So far, riders with a track background have gone two for two at the Exergy Tour. Of all the four stages, today’s stage which started and ended in Nambla was the best bet for the sprinters. All they had to do is stay with the main field up and over the QOM which they climbed twice. That’s exactly what Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Exergy Twenty12) did and then she unleashed her sprint after pulling a crafty ‘trackie move’ to win the stage ahead of power sprinter Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon).
“The Exergy girls were trying to keep me out of trouble, and I wanted Jackie (Crowell) as my last leadout. With about a k[ilometer], a k[ilometer] and a half, she got jumbled up and I just jumped from wheel to wheel, and tried to get on the move that was going at that time. ” Cliff-Ryan explained.
“Alison Powers jumped on the left-hander, I jumped over to her and then ended up third wheel through the chicane, and did a little bit of a track move and let the two riders in front of me get a little bit of a gap and then ran at them through the corner and slingshot off of them.”
Before the final chicane, Cliff-Ryan was ahead of a violent crash in the final kilometer that took down a few riders that included World Champion Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta-Zara) and Liza Racchetto (Forno d’Asolo Colavita).
“It happened to the right and just behind me, maybe three or four spots behind me. I definitely heard it but at that point you can’t look back.” Cliff-Ryan explained.
Following a heartbreak for the team at the prologue when team leader Kristin Armstrong crashed and broke her collarbone, the win was a morale booster. Making it even sweeter for the team was the presence of Armstrong at the finish, arm in a sling after surgery this morning.
“This week we were gearing for Kristin and we wanted to get her the yellow jersey by the end of the week so it was a big let down. To come out here today, and ride as a team, get in the moves – we had a few girls in the move – and then, to win a stage, it’s an amazing feeling and we’re happy we could maybe Kristin’s spirits a little bit. It’s definitely great for Exergy Twenty12. And to see her today, I wasn’t expecting that, I just wanted to run up and give her a big hug but I knew that I had to be careful.” laughed Cliff-Ryan.
Racing continues on Saturday with the time trial, definitely not one for the sprinters.