At the start of stage 1 at the Exergy Tour, while the rain was coming down in Nambla, Ina Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) told everyone that the time bonuses available at the only intermediate sprint would be important. And she was right. The wily German sprinter took those three seconds and then added more by finishing second on the stage to put her in the yellow leader’s jersey.
“Getting the win was the preferred goal at the end but it just was not possible. I was a bit sad because the girls worked really hard for me today but I just couldn’t finish it off but we do have the jersey for the one day so it’s good.” Teutenberg said after the stage.
Although Teutenberg has won six stages in the past at the HP Women’s Challenge, it is the first time that she’s ever worn the leader’s jersey at a race in Idaho. Those pesky climbs. “I never had a prologue when I did it and we always finished in Idaho City, I never won that. And then after that, we went up to Stanley and for sure I didn’t wear the jersey then.” she laughed.
It was a hard day with rain and cool temperatures greeting the racers in the morning and even harder for the sprinters. “The main tough spot was the hill, it wasn’t just steep it was long too. It was kind of never-ending. I think that kilometer sign was totally wrong place on that hill.” she added. “It was pretty hard rolling into town too, there were a couple of risers and they really, really hurt at the end of the race.”
Though the field shattered the second time up the QOM climb, it all came back together for a diminished field sprint. Teutenberg knows that she will lose the jersey after Saturday’s 10-mile time trial.
She thinks that the fourth and final stage will be the decisive one for the overall and not the queen stage on Sunday.
“The Idaho Hills are fairly long but they are not really steep.” Teutenberg said of stage 3 with 4520 feet of climbing over the 57.8-mile course. “You know how these mountain riders are. It’s quite hard to get rid of each other because they’re all so good.”
The profile for Monday’s 46.6-mile stage is a leg breaker of ups and downs for a total of 3,700 feet of climbing.
“I haven’t looked at the stage and how far it is to the finish and everything because if it’s not technical and a long straight downhill, it’s fairly possible by yourself to finish it off because it’s just hard. From the profile, I think we’re in for a surprise on Monday.”
“I just heard it’s really steep, nasty and up and down the whole day. Things will hurt. We’ll have four days of racing in the legs, and I think it will just be like a rhythm change all day long. Maybe there’s wind again and somebody rides away, we’ll see.”
Her prediction is for a small group to battle it out at the finish on Monday in Boise.
“If it’s a gradual long climb, it’s really hard to make a difference.” she explained. “The downhills are not that technical. In North America, it’s just not like in Europe, where a good descender can actually make a huge gap on the downhill. It’s just really hard to do that in North America because the roads are just straight. I think there will be a small group on Sunday.”