Following her coach’s advice, red jersey Clara Hughes (Pactimo) knew that she had to be second wheel into the final corner before the 400-meter dash to the finish line. And that’s exactly what she did. Hughes opened up her sprint and held it to the finish line to win the Silver City Criterium, stage 4 of the SRAM Tour of the Gila.
Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) took second and Eleonora Patuzzo (Diadora Pasta Zara) was third.
The race with 52-riders was conservative to say the least with most waiting for the inevitable bunch sprint. One team, Juvederm/Specialized, did send their riders to the front to up the pace and try to escape. Nothing stuck but the young Canadian team, under the direction of Laura Charameda, raced aggressively and it was great to see a team trying something, anything.
No changes to jerseys with one stage to go. Hughes remains in red as GC leader. Mara Abbott (Diadora Pasta Zara) leads QOM, Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) keeps the green sprint and Denise Ramsden (Juvederm/Specialized) stays in white as best U26 rider.
Clara Hughes (Pactimo Cycling Team) . “It’s called getting the maximum amount of oxygen in your lungs and that’s how I breathe hard, I look like I’m smiling. My coach who is in Montreal, he texted me today, and said ‘if you’re top 3 out of that last corner you’ll win’ because I’ve been sending him my SRM files so he knows my strength right now. I was like ‘really’. So I was watching all the sprints during the race and with the wind conditions I knew I had to be second. I saw people winning the sprint from second place for the points so I just had a lot of patience and knew exactly where I could make up gaps and make up spots. I had it pretty dialed in for the last laps and it was the longest sprint ever, I guess because I don’t ever sprint it felt really long. I think it was actually really long and I just was looking and I saw someone coming, ‘oh wow this is way too long’ and then I saw them sort of die, ‘okay keep going’. It’s just really weird to sprint, I’m not a sprinter so that was bizarre but really fun.”
About defending the jersey on Gila Monster. “I’ll ride to my death tomorrow and whatever it is, I’ll give everything I have. If I don’t win that means someone was better than me but I’m going to put up a fight for sure. Today it was great to see the young Canadian Juvederm team race hard and make moves through the whole race and I was really proud of them and I hope to see more of that tomorrow from the smaller teams that are here because that’s how you get better. As a female racer I was really happy to see that especially because they’re Canadians” (laughs)
Denise Ramsden (Juvederm/Specialized). “I think today the plan was to defend the jersey and just be aggressive. The whole team was out there, trying to have a presence and make the whole race a bit more active, just to go for it. Redlands was pretty good, I got third at Sunset and hopefully that will carry over for tomorrow. Mogollon was a pretty tough day but we’ll see tomorrow. I’m sure Mara is going to be going for it. ”
Laura Charameda, DS (Juvederm/Specialized). “We wanted to come out, it’s a young team, we’re in the best young rider’s jersey and I feel it was a good day to get out there, everybody got a chance attacking, I didn’t want to wait until we get to a big climb, we know that Mara and Clara can climb, we can’t practice things then so it was good experience for them. And it’s good for their confidence to know that they can get out there in the front and I think that it will give them confidence also to go out tomorrow during the race and attack as well. And they ended up winning $400 of primes. So I was proud of them, they didn’t ride as aggressively on the Inner Loop Race and as I said ‘that was not okay’, in the nicest way that I could put it. So that was unacceptable and they don’t want to ride like that, they were disappointed in themselves and it gives them confidence too to know that they can ride aggressive.”
About defending the white jersey. “She’s a strong climber and she was 11th in the time trial yesterday. I think that the climb suits power riders more than just the pure climbers because it stair steps so I have confidence in her ability to defend the jersey on that course tomorrow. I’d like to see them race aggressively, what the heck we’re defending 20th so we’re going to race hard, we’re going to go for it.”
Top 10 Stage 4 Results
1. Clara Hughes (Pactimo Cycling Team) 1:07:02
2. Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) st
3. Eleonora Patuzzo (Diadora Pasta Zara)
4. Heather Logan-Sprenger (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
5. Modesta Vzeniauskaite (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo)
6. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12)
7. Kristen LaSasso (Primal/MapMyRide)
8. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To the Top)
9. Flavia Oliveira (Pactimo Cycling Team)
10. Anna Barensfeld (Missing Link Coaching Systems)
Top 10 GC After Stage 4
1. Clara Hughes (Pactimo Cycling Team)
2. Mara Abbott (Diadora-Pasta Zara Team) 0:01:53
3. Rhae Shaw (CycleU) 0:03:08
4. Janel Holcomb (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) 0:03:25
5. Alison Starnes (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12) 0:04:17
6. Nicole Evans (Primal/MapMyRide) 0:04:24
7. Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Forno d’Asolo) 0:04:48
8. Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO/To the Top) 0:05:20
9. Flavia Oliveira (Pactimo Cycling Team) 0:05:30
10. Emily Kachorek (Primal/MapMyRide) 0:06:00