Reactions from Pezzulo, Gokey-Smith, Seehafer and LaSasso After Blue Dome Crit

Posted on 11. Jun, 2011 by in race

Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/MapMyRide) took the biggest win of her career at the Blue Dome Criterium, day one of the St Francis Tulsa Tough. She outsprinted her three breakmates after the four had escaped with about ten laps to go. Read what the four, Pezzulo, Christina Gokey-Smith (NOW & Novartis for MS), Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1) and Kristen LaSasso (Mellow Mushroom) had to say after the race.

See race report: Pezzulo Wins Fast Blue Dome Crit At Tulsa Tough

Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/MapMyRide) sets pace at the front of the 4-rider break

Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/MapMyRide) sets pace at the front of the 4-rider break

Tiffany Pezzulo (Primal/MapMyRide Women’s Racing). “I was so excited, so happy, threw all over the top tube and not fall off the bike but totally partying at the same time. The whole time in the break I was just dying but I was like ‘you know what, Nicky is back there, she could be up here, HTFU, pull yourself together and hope they don’t attack and drop you’.”

About the race. “A lot of the girls from my team were suffering from the heat. The plan for Nicky and I was to sit in but Emily and Gwen were doing work. NOW & Novartis made it a race, hats off to them, they were out for blood today, they were really impressive. We have a lot of numbers but our effective numbers are a little but smaller than it seems, we were trying to cover the few of us that were okay and then when Christina initiated the break and Kirsten and Kori went, I was right there and I went too. Kori would jut crack the whip, got the break organized. We were working really well together, just taking short pulls and before I knew it, ten seconds turned to fifteen, to twenty. I started to really hurt bad with a couple laps to go, I thought I was going to get dropped. I sat out a couple of pulls and then, with two laps to go, LaSasso and Seehafer started attacking but they weren’t able to get away. On the last lap, before the second to last turn, I jumped and then Kori jumped again and Christina went with her so I was third wheel going into the final turn, and was able to come around Kori and Christina. ”

About survival vs winning. “Eighty percent of the time I was thinking ‘oh I’m not going to make it’ and then twenty percent of the time, ‘there’s one in four chance you could win’. I say with six laps to go, I started to think about what I would have to do and it just sort of unfolded.”

About the win. “It was a treat to be in a break with those girls and such an honor to get the win for my team. Definitely the biggest win of my career.”

Christina Gokey-Smith (NOW & Norvartis for MS). “Today, we came out here to race our bikes, to be aggressive – we have a full squad here – and so we were. We had riders that would go off of the front and if caught, we would counter the move, we just wanted to keep it going and have somebody in the break. It just ended going and getting into the break and I thought ‘crap’ (laughs) It was actually a lot of fun racing with my NOW & Novartis for MS teammates.”

About the break. “Right before it went off, my teammate Devon and another rider, were off. I was sitting second wheel behind Purcell who was chasing. We came through after the crash, maybe Seehafer attacked and on the backside, I bridged up to it and went right passed her. Pezzulo, LaSasso, Seehafer and myself. We all ended up working together nicely until probably about five laps to go. Seehafer decided to attack, and I was able to be right there on her wheel and at that point, I wasn’t going to pull through. The other girls were on too of course, Pezzulo being a sprinter and LaSasso being very strong and attentive. We all continued to work again, I probably worked a little bit more than I should have in hindsight but it’s alright. Kristen LaSasso attacked on the backside, I was right with her, I didn’t want anything to go and then on the backside coming into the finish, Seehafer attacked out of the second to the last corner, on the descent. I jumped on her wheel, and then I came around on the [final] corner and got beat by Pezzulo at the finish.”

Did she think the break would make it? “After all the attacks, we really wanted a break to go off today. We just thought it would be one of my other teammates and then I’d be in the field for the sprint but it just worked out that I ended up being in the break which worked out nice. ”

Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1). “It was an aggressive race. Riders trying to get off the front but everybody is fresh on the first day. My game plan was waiting until the halfway point. I’m not as fit as these girls right now, I’m in the retirement phase (laughs) so I really had only one match to burn. Initially Anne Samplonius went off, the girls were aggressive, Primal was chasing a lot to bring stuff back. Pretty much our break went with 23 minutes to go, my goal was at 25 minutes to go to make a move, to help launch Jackie after that. So it was more to set her up than anything, then we just stayed off so that was good.”

About the finale. “I’ve raced with all of them. I knew Tiffany was a good sprinter so I tried an effort up the hill to try and dump them but that didn’t really work. Tiffany jumped early and then I came around with two corners to go but I took a short line but not a fast line. She did well, she initiated and came around for the sprint. ”

How did the break stay away? ‘Initially we weren’t working well together. It was very disjoint and then I told everybody ‘twenty seconds pull’. You start to get a rhythm and if you can go faster in the corner than the peloton and keep it consistent, breaks can stay. And it was only 20 minutes left to the race. I had to take charge and try to get us to be more a unit to make it stay. Once it was smooth and we started to attack, people were sitting on, it wasn’t smooth so I was worried it would come back.”

Kristen Lasasso (Mellow Mushroom). “Tiffany went off and when she went, I went behind her and then Christina was on. Tiffany kept pulling and I just kept on Tiffany’s wheel and then Christina was back there. Kori came up and pulled through, Christina started working and I said ‘no I’m not going to work’. So then I just said ‘okay I’ll come through on the downhill’, and I tried not go really hard because it wasn’t good for us because I had Laura back there and I knew she could win the field sprint. I’m with a bunch of sprinters. And then, the gap went up and I’m thinking ‘okay how can I win this?’ I just thought if I tried attacking on the hill a couple of times but that didn’t work in my favor. So I attacked on the hill with one and half laps to go, Kori got gapped off a little but on the downhill, she caught back on. I tried attacking again and again but they were on my wheel, the three of them came really fast around me and I couldn’t get back on. That was my story.”

Did she think the break would stick
? “I was hoping that there would be enough people [to chase it back] like Vanderkitten who wasn’t in it, and a couple of teams with two people. Especially the pack have a lot more momentum than four of us but the three girls, Christina, Kori and Tiffany were working pretty hard, especially Christina and Kori and then Kori did a lot of work on the last few laps. “

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