Riveting. The final stage of the San Dimas Stage Race, the women’s Grand Prix delivered fabulous racing. Until the end, no one knew who had won the overall as we all tried to do math calculations, looking at time bonuses and time gaps.
It was clear from the start that we were going to be treated to an aggressive race as riders attacked time after time. The Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 team of yellow jersey Mara Abbott was at the front setting a high tempo and covered all moves from teams such as HTC-Columbia, Colavita/Baci, Team VBF, TIBCO/To The Top.
One such move was to try to get some time bonus seconds for Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia) who sat in second spot on GC at 16 seconds down. But she got swarmed by Abbott’s team and didn’t get any bonus time. Time for plan B.
Less than halfway through the 55-minute race, defending champion Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) attacked. The move was quickly covered by Robin Farina (Team VBF), Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci), US National Road Champion Meredith Miller and Kat Carroll (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12). A powerful group. As they came by me, Teutenberg was yelling ‘Let’s go, let’s work together’. And they did, all taking strong pulls except for Carroll who was there to protect her teammate Abbott’s lead.
“That wasn’t according to plan. ” said Teutenberg about her attack. “We tried to get Evelyn bonuses, it was not possible. I just thought ‘okay we just try to win the stage now’. I didn’t think I’d make the time up. I knew we had a strong group when I saw who came with me, especially as they were all in front of me and only a minute back. Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 had to pull a lot yesterday so I think they just paid for it today.”
“I actually saw Ina get ready to go, coming around the second turn I think it was. Did everything I could to go with her. Luckily it worked out for all the teams, and for us we were just looking for a good stage results, we really didn’t have anyone high enough on GC to worry about that.” said Miller.
“Ina initiated the move. Carmen was in that and I knew that Carmen was sitting right behind me on GC so I knew that was the move that I had to be in. We were all working pretty well together, of course Ina wanted it to be faster.” said Farina.
Abbott moved quickly to the front of the field to lead the chase. But the gap grew to 20 seconds which brought Stevens at the front to protect GC position.
The gap kept on growing to 30, then 45, 55 seconds. There was now more at stake than the stage win. Farina came into the stage sitting in third spot on GC at 1:03 down, Small at 1:09 and Teutenberg at 1:23. The only one not a danger to the overall was Miller who was looking for the stage win.
Carroll dropped back to help with the chase while the powerful break kept on motoring. The fans lining the road were riveted watching the drama unfold.
With five laps to go, the gap was over one minute. Teutenberg knew that the overall win was within her grasp and she went for it, attacking the break with four laps to go.
“I knew they were in front me [on GC],” said Teutenberg about the other riders in the break, “you never know if something goes wrong in the last corner. It’s really hard to hear, I knew I was really close with the time bonus but I didn’t if it was enough so I figured out this was the safest way. ”
Under three laps to go, disaster struck for Farina who flatted out of the break.
Would Teutenberg get enough of a time gap to win the overall along with the stage win? Time to do math. With a 20 second time bonus on the finish line for the win, added to the 10 seconds from the second HotSpot point Teutenberg would need to get 54 seconds on Abbott to take the overall.
The German National Road Champion had plenty of time to post for her stage win. Miller won the sprint for second place over Small. The field came in at 1:11 after the stage winner, enough for Teutenberg to win the overall at San Dimas Stage Race for the second year in a row.
“The crit victory might not be surprising but that I won the whole stage race again, I was a minute twenty today. Like I said yesterday, they did a strong ride, Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12. I was surprised that we could get the time out of them today.” commented Teutenberg.
Abbott finished second on GC at 18 seconds down. Stevens dropped down to third spot at 34 seconds. Small, who grabbed 8 seconds of time bonuses, moved up to fourth at 46 seconds. Farina was awarded the same time as Miller and Small which put her in fifth place overall at 48 seconds back.
Alexi Rhodes (Team VBF) won the Points classification. Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita/Baci) won the KOM. Finishing in tenth place overall, Rebecca Much (TIBCO) won the U25 classification.
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