The first stage of the Sea Otter Classic women’s stage race, the 50-minute criterium came down to a final sprint won by Alison Powers (Now and Novartis) ahead of Lauren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon) and Emily Collins (Vanderkitten).
“I was feeling really good. And I was thinking my team has done all this work for me, I have to be in good position, I wasn’t too good a position coming into it but I moved up. I made the same mistake as last year, you really need to be coming around that last corner in first wheel because of the dodgy turn. Alison was sitting in perfect position and she won by a mile. I decided to sit on Rowney’s wheel because I knew that she’s a bloody good sprinter, she took off and I was there.” the young New Zealand rider told podiuminsight after the race.
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The Vanderkitten squad was active at the front, chasing down moves and also Kate Chilcott going for points in the four intermediate sprints.
“We were seeing how things were going, seeing how the girls were going. It’s the first time that we have a full squad, it was good to have everyone out there.” Collins said.
“We were having a bit of fun being aggressive but with the Now and Novartis girls and Exergy, it was pretty hard for us to be making the move so we were more or less chasing, trying to stay with them. Lucky for us, they all got caught.” she smiled. “Kate did an awesome job with the sprints. Jazzy and Maura were chasing down and killing all the breaks for us. It was really good because we wanted Kate to get the points and me at the finish.”
With the time bonuses on the line, Collins in nine seconds down from Powers with three stages to go. Friday brings the road race where Collins finished second last year followed by the time trial and ends with the circuit race with the infamous corkscrew on Sunday.
“I crashed in the last 100 meters and I was in the front group. Got to get a better result this year.” Collins said of the circuit race.
Racing continues on Friday with the 5 laps/47-mile road stage starting at 12:03pm PT. Follow the action live on @podium_live