Yellow jersey Alison Powers and her Now and Novartis team controlled stage 2 from start to finish at the Sea Otter Classic women’s stage race. In the end, Powers took off on the final lap to solo to the win with teammate Olivia Dillon outsprinting Lauren Rowney (Specialized-lululemon) for second place.
“Going into it, we just wanted to control for the first couple of laps but keep it high tempo, we didn’t want people just sitting on. So, Beth (Newell) and Devon (Gorry) did an awesome doing that for the first couple of laps. And then we wanted to make it hard just like we said yesterday, just by attacking. There were a couple of attacks but we shut it down pretty quickly.” Dillon told podiuminsight after the race.
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After reducing the size of the field on the first two laps around the 7.7-mile Ford Ord loop, Dillon attacked on the QOM climb and stayed away for one complete lap. Counter-moves flew but her teammates launched again.
“I got caught, Robin (Farina) went, we countered, there was a little move off the top with a few of the GC people in that, we shut that down and then Anne (Samplonius) went. We controlled the chase from the back, she had a solid gap and then things started to splinter, I think the last time up the climb.”
With two laps to go, two riders, Jazzy Hurikino (Vanderkitten) and Pascale Schnider (Exergy Twenty12), made a move to bridge up to a solo Anne Samplonius off the front.
“I jumped on them so it was the three of us to Anne, they brought me to Anne. So then it was the four of us rotating, working together for a bit but we knew that there was a chase group and we presumed that Alison was in and then I saw that Alison was in it with Lauren so Anne kept the tempo really strong into the hill.” Dillon continued.
Powers called it perfect. “Two teammates up the road and I didn’t have to do anything. It was awesome. Last time through the feedzone, Lauren attacked and I was able to go with her and no one else. I just got a free ride all the way to my teammates and then I could attack. That’s teamwork textbook.”
Powers attacked to take the solo win while Dillon and Rowney duked it out for second.
“We went 1-2 and it was awesome.” Dillon smiled.
With two stages to go, Powers has a solid 47 seconds lead on Rowney and 58 seconds on Dillon. Racing continues with the 7.7-mile time trial on Saturday afternoon, where the riders will be doing one loop around the same course as stage 2.
Though Powers has a strong lead, she’s taking it day by day. “I’m super excited for the time trial. I haven’t a long one in a long time, almost two years so I’m really excited.”
She laughed and replied “heck yeah’ when asked if she’s been training on her time trial bike. The women’s time trial starts at 3:30pm PT.