Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter& Co Twenty12) took her first win since returning from her short retirement. Surprisingly it was not at a time trial where she excels but at a criterium. Armstrong won a 3-up sprint with Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) taking second and Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12), third.
A smiling Armstrong dedicated the win to her friend and former teammate Ina Teutenberg (HTC-HighRoad). “I’ve been emailing Ina and she inspired me. She told me that she wasn’t racing today so I thought I better do it for her.” she laughed.
A small field of around 40 riders lined up for the 50 minute crit and immediately Armstrong went to the front to set the pace. Her goal was simply to shred the group, stay safe and set up her teammate, sprinter Rivera for the win. The TIBCO/To The Top riders stayed close while Primal/MapMyRide riders launched attacks after attacks.
With three laps to go, Primal/MapMyRide went for it again. As soon as she was caught, Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) counter-attacked and the field was strung out behind. Welsh was caught and triathlete Rae Shaw went on the attack. That set off alarms for Armstrong who chased it down.
It was full circle for Armstrong who recalled taking one of her first wins in 2005 at the Sea Otter Classic.
Amstrong now wears the leader’s jersey with three stages to go starting with tomorrow’s 47.6 miles road race. As the stage race is a points-based omnium, and not time based, different tactics come into play, it’s all about stage placings and sprinting for the GC bonus points.
Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12). “With these tight corners and this type of course and there’s a lot of different levels in the peloton so first and foremost, we wanted to set the stage for the race which was a hard pace. I think it worked, we got rid of a bunch of racers. And then we wanted to race our race. We came here as a small team, I think that number one key thing when we have a new team like this coming together is communication. There’s not a lot of pressure here, we just put our own pressure on ourselves, a lot of our sponsors are here so it’s very important to perform just like every team (smiles). I think we spoke a lot on the road and talked, we might have had a plan to start of with but during the race, we actually communicated and we really did a good job reading off of each other, if somebody attacked or if somebody bridged across. It’s one race at a time.”
About the final two laps. “Second to last lap, I wanted her [Alisha] to go in the front to set a pace because Primal/MapMyRide was doing a great job racing their bikes today, they actually showed up to the race and they gave it go, they sent riders one at a time. Not many people were interested in chasing them. We wanted to set Coryn up today and the last thing I wanted to do was continue to chase these anaerobic efforts and so we put our little climber out front, and said okay take control. I think it discouraged people. And then that last lap, Rae Shaw attacked and tried to make a move because obviously she’s going to have a good time-trial, I think she thought ‘well I better give it something, it’s an omnium’. She gave it a try, it was a great effort and I knew who she was because Olivia pointed her out and I knew I wanted to close that gap before she got too far. Once a time trialist gets in their head that they’re alone, weird things happen (laughs). So I didn’t want this endorphin to kick in and I better get her before the corners. ”
About her first win since her return. “It feels good. One of my first wins back in 2005 was actually on this course, it wasn’t the circuit course, it was the road course. I got away, back in 2005, Ina was my teammate and she taught me patience at that time and today she would have been disappointed because I did not have any patience, I sat out front all day long.”
About the omnium. “There’s still three days to go and one day at a time. It’s neat, there’s the omnium to think about but there’s also stage wins, I think there’s a little bit of everything for everybody.”
Top 10 Stage 1 Results
1. Kristin Armstrong Savola (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) 49:11.50
2. Samantha Schneider (Team TIBCO/To the Top) st
3. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12)
4. Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/MapMyRIDE Women’s Racin)
5. Erika Graves (NOW – MS Society )
6. Flavia Oliveira (Project Cycling)
7. Jade Wilcoxson (Landshark/Flywheel )
8. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To the Top)
9. Liza Rachetto (Primal/MapMyRIDE Women’s Racin)
10. Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-FOCUS )