• Thornquist and Wolfgang Earn the First Wins at the TopSport Stage Race

    by  • April 6, 2013 • norcal scene, race coverage

    Woodward Reservoir Road Race
    TopSport Stage Race
    6 April 2013

    Amy Thornquist (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18) exchanged places with team mate Sara Clafferty in the lead break and went onto win the race for Women 1/2. Metromint Cycling fought back and placed the next three riders with Lisa Mueller coming home in second, Molly Van Houweling crossing in third, and Joanna Dahl taking fourth. Mueller’s race saw her in the lead break for most of the race; after Pinnacle exchanged their lead rider, Mueller showed her grit to finish close behind Thornquist.

    Amy Thornquist and Pinnacle Execute Well for the Race Win

    Amy Thornquist and Pinnacle Execute Well for the Race Win

    The morning’s race for Men P/1/2 saw Bear Development Team riders at the front of the field for most of the race as well as Kurt Wolfgang (SquadraSF). Wolfgang was in a late six-rider break along with Tobin Ortenbald (Bear Development Team), Scot Ferguson (Team Cliff Bar), Mark Marquez (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports), Ron Castia (ThirstyBear Cycling), and Michael Brunelle (Davis Bike Club Race Team). With the field closing in hard, the race came down to a sprint between Ortenblad and Wolfgang that the SquadraSF rider took by the length of a bike.

    Kurt Wolfgang Sprints for the Win

    Kurt Wolfgang Sprints for the Win

    “They ride like they’re much older.”
    Tobin Ortenblad was at the front as the Men P/1/2 field came around the top of Woodward reservoir on the first lap. It was indication of the race to come as Bear Development Team riders were frequently at the front. “It’s impressive to see their awareness of race strategy,” commented Wolfgang, who shared a break with Bryan Duke (Bear Development Team) early in the race. “They’re experienced but they ride like they’re much older. They know what a good move is, do work when it needs to be done, and animate things. It’s always great to see.”

    “We had six guys in the field which is the biggest we’ve had for any race this year,” continued Wolfgang. “We wanted to work as a team. [Our strategy] was to sit on and mark moves for the first half. Conserve a little bit and then get in to try to animate a little bit for the second half of the race. We relied on a third representation in the break as a rule of thumb.

    “For me in that break of six, I didn’t know what my legs were going to do at the end. I pulled through but I wasn’t pulling super hard so I conserved a little bit and made sure that I had something for the finish. There were three in the break that were really driving it and three sitting on. We heard we had a 20-second gap with five or 6km to go so we hit it a little bit and dropped two of those guys.

    “It was not quite a cat-and-mouse. We played it pretty fair. Inside 1km to go the field was within seconds of us. With about 500m to go, Tobin Ortenblad opened it up. I just hopped on his wheel and came around him with about 150m to go.”

    No Satisfaction
    In the afternoon, the Women’s 1/2 race had to contend with a light but increasing wind. The field reached the top of the course intact on the first lap but by the second a two-racer break had a gap of 50 seconds along the same stretch. Sara Clafferty and Lisa Mueller would stretch this out to 70 seconds on lap three but then it appeared as though Pinnacle riders were setting up a chase group.

    Having half the riders in the field of twelve gave Pinnacle a strong hold on strategy. On lap four, as the race made its way back toward the finish line, the field was split into six pairs of riders. Each pair, bar one, had at least one Pinnacle rider.

    By the fifth lap, Mueller was still up front but this time with Amy Thornquist. Having raced in the lead break in all but one lap, Mueller was facing a big challenge but was able to hold up for her team by taking second place. The race by Pinnacle did earn them the win although Metromint Cycling did recover some with their placings.

    “It was a tough race,” said Molly Van Houweling, “We are pretty excited to manage second, third, and fourth when we were out-numbered two-to-one by Pinnacle. We certainly weren’t racing for second but I think we raced a smart race to not just neutralize their race but achieve a numerical advantage in the top five.”

    “The first two riders off were Clafferty and Mueller,” continued Van Houweling, “but it was clear Pinnacle wasn’t going to be satisfied with that. You could tell that they were looking for chances to bridge. It seemed like they weren’t satisfied with any move that didn’t have multiple people so lots of things got shut down.”

    Recently profiled by NorCal Cycling News, Thornquist, the former triathlete, said of her race, “We were trying to get anybody off the front. We just wanted to attack and see if something could stick. Sara Clafferty, my team mate, was off the front for a bit. We slowly reeled her in then I knew that was my turn to attack.

    “I’m feeling really strong. Molly Van Houewling was really strong out there today. So was Lisa Mueller and Joanna Dahl. It’s really exciting to have this many strong girls out here this weekend. [Tomorrow’s] going to be a great race to see how we all do.”

    The TopSport Stage Race continues tomorrow with the Rock Creek Time Trail and Little John Circuit Race. The P/1/2 Men start with their time trial at 8am and circuit race at 11:30am. Women 1/2 also start with the time trial, at 10:20am; their circuit race gets underway at 1:18pm. Racing takes place at Copperopolis.

    Results Women 1/2
    1. Amy Thornquist (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18)
    2. Lisa Mueller (Metromint Cycling)
    3. Molly Van Houweling (Metromint Cycling)
    4. Joanna Dahl (Metromint Cycling)
    5. Sara Clafferty (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18)

    Results Men Cat 1
    1. Kurt Wolfgang (SquadraSF)
    2. Byron Anson (Davis Bike Club Race Team)
    3. Joshua Carling (Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada)
    4. Charlie Schneider (The Hive)
    5. Philip Mooney (Jamis – Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home)

    Results Men Cat 2
    1. Tobin Ortenblad (Bear Development Team)
    2. Scot Ferguson (Team Cliff Bar)
    3. Mark Marquez (VuMedi p/b Lombardi Sports)
    4. Lee Peters (SquadraSF)
    5. Matt Abdalah (SquadraSF)




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