Topsport Stage Race
7 April 2013
At Copperopolis today, Chris Phipps (ThirstyBear Cycling) turned out a 24’9.5″ at the Rock Creek Time Trial to set up his Pro/1 Men general classification win at the Topsport Stage Race. In turn, Amy Thornquist (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18) set an impressive 26’25.2″ over the 10 miles to best the Women’s 1/2 field by over 103 seconds; the time trial win all but sealed Thornquist’s overall win.
“We came out motivated.”
Phipps had an overnight 13-second deficit to yesterday’s road race winner Kurt Wolfgang (SquadraSF) but the ThirstyBear rider jumped into the GC lead with his time trial run. Second place for Rock Creek went to Byron Anson (Davis Bike Club Race Team) 45.4″ off the pace set by Phipps.
Ariel Herrmann (Metromint Cycling) finished a further 8 seconds back with Wolfgang another 8 seconds down in fourth. Joshua Carling (Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada) rounded out the top five time trialists at 25’17.3″. Connor Spencer was the last of the Pro/1 Men under 26 minutes.
Going into the final stage, the Little John Circuit Race, Phipps’ advantage after bonuses was 39.4 seconds. It was far from a foregone conclusion to see Phipps take the overall win but the circuit race played out just right. The combined field of Pro/1/2 men stayed together until the end with Carling sprinting for the win ahead of Charlie Schneider (The Hive) and Cody Kaiser (California Giant/Specialized).
“I was planning to go with the moves if they went,” remarked Carling, “but everybody was chasing things down. The guys up there in GC would attack and [other teams] would chase them down. After the first half of the race I realized things were going to stay together.”
Phipps finished in the top-ten for the circuit race and on the same time as the winner to secure the stage race. Anson was sixth in the circuit race to hand him second overall. Wolfgang closed out his weekend third in the general classification.
For Carling, his weekend started off with missed opportunities. Team Bicycles Plus/Sierra Nevada did not have a rider in the final break at yesterday’s road race and a crash inside the final kilometer marred their efforts.
“The boys had been on the front trying to bring the break back,” continued Carling. “We got within a couple of seconds and then there was a crash before the last turn. It screwed up our momentum and the break stayed away by a couple of seconds. I felt bad yesterday not being able to pull off the sprint win after the team worked so hard.
“Today, we came out motivated to make it happen. The boys lead me out perfectly, got me to the front in the last couple hundred meters, and I was able to pull off the sprint. When it came to the last lap, these guys led us to the front before the turn around. From that point we were leading out and my team mates took it all the way to the last 250m or so.
“I opened up my sprint and was able to take it from there. Pretty much when I came around I knew at that point I had power all the way to the finish.”
“Just don’t get a flat.”
After Pinnacle p/b Argon 18 and Amy Thornquist worked a team race to earn yesterday’s win for Women 1/2, all eyes turned to the time trial. The three Metromint Cycling racers were all racing hard with good pedigree for time trialing in Molly Van Houweling.
Then Thornquist made her statement with a time just a few seconds under 2 minutes faster than the rest of the field. Bill Nicely’s confidence was on display before the Little John circuit racing, saying “Just don’t get a flat.”
Nicely got his wish as Thornquist finished and took fifth place at Little John.
The circuit race was won by Juliette Olsen (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18) as the white and gold tried unsuccessfully to elevate Sara Clafferty in the general classification. “It’s a minor disappoint,” said Olsen. “All of us raced unselfishly and with all of our heart that we’re so happy as how we worked together as a team.”
“It was a lot of duking it out between Metromint and Pinnacle,” continued Olsen. “Every time we sent someone off they chased it down. Every time they sent someone off, we chased it down. It was just a slug fest. Finally, the attacks and counterattacks started getting harder and harder to chase down.
“Just after the hairpin on the last lap, Sara Clafferty took off and tried to stay away. Molly Van Houweling chased her down all by herself. It was an impressive show of strength on Molly’s part – I sat on and watched. [Then] Jennifer Marie Zierke (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18) yelled at me to get on her wheel and hauls as hard as she can. Zierke drops off at 1km-to-go; it’s too far for me to sprint so I start slowing down.
“Lisa Mueller comes around me and stays in front for a little bit. I finally decide this is where I’ve got to go. I went. It turned into a drag race between myself and Mueller. I took it maybe by a quarter of a wheel.”
Mueller’s second place in the circuit race and overall rewarded her team’s efforts to compete against superior numbers in the stage race. Van Houweling and Joanna Dahl (Metromint Cycling) took third and fourth overall, respectively. Sara Clafferty finshed the weekend in fifth.
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