For those of you not familiar with the inner workings of NorCal Cycling News staff, I ended up moving to Wisconsin last November. I went to the Fond Du Lac Crit yesterday, the 9th stage of the omnium series, and decided to cover the women’s race since there were a bunch of NorCal women in the field.
Van Gilder easily managed the field at Fond Du Lac to take her 2nd National Criterium Calendar win in two days. The 48 year old pro, who rides for the Mellow Mushroom Team, has combined forces with another South east regional squad, Rose Bandits. Van Gilder’s domination has been so complete, that the only team even trying to beat her at this point is TIBCO led by Lauren Hall. Hall, who is fresh off two second places at nationals, has been trying to whip her young team into decent lead out train the last laps of the crits with no success.
Fond Du Lac, located 80 miles north of Milwaukee opens up their downtown for a classic 1km four corner criterium. The wide straights and short turns create fast course difficult to get a break on but perfect for spectators who lined the streets and restaurants around the course. TIBCO, Vanderkitten, and Mellow Mushroom led several attacks through the race but nothing was able to establish more than a 5 second gap through out the race “It was a little more aggressive than yesterday,” said Van Gilder, “Fresh teams and bigger teams came in yesterday and today, and the [Mellow Mushroom] girls kept their cool and kept things in check, and it was perfect final last lap for me.”
Lauren Hall, who is in good form after two podium finishes at Nationals in the road race, and crit, finished second place to Van Gilder. Her runner up status at Fond Du Lac was not sitting well with the sprinter who is doing double duty as team captain and sprinter. “Two is my new number,” Hall joked after the race. “I can’t get out of second right now.”
Hall is using Dairyland to perfect a new lead out crew and they are hoping to have the formation tweaked in time for the final two stages in Milwaukee and Madison. “I’ve consistently beat LVG last year, I know I can,” said Hall “I just can’t be spending that much energy working on the train and focusing on the sprint at the same time.”
In the final lap Emily Collins (Vanderkitten) busted in on the TIBCO train and bumped bars with Hall causing Collins to loose momentum on the final straight. Collins recovered for a quick sprint down the final straight but ran out of road against Van Gilder and and Hall who had the better line out of the final corner. “It was super chaotic,” said Collins. “I lost a lot of speed, so I had to start from scratch. It was crazy sauce just having to stay up.”
NorCal’s Mary Ellen Ash (Steven’s p/b Pactimo) managed a top ten finish for the second time this series. Several NorCal riders finished out the race including Coutney Dimple, Bec Werner, Jazzy Hurikno, and several Metromints whose names i need to go look up.
See below for full interviews with Van Gilder, Hall, Collins and Mary Ellen Ash.
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