The women’s field was embarrassingly small so I wouldn’t be surprised if Pilarcitos packs it in and makes it an all men’s affair at some point in the future. I know it is early season stuff but it was 70 degree’s and on the Peninsula, you don’t get many races like that! Mary Maroon had sized her her competition before the race started and had entertained some magnanimous thoughts of turning it into more of a clinic experience for her sisters in arms. Maybe it was her recent camp with former Webcor pro’s Curi-Mattis, Brems, and Thorburn, maybe it was repressed memories of being beat to a pulp by those same women in previous years, or maybe it was just the fresh air and sun, what ever was the trigger Maroon decided to put the hammer down and make it a clinic of a different kind. After rounding the famous Sierra Point 180 a few laps into the race Maroon found herself off the front looking around for somebody to pull through with no takers. Maroon proceeded to drill it by herself for the next 30 minutes before finally lapping the field on the last lap and taking her first official win of 2011. The lesson here is… 1. Showing up is half the battle. 2. Don’t let Mary get a gap.
A group of eight riders separated early on in the race and managed to create a significant gap which they would increase until they eventually lapped the field. The break was well represented by the major teams with two Webcor riders (the Rand, and H. Pohl), Rob Evans – McGuire, Pat Brigs – Yahoo, Logan Loader – Verizon Cycling Team, Mike Hardy – Squadra Ovest, Colin Simon, and Andy Goessling – Cliff Bar. The group worked well together holding the gap at about 1 minute for most of the race as McGuire and Webcor managed to disrupt any chasers, except a brave duo of chasers Spiteri and Atkins, who managed to stay out of reach the whole race. With nine laps to go the break lapped the field, except for Spiteri and Atkins, who continued to do a power dangle in a place slightly beyond no mans land.
With the gruppo compacto Pohl attacked, in what looked like a great move. Pohl sat about 5 seconds up on the field for several laps and just as it became clear that the rejoined pack was not going to let him free Rand Miller, the other Webcor rider in the money, suffered a mechanical. After being denied a free lap, Rand dropped out of the race leaving Pohl the only Webcor rider still in contention for the win, and he had to be a little toasty.
Logan Loader had been putting pressure on the break the whole race. He’s been riding like a monster the last few weeks and is obviously motivated to make a mark in 2011. With half a lap to go Loader saw Pat Briggs wind it up in a clever sprinter/power move right after the 180 and managed to catch his wheel. Briggs used his willy skills all the way down the final stretch putting everybody but Loader in the gutter. Loader timed his move perfectly and passed Briggs right at the finish to take his third win of the season.
Check out the video for some race footage and interviews with Loader and Maroon. Will get some Cherry Pie down in a bit…
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