Jade Wilcoxson (Landshark/Flywheel) gave herself quite the birthday gift when she avoided a crash in the final sprint to the line to win the Sea Otter Circuit Race ahead of Sam Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) and Flavia Oliveira (Project Cycling Women).
Winner of the three previous stages, Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) finished safely in the lead group and won the overall at the Sea Otter Classic. Armstrong also won the QOM classification. Emily Kachorek (Primal/MapMyRide) won the sprint classification.
Just like the road race, the circuit race was a race of attrition with the combination of the wind, the climb and the punishing pace. After a somewhat slow start, Armstrong came to the front and pushed it. Her goal was to drop as many riders while keeping her sprinter Coryn Rivera sheltered in the group. It worked, the front group dwindled down to about 15 riders halfway through the 18-lap race. Armstrong, Rivera and their teammate Alisha Welsh, Schneider and her teammate Meredith Miller, Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-Focus), Flavia Oliveira (Project Cycling Women), Kristina Seley (Missing Link Coaching), Kristen LaSasso (WheelBuilder.com), Peggy Legrand (US MIlitary), Melinda Weiner (Herbalife LaGrange), Kachorek and Wilcoxson all made the split.
Seeing that 3rd on GC, Rhae Shaw was missing from the group, Collins sprinted for the GC bonus points at four laps to go. In the final laps, both Oliveira and Collins attacked to try to get away but it always came back together with the strong swirling winds on the backside. On the final lap, two trains were going, Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 led by Armstrong on one side and TIBCO/To The Top with Miller on the other. Riders tangled up and Rivera and Collins hit the deck hard. Both finished, bruised and battered and Collins was later diagnosed with a broken wrist.
Jade Wilcoxson (Landshark/Flywheel). “Kristin and a couple of other girls were hitting it pretty hard up that hill, which in the road race same thing, it was just a game of attrition, whoever can stick with her pretty much on the hills. So I luckily made the cut and then it slowed down a little bit and we could all catch our breath. I was trying to conserve because I know that she’s a lot stronger than me. I was trying to play it smart and luckily they didn’t nail it too hard on the last few laps and I was able to hang in there, save enough energy for my sprint.”
About the break. “They were doing a lot of work the whole race and I was just trying to conserve because I know how strong they are. The last lap, I was just trying to get myself in a good position, I knew one of those trains was going to win it. I didn’t think it would be me but it happened that way.”
About the final lap. “It was a pretty fast last lap. We were coming across the last stretch back there and Peanut Butter and TIBCO had their leadout trains and they hit and Coryn went down pretty hard unfortunately but it split us up all up, just a drag race to the finish. ”
Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top). “In the beginning we just wanted to play it safe, try to keep the numbers up there. The first couple of laps were pretty easy, kind of warming up and getting used to the course. I think it was five laps in and it started getting pretty fast and gaps were opening up. We tried to keep the girls up front and on good wheels to prevent some gaps. As the speed kept going up, I made sure to stay up further and further just to prevent gaps. At one point I didn’t see any teammates for awhile, just attacks and attacks on the hill so I was a little bit worried but a couple of laps later I saw Mer. We revised a plan, she was going to do the work in the group and I was going to sit in, take the ride. It was pretty easy once the group was established, definitely a pretty easy pace. So at that point, wait to the finish. Mer was leading me out and it looked like Armstrong was leading Coryn out, unfortunately a crash happened. That was a bit hectic in the sprint and had to re-organize with ten seconds left in the race.”
About the crash. “When Armstrong moved off, I went flying left, a crash happened to the inside of me so I sprinted to Meredith’s wheel and Meredith starts to sit up looking to see if I had gone down and I’m like ‘Go Meredith go’. So a delay to get the sprint rolling again.
About the corkscrew. “It was a cool course I really loved it. I was just following wheels kind of enjoying it, you had to make the climb to go down it, I was really enjoying it. It was awesome.” (laughs)
Top 10 Stage 4 Results
1. Jade Wilcoxson (Landshark/Flywheel) 1:53:34
2. Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) st
3. Flavia Oliveira (Project Cycling Women) +00:01
4. Kristina Seley (Missing Link Coaching Systems)
5. Kristen LaSasso (Wheelbuilder.com) +00:02
6. Emily Kachorek (Primal/MapMyRide Womens Racing)
7. Peggy Legrand (US Military) +00:03
8. Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) +00:05
9. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) +00:09
10. Melinda Weiner (Herbalife LaGrange) +00:10
Top 10 Final GC
1. Kristin Armstrong Savolo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) 330 points
2. Jade Wilcoxson (Landshark/Flywheel) 266
3. Flavia Oliveira (Project Cycling Women) 221
4. Kristina Seley (Missing Link Coaching Systems) 198
5. Emily Collins (Vanderkitten-Focus) 195
6. Rhae-Christie Shaw 182
7. Alisha Welsh (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) 181
8. Samantha Schneider (TIBCO/To The Top) 171
9. Meredith Miller (TIBCO/To The Top) 166
10. Kristen LaSasso (Wheelbuilder.com) 164