Hilltop Ranch Road Race
Topsport Cycling’s Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic presented by Mercy Medical Center
Snelling – 4 March 2012
Local favorite Logan Loader (Team Exergy) won on the final day of the Merco Cycling Classic stage race as Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) scored another win in the Merco Cycling Classic Hilltop Road Race. The course was a 24-mile loop with plenty of rollers, long downhill finish and was run in excellent Northern California weather conditions.
The Men Pro 1-2 ran for 120 miles (5 laps) but despite the distance the finish was decided by a field sprint. “[The race] was really aggressive the whole day, really fast.” said Loader, “At 10k to go, I had a skewer come out and I had to stop [to] get a new skewer. I got back on with about 8k to go. Then it was just full-on attacks. No big lead out trains, all the sprinters were attacking. The [final] sprint started with about one 1k to go. [At] the top of the hill I was a ways back, probably in tenth, but Optum came up with so much momentum that I could get on that wheel and surf it all the way to the line.” Loader had a bike length’s lead with 40m to go and was able to sit up and raise his arm for the last 10m.
Loader praised his team, saying, “Ben Chaddock helped me get back on after I had my mechanical. I really owe it to the team, they worked really [well] today.” Ken Hanson (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished just behind Loader. Tyler Brandt (Team Mikes Bikes) had another good showing for his team by coming home in third place.
Despite attempts by other teams to isolate the General Classification leader, Patrick Bevin (BISSELL Pro Cycling) secured a seventh place finish with the same time as Loader. Bevin’s finish gave the overall win to the Kiwi with a 13-second advantage over second-place Loader. Third in the GC went to Tom Zirbel (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The race for Women Pro 1-2-3 went out in similar fashion the previous days Grand Prix criterium. There were plenty of attacks and attempts in the field to get something off the front but all action was dictated by Exergy Twenty 12 and Specialized-lululemon. Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies had a racer up front for the bell but with the pack was close behind and the field became grupo compacto once again.
At the top of the hill, with 500m to the finish line, the pack was in full sprint. “I was under control,” said Teutenberg, “My two team mates were one-two atop the hill. I have done this sprint a lot of times; it actually doesn’t help to be up front [very] early because its a downhill drag. People can quickly pass you if you are too far in the front. I was fifth wheel getting over the top, that was [the] perfect position.” That perfection translated into a win by two bike lengths, secure enough for Teutenberg to raise her arms before the finish line.
Joelle Numainville (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) earned second place while Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty 12), in the yellow jersey, took third. The Omnium went to Armstrong over Numainville; both racers finished on 69 points but Armstrong secured the only win between them, at the time trial. Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished third overall. Teutenberg placed just outside the top three overall, five points behind Kirchmann, having scored only four points from the time trial that she raced on a road bike.
Coverage of the 2012 Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic presented by Mercy Medical Center
- Day 1 Mercy Medical Center Merced Irrigation District (MID) Road Race
- Day 2 Merced Boosters Time Trial
- Day 3 McDonalds Down Town Grand Prix
- Day 4 Hilltop Ranch Road Race
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