The 27th running of the Giro della Montagna marked the third stop of the THF Realty Gateway Cup and while violent storms no longer threatened, the temperamental weather served up some surprises for the pro fields.
The women’s race began somewhat tentatively as riders spent much of the race sizing each other up on a course with four tight corners and a long, dragging climb. Few attacks took place in the first half of the race while the field worked out how to approach the event. Finally, a prime lap with ten to go sparked an attack from Gwen Inglis of Team Kenda who dragged overall leader Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) clear to carve out a slender lead for the next several laps. While it seemed inconceivable that the field would allow Van Gilder to ride away, there was no concerted chase from behind. As the breakaway’s lead stretched past the thirty second mark, the field looked to Vanderkitten-Focus to take up the chase and the team seemed uninterested in doing the bulk of the work unassisted. With the stalemate in the peloton, the break stayed clear with Van Gilder eventually jumping away from Inglis to win solo, cementing an assailable lead in the overall and taking her third win in three days. Carrie Cash-Wooten of Pedal the Cause took the field sprint to round out the podium, following up on a string of strong rides the previous two days.
If the women’s race started out a bit timid, the men’s race was anything but as Jelly Belly came roaring out of the blocks with repeated attacks in the opening laps. Their efforts strung out the race immediately and put the field in the red. Eventually, Ricardo van der Velde took Devin Clark (Cannonball-The Hub) and Brandon Feehery (Astella Oncology p/b ABD Cycling) on a break that gained ground on the field for five laps. Unfortunately, the last bits of Hurricane Isaac that had plagued the weekend for the racers brought a final, brief downpour that wreaked havoc on the field. Slick roads brought an end to the break’s cohesion and took down a number of riders in the field, which then broke into countless fragments. The chaos took all organization out of the group and Jelly Belly decided to move toward the front to control what was left of the race. Nothing was given any freedom for the remainder of the evening and with three to go, Jelly Belly formed a train on the front which inevitably brought Brad Huff another win and the overall lead with teammate van der Velde in second. Wanting to hang on to his leader’s jersey Isaac Howe (Kenda 5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder) finished third and managed to keep the hopes of his overall alive.
With one day left in the 2012 THF Realty Gateway Cup, it remains to be seen if anyone in the women’s field can deal with Laura van Gilder and if Kenda/5-Hour Energy will have an answer to Jelly Belly’s weekend long dominance in Monday’s finale.
Top 5 Gateway Cup Giro della Montagna Women (Complete Results)
1. Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)
2. Gwen Inglis (Team Kenda Geargrinder)
3. Carrie Cash-Wooten (Pedal the Cause)
4. Hayley Giddens
5. Skylar Schneider (Team TIBCO II)
Top 5 Gateway Cup Giro della Montagna Men (Complete Results)
1. Brad Huff (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
2. Ricardo van der Velde (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
3. Isaac Howe (Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder)
4. Sean Mazich (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)
5. Chris Kriek (Jelly Belly Pro Cycling Team)