19-year old Chloe Hosking (HTC-Columbia) took her first victory as a pro on Wednesday in the St Paul Downtown Crit at Nature Valley Grand Prix. Hosking outsprinted Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light) and Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12).
Alison Starnes (TIBCO/To The Top) remains in yellow with a slim lead of 2 seconds ahead of Evans who gobbled up all the intermediate sprint and their associated time bonus seconds.
Hosking surfed other teams’ leadout trains, jumping in between the Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 and TIBCO/To The Top trains to position herself in the final lap.
“I love riding my own through bunches like I did today.” said Hosking. “I had indicated that I wanted to look after myself in the last couple of laps.”
She made her way to third spot by the final corner and then came out all guns blazing, head down to win the bunch sprint. “I was third wheel and I just jumped with 150 meters to go.”
For Evans it was all about seconds. “This stage race is won in seconds really, we’ve seen it in the past. Any seconds we can get, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
For the first few laps of the 28-lap race on a twisty 1.4-mile course with some brick roads, the women tested each other with teams taking turns at the front. Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light, TIBCO/To The Top and Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 all set the pace. With 24 laps to go, a not serious crash on the first turn caused a big group to make its way to the pit.
The selection was happening at the back of the race with riders falling off and chase groups being formed as the front of the pack stayed together. With 18 laps to go, Jessica Phillips (Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light) made a solo attack but was soon reeled in with Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12) and Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) setting the pace.
It was time for another attack, Amanda Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) and Cath Cheatley (Colavita/Baci) escaped to get a gap of 4 seconds before being caught a lap and a half later. With 10 laps to go, the field took a breather, spreading across the road to get ready for the inevitable field sprint.
The trains started to get organized, Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12, Colavita/Baci and TIBCO/To The Top were all massing at the front.
But first a last attack. Cheatley and Jo Kiesanowski (TIBCO/To The Top) established a 7-second gap with 7 laps to go but they were no match for the steamrolling trains. With 2 to go, Peanut Butter Co TWENTY12 had control at the front with lonewolf sprinters such as Hosking and Joelle Numainville (Webcor) surfing the back.
With one to go, TIBCO took control at the front with Hosking jumping in the train. Evans was fighting to get up to her teammates.
With two stages in the bag, Starnes has 2 seconds on Evans and 4 and 5 seconds on the HTC-Columbia duo of Linda Villumsen and Evelyn Stevens.
The racing continues with the 107 km (66.5 mi) Cannon Falls Road Race on Thursday. This rolling stage with its 5 finishing circuits and expected wind will shake up the GC. And add to that, the depth of the field the racing has just started.
“With High Road (HTC-Columbia) here, it definitely raises the level. All the teams, everybody is coming into the form now. You saw it at the time trial, the top 20 are all people that can win this tage race. It’s really competitive and that’s how it should be, we’re really excited.” said Evans about the quality of the field at the race.
Top 10 Stage Results
1. *Chloe Hosking (HTC Columbia) .57’12”
2. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team) st
3. Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12)
4. Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO)
5. * Joelle Numainville (Webcor Builders)
6. Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)
7. * Carla Swart (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
8. Catherine Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
9. Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
10. * Audrey Lemieux (Team Nanoblur-Gears)
Top 10 GC After Stage 2
1. * Alison Starnes (Team TIBCO) 1.11’50”
2. Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) 2″
3. * Linda Melanie Villumsen (HTC Columbia) 4″
4. Evelyn Stevens (HTC Columbia) 5″
5. Ruth Corset (Team TIBCO) 5″
6. Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 7″
7. Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) 16″
8. Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team) 20″
9. Anne Samplonius (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) 21″
10. * Emilia Fahlin (HTC Columbia) 23″