Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) won both sprint competitions and continued her sprint dominance by winning the race ahead of Leah Kirchmann and Lauren Hall (both Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies), who placed second and third respectively.
The 28 lap race was neutralized at 13 laps to go due to a massive crash in turn four of the six corner, 1.4km long course as nearly half the peloton went down. After 20 minutes, the race re-started at a shortened 10 laps to go.
“The restart definitely threw a little bit of a curve ball into everything,” said Rivera. “It shook up our rhythm. Going into the final we lost our footing a little bit, were a little shuffled around, but Alison [Powers] and my teammates got me up there. With one to go Alison drilled down the front, I stuck on her wheel and she pretty much delivered me to the line.”
“The crash affected the [race’s overall results] a bit,” said Kirchmann. “The field was strung out, then the crash happened, so things got reshuffled. We were able to come back from that crash and execute the race how we planned.”
Team Optum lined up at the front of the race with seven laps to go, immediately after the second and final intermediate sprint competition.
“We had control of the race until a lap and a half to go when Alison jumped us with Coryn,” said Kirchmann. “I was able to slot in with Lauren on my wheel and we followed them as Alison gunned it on the last lap. It was chaotic in the last corner but Lauren and I were happy to hang on for second and third.”
Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon) started the stage seven seconds ahead of Powers in the general classification, so the stage’s time bonuses were a critical piece of the race.
Small won both intermediate time bonus competitions for a total of 10 seconds of time bonus. Powers was hot on her wheel at the first competition at 23 laps to go, giving her three seconds of bonus on the day. The stage also featured 12, eight, and six seconds of time bonus for first, second, and third place.
“The last three laps were very stressful,” said Small, who’s Specialized-lululemon team has only five riders compared to other team’s eight-person squads. “Optum was a good challenge. It’s hard for me by myself when there are two lead out trains. It was hard to take position for the sprint and I was too far back to put in a good sprint.
”But it’s ok, our goal was to keep the jersey, and I actually gained time [ahead of Powers].“
Small now sits 14 seconds ahead of second-placed Powers on the general classification, and Kirchmann sits third at 22 seconds back.
Allison Arensman (Kakookie’s Collegiate All-Stars) was awarded the day’s Penn Cycle Most Aggressive Rider jersey, testing out her legs against the pro racers with an early solo flyer. ”My legs felt good tonight,“ said Arensman. ”I think I’m finally opening up after the last two days. I definitely wanted to test it out up there, definitely wanted to get the sponsors called out. I’m just so excited to be here at this huge event. The crowd tonight – oh my gosh, it was so loud, it was just great to be out there and racing with these big teams.“
Rivera widened her Xcel Energy Sprint Competition lead from one point to 17 points over second placed Olivia Dillon (Colavita-Fine Cooking). Kirchmann widened her Tria Orthopedic Best Young Rider lead from 10 seconds to 26 seconds over second placed Tayler Wiles (Specialized-lululemon). There was no change in the North Star Best Amateur competition or the Jelly Belly Queen of the Mountain competition, which will be worn by Kelly Catlin (Kakookie’s Collegiate All Stars) and Wiles, respectively.
The racing continues tomorrow with the 82.3-mile Menomonie Road Race.