Anne Samplonius (NOW & Novartis for MS) solo’ed to the win after a late race attack on the final race of the St Francis Tulsa Tough. Defending champion Jenn Purcell (Danbury-Audi) took the field sprint to second ahead of Erica Allar (Rideclean). Samplonius’ teammate Christina-Gokey-Smith‘s fourth place hoisted her to the overall omnium win. Laura Van Gilder (Melow Mushroom) was second and Purcell, third overall.
Read what Samplonius, Gokey-Smith, Allar and Purcell had to say after the race.
Anne Samplonius (NOW & Novartis For MS). “I had to be patient. In those other courses, every attack went late and in the other courses it was really hard to make anything stick, it was so much easier to just sit in. This course people couldn’t sit in. I just had to wait for people to hard hurting legs at the end before I made my move.”
About the team’s strategy. “We actually knew that this course would be a course of attrition, we knew that we had to be really conservative especially with this heat. That climb comes so fast and it takes it out of people’s leg so we didn’t want to be aggressive, we were just going to cover moves for the first half and then see what was going to happen for the second half. I was looking, I was watching.”
Christina Gokey-Smith (NOW & Novartis For MS). “I have some pretty bad-ass teammates. Absolutely, it was my NOW & Novartis for MS teammates rocking and rolling. More importantly we’re here to spread the awareness of MS and this give us that much more exposure out there. ”
About the race. “I was third [on the omnium], one point down from Van Gilder and nine on Pezzulo, so today I was watching Van Gilder, marking Laura the whole time. On the climb it would be a little tougher, Van Gilder is always up to race her bike, she’s willing to go up the road so my job was to watch her. I was supposed to be in her pocket all day, that happened. And going into the last lap, my teammate Robin Farina yelled at me to move up, and so I moved up and then I caught myself on the front up on the hill. I didn’t really want to be on the front, and Purcell moved up and Van Gilder was right behind me and Allar, and we go down on the descent and again I’m on the front, I really didn’t want to be on the front, I should have made a decision to maybe go for it, but anyway it came down to that descent, and that corner which I took a little wide. Today was tricky, with all the water being thrown, it was really slick, that was definitely a challenge today.”
About winning the omnium. “It feels great. I was third last year, I have my little necklace that I haven’t taken off from last year. So I’m really excited to be on the top step for this.”
Jennifer Purcell (Danbury Audi). “Today was difficult, I was hoping to get in a breakaway but it wasn’t working out. I just went into auto-pilot, I suffered a lot, it was harder than I thought it would be and there were several times that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to finish. It was that hard. It’s funny that in those days at the end, you seem to have your strongest results, winning the field sprint was really nice.”
About racing solo. “I really just wanted to make the most out of it and get some really hard crits in and some speed work and a lot of intensity and I did. It was hard, it was fast and it was harder than last year but then again, I’m a little tired from Philly and from Killington, the last month of racing is starting to wear on me a little bit. I’ve been focusing on road more than criteriums so the criteriums, the instant go, going instantly hard is a different feeling.”
About the final lap. “The final lap went exactly how I’d hope it would, just like focusing on the second-to-last turn and really making sure you’re starting your sprint through the descent for the last turn and maintaining that gap to the finish. It went exactly as I thought, I didn’t feel good until the last lap and then the adrenaline kicked in.”
Erica Allar (RideClean p/b PatentIt.com). “It’s very hot, very humid, everyone is tired from the two previous days of racing. I think everyone feeds off of the Cry Baby Hill crowd, I think that makes it a little bit more exciting and people are willing to grit their teeth a little harder, there’s such a great fanbase here. This is my second year doing Tulsa, it’s a great event and they support the women really well. I can’t thank enough the promoters and all the sponsors because we need to see a lot more of that in women’s cycling. I hope to see a lot more of that in women’s cycling.”
About racing solo. “I have to be a little bit more conservative, pick and choose the moves that I decide to cover more wisely and just really pay attention to who is what move if breakaway do go, if every team is represented then I want to make sure I’m in that because being a solo rider I don’t have anybody to block for me but I can take advantage of other riders’ teams blocking for them. Coming into an event like today, last year was a separation in the field so I anticipated that but it actually stayed together for a very long time until Anne went off the front by herself, and it stayed away. I was getting ready for a bunch sprint and we ended up sprinting for second. Luckily I came out of the last corner, kept all my skin today which is good, Jen Purcell came out of the corner in front of me and I couldn’t come around her so held on for third which is good.”