Stage 4 – 28 May 2012
Evelyn Stevens of Specialized-lululemon is the overall winner at the Inaugural Exergy Tour. Claudia Häusler (GreenEdge-AIS) wins the final stage in a superb end to the Tour.
Sunny weather and warmer temperatures returned today as professional women cyclists set out to decide the overall outcome for the Exergy Tour. A little more than 2 hours after the start of Stage 4, Häusler and Stevens turned left onto North 13th Street, in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Boise, and contested the outcome of the 75Km road race. The crowd along the finish straightaway was four-deep and loud. Stevens had the initial advantage but Häusler rounded the Lululemon racer and pulled away for the stage win.
Stevens’ second place finish was 55 seconds ahead of the chase group of twelve, that included Shara Gillow (GreenEdge-AIS) and Amber Neben (Team Specialized-lululemon), the tour leader going into today’s spectacle. The gap was enough for Stevens to overcome the 11 second deficit to Neben and take the General Classification.
The Exergy Tour began last Thursday with the quick Prologue Time Trial. Kristin Armstrong’s crash and injury dominated the news that day. Yet, the results had five Team Specialized-lululemon racers in the top ten with Stevens sitting in fifth place. As the week progressed, the strength of the team began to take hold with two stage wins and racers in the top four of the overall standings after yesterday’s Queen’s Stage.
Stevens got off to a good start on the day by taking the first QOM. Later, Clara Hughes (Team Specialized-lululemon) and Tayler Wiles (Exergy Twenty12) got away on a two-racer break. It took several individual and team attempts but Hughes was eventually caught after an hour out front. The next charge came from Stevens and Häusler and this was the break that stayed away to the end, complete with another QOM for Stevens.
“This has probably been the best stage race I’ve ever partaken in. I felt like I was over in a classic in Europe.” said Stevens, “We wanted to show Boise, Idaho what women’s bike racing is like. We had the yellow and we have such strength here [that] we wanted to make it aggressive. That was the plan.” Hughes echoed this, saying, “We went to race our bikes. I also hand it to the other teams because they handed it to us. When the starting whistle blew it was all out.”
Commenting on her breakaway, Hughes said, “It was cool for me being of the front because I knew I could just pour everything into that breakaway. If it succeeded we [Team Specialized-lululemon] succeeded. If we got caught I knew that Amber [Neben] and Evelyn [Stevens] were just sitting waiting to pounce. It was the perfect situation. We have our strength in numbers and we actually worked together well. I am proud of the way we raced this whole tour.”
“The word I am hearing from the athletes directly is a big Wow!” commented Heather Hall, representative from Exergy, “Exergy’s vision is to make the Exergy Tour the fourth major in North America.” With the level of racing on show and the drive and courage exhibited by the racers, there is good hope that the Exergy Tour will continue, grow, and present professional women’s cycling as true pros.
Final results for the Exergy Tour.
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