“I’ve proved that at Redlands, I’ve got quite good kick.” Rowney told podiumsinsight after the race. Rowney, who rides for the Specialized-lululemon team, won the Redlands Beaumont Circuit Race back in March. “We knew that if it came down to a bunch kick that as long as I was second wheel going into the last turn I’d have it.”
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That was quite the kick indeed. Rowney was sixth wheel as she took the final corner.
“With the last two laps I knew that no one was going to take a flyer, I thought that maybe going into the race NOW (and Novartis) would. I knew that as long as I was top eighth wheel, I would be out of trouble and going into the second last turn, I wanted to ideally be third wheel. I was looking for Alison Powers’ wheel because I thought that she’s a really good bike handler, she’d take the corner really fast on the inside but she didn’t so I ended up about sixth wheel into the last corner.” Rowney explained.
“I just took it really fast and got a lot of momentum, and as soon as I saw Carmen Small jump, I just jumped on her wheel and just jumped straight around her.”
Carmen Small, who was being led out by her Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teammate Jade Wilcoxson, took second. Christina Gokey-Smith (NOW and Novartis for MS) was third. GC leader Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty12) finished safely in 9th with the same time.
Like many, Rowney has been feeling the altitude in New Mexico. “I’ve really been suffering the past couple of days, really suffering it’s been hard. It’s so nice to get a win for FCS|Rouse, them bringing me here a guest rider. I’m having fun with the girls.”
The 25 laps around the 1.04 mile, four-corner rectangle with about 80 feet of climbing on the backside went according to plan for the FCS|Rouse team.
“We wanted the girls to get in breaks if possible but if it came down to a sprint, we were setting Loren up. We wanted to make sure that Loren was in good position.” explained FCS|Rouse DS Lisa Hunt.
“We wanted to see if there would be a break. We thought that Jade was going to be going for points, I was having Amy Dombroski cover Jade, and we thought that Powers was going to go.” continued Hunt who added the Exergy Twenty12 was also aggressive. After all, Swiss National Champion Pascale Schnider (Exergy Twenty12) made the first attack early on in the race.
The battle was on between the Optum-KBS and NOW and Novartis teams throughout the race, with each team trying to get those bonus seconds for the GC riders, Small and Alison Powers respectively. Other teams were trying to get into a move while Exergy Twenty12 was controlling the front for Armstrong
Although many attacks were made on the backside of the course, nothing stuck and the field was typically back together by the time they crossed the start/finish line.
“I don’t think that people were working in breaks.” explained Hunt. “Something would get established and then no one would work because it wasn’t really organized and then Exergy would try to reel it back in or if somebody missed it they’d reel it back in. It was never the right combination of people. The pace was really high which is really good.”
With nothing sticking, it was time for the field sprint.
“Te plan was to race aggressively.” Rowney concluded. “Just to make sure to be in every move that went off the front and the girls just did that fantastic It was really a team effort.”
Racing ends with the Gila Monster stage on Sunday.