Nampa Road Race
Exergy Stage 1 – 25 May 2012
Exergy Twenty12 racer Theresa Cliff-Ryan won today’s stage of the Exergy Tour with a well set up and executed sprint. It was a welcome result for the team following yesterday’s emotions from the prologue. The opening road stage of the Exergy Tour ended in a furious, and crash-marred, field sprint – but the day also had high drama from solo to field splitting efforts.
First to get separation on the day was Beth Newell – she would get caught a half-hour later within 50 meters of the QOM – but would receive the “Most Aggressive Rider” award for the day.
With temperatures in the 40s to start the race, and with a light rain, the racers remained compact for most of the early racing along Lake Shore. Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) won the sprint at 15 miles into the race, eventually finishing second, and will wear the leader’s colors for the time trial tomorrow. The Exergy Tour sprint jersey will go to Theresa Cliff-Ryan.
The first QOM would see 10 racers getting away from the field – with major teams represented, but missing prologue winner Tara Whitten of TIBCO. The second QOM would see Evie Stevens clinch the climber’s jersey and more breaks would stretch, split, and reduce the size of the peloton to about 70 speeding into Namba, the second largest city in Idaho. The crowds in Namba turned out in style and were in the thousands, cheering a fast, wide-open field sprint into their town.
Cliff-Ryan said, “With about [1 Km to go] I just jumped from wheel to wheel and tried to get on the move that was going at the time. Alison Powers [NOW and Novartis for MS] jumped on the left-hand and I jumped over to her, ending up third wheel through the chicane. I did a little bit of a track move and let two girls in front of me get a bit of a gap. Then I ran at them through the corner and sling-shot off them.”
Behind Cliff-Ryan was Teutenberg, then Rochelle Gilmore (Faren Honda Team) getting a solid result with third. Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) finished in fourth, and Powers fifth. In the general classification, Teutenberg leads the overall standings, with Tara Whitten (Team TIBCO – To The Top) second, and fellow Canadian Gillian Carleton (Canadian National Team) in third.
Kristin Armstrong showed tremendous support for the Exergy Tour and appeared at the race just hours after having surgery on her collarbone. “To see her at the end of the race,” said Cliff-Ryan, “I wanted to run up and give her a big hug but I knew I had to be careful.” Armstrong’s return created a much needed morale boost after learning that world champion Giorgia Bronzini had to be ambulanced away after the sprint crash with a splint on her right arm.
Tomorrow’s time trial will be a close, hard fought battle. It’s appropriate to bring out bad cliches in such instances, let the truth be ridden!
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