On a beautiful, sunny day, Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12), powered her way to an easy sprint finish in the inaugural Sacramento Grand Prix. The 1.4-mile (2.2-km) course circled the Capitol Building and duplicated portions of the Tour’s circuit.
Project Sport, LLC, producers of the San Francisco and San Rafael Twilight Criterium, came to the rescue when Amgen Tour of California announced that there would be no women stages in 2011. The criterium was run in conjunction with the Tour’s opening stage arrival in Sacramento.
Several teams tried to break early….Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To the Top), Melissa Sanborn (CyclePath Racing), Robin Farina (Team VBF) and Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Baci) were extremely active throughout the race. It eventually came down to the final two laps.
“Ruth (Winder) was planned to be the first one in our lead out,” stated Nicola Cranmer, Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 Managing Director. “She is really powerful and got a bit of a gap. It actually worked out fine for us. We were going to have Lauren (Tamayo) or Coryn for the win. We then have two different ways, depending on how the race played out. Coryn’s sprint right now is phenomenal. She is a really smart racer and she stayed protected during the race. She didn’t do anything unnecessary. She is very focused and she knew exactly where to take her sprint.”
Rivera stayed protected and safe throughout the race allowing the group to react to any attacks.
“There was a lot going on throughout the race,” commented race winner Rivera. “We let the first fifteen minutes just play out. When it came back to the last few laps, the team really pulled it together. I got a nice lead out in the final lap and it’s a long lap. The whole team worked really well together. I kept looking at the corner of my eye. Right when I saw someone get out of their saddle, I just went for the line.”
Second place winner Vzesniauskaite was quite aggressive and tried to break from the field a few times. With only 3 teammates to help her, her tactics were limited.
“We only had three riders today, Jessica Phillips, Rushlee Buchanan, and me. Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 had six riders,” said Vzesniauskaite. “We had a plan to have Rushlee attack and let me sprint. I was sitting in a good position. I am not really a sprinter. I was following Coryn. Team VBF started the sprint and the Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 went. Those were very strong teams.”
“Everything happened so fast. I was far back in the last corner,” added third place finisher Joelle Numainville (Webcor). “I tried to make my way up to the sprint finish. I wasn’t following anyone specific. I was just reacting to the moves of the race. It was a bit crazy, but I am happy with the race.”
The Sacramento GP is unique in that the race offered a higher prize package for the women. The prize list of $4,000 was for the men pro/1/2 and $6,000 for the women pro/1/2, a very welcome change.