Prologue – 24 May 2012
There was drama in the Prologue Time Trial as Canadian racers take the top three times whilst Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty12) crashed on her run.
The fastest time of 4’09” came from Tara Whitten (Team Tibco – To the Top) and Gillian Carelton (Canadian National Team) while fellow Canadian Clara Hughes (Team Specialized-lululemon) was 1 second back. Ina Yoko Teuntenberg (Team Specialized-lululemon), Evelyn Stevens (Team Specialized-lululemon), and Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) all finished a further 3 seconds back. Team Specialized-lululemon placed five racers within 7 seconds of the fastest time and that should surely provide plenty of flexibility for their approach to tomorrow’s road race.
The Exergy Tour is a day old and already full of drama. The theft and recovery of Team Tibco bikes the day before was followed today by Kristin Armstrong’s crash in front of her home town supporters. Armstrong went into the turn around, of the short, 3.2Km out and back course, and crumpled in an odd-looking crash. On the television replays, the front wheel appeared to slip from under Armstrong. Despite her spill, Armstrong continued to earn a finish time just 8 seconds back of the leaders.
At the press conference, there was a sigh in unison of “oh no” after a reporter asked the top three finishers had they “heard that Kristin [Armstrong's] collar bone’s broken and she’s going for surgery tonight?” After such a build up for Armstrong and the Exergy Tour, confirmation of this disheartening news is certainly a disappointment.
Elsewhere, the race was smartly run by the organizers with good viewing areas leading into and out of Julia Davis Park, the location for start-finish. Moto’s were efficiently shuttled onto and off the course. Befitting the stature of this event, there was even a large monitor for spectators to watch the racers that were out of sight. The crowds themselves were boisterous and interested, even the many youngsters among them.
Whitten, Carleton, and Hughes were well impressed by the local crowd support. “It’s kind of rare to get that here,” commented Whitten, “so it was really incredible.” Carleton said, “There were so many people yelling Go Canada! I was surprised I could hear anything considering I was breathing so hard but I could hear Go Canada from everyone that shouted it.”
“It was fantastic,” added Hughes, “I just want to encourage families [to] bring your daughters out to these races. They’re seeing the best women in the world on bikes and those kids are going to be inspired. I was inspired by athletes that were doing great things, as a young person, and it gave me my dream in sport because I actually witnessed it.”
Tomorrow’s stage is the 120Km road race out of Nampa. The QOM may prove more difficult than it appears on the course map. The short, steep climb follows a long stretch of rollers but racers must turn through 150° before starting up. Without a downhill after the climb, the QOM could become the portion of the course that separates racers. The race starts tomorrow at 11:00am local time as the Exergy Tour continues to show off terrific talent in professional women’s cycling.
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