career but this was her last deal. I really wanted her to win because she is a worthy champion.”
Benjamin was third on stage 1, second on stage 2 and second again on stage 3.
“It was a little tough for me,” continued Benjamin. “I spent the entire year, actually three years, working for other people. This weekend was like the team’s tribute to me and all of the work I have done. It’s hard to flip the switch right away and go from being the lead out rider to being the sprinter…but honestly I think I did a really good job. They thought it would like me a little bit longer but I got really into it. Next year is looking good for me.”
U23 US Criterium Champion, Sam Schneider (Team Type 1) stated after accepting her third place stage finish today, “It was amazing to be on the podium with Tina Pic and Brooke Miller. It is absolutely a dream come true for me to be on the podium with them. Tina has been my hero since I was nine years old. To be with her is just amazing!! “
“The communities we have raced in have been great…the turn out was great…and I applaud St. Louis for having us. I look forward to coming back for more racing,” said Van Gilder.
Complete results here
Gallery (Click for larger images)
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