• Clafferty Battles Despas for the San Ardo Win

    by  • August 18, 2013 • Cal Cup, norcal scene, race coverage

    San Ardo Road Race
    17 August 2013

    Sara Clafferty (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18), buoyed by her recent exploits on the track, took the Women’s Pro/1/2 victory in a sprint finish against Jane Despas (Leopard-Saporro). Afterwards, Clafferty was clearly thrilled to extract a modicum of satisfaction over her former team mate.

    Sporting Muscle-Caps, Clafferty Glances Right before Crossing the Line First

    Sporting Muscle-Caps, Clafferty Glances Right before Crossing the Line First

    A Leopard’s Spots
    As the Women’s Pro/1/2 race got underway, the sun broke cover, and it became clear Jane Despas and Leopard-Saporro were going to put a mark on this race. Despas and her team mates were active up front with the three off on a break in the first lap.

    Despas admitted afterwards her intention was to set the pace and her hard work was obvious.

    That early charge was untimely in the 3-lap, 100-km race. “I knew there were so many miles left that it was unlikely it would stick,” remarked Clafferty, “Leopard-Saporro wanted to get off the front solo and they managed to do that twice. It put us in the pain-cave chasing them back.”

    The field wore down through attrition, both mechanical and fatigue. This left an intact group at the north end of the course on the final lap. The long flat run to the finish would carry the riders to the race’s outcome.

    “My race strategy was to play conservatively,” continued Clafferty, “and to be smart. I knew they [Leopard-Saporro] would make us work for it given they were three and I was on my own.

    “I was bringing things back slowly with these [Red Racing] girls and trying to keep a steady pace and not to kill ourselves by surging. That worked.”

    Trackies Rule
    “I attacked at the base of the [final] climb because I know the steady uphill is perfect for my fitness,” described Clafferty. “I’ve been riding pursuit at the track and I knew I would have 2 minutes of hard effort.

    “Jane [Despas] went with me so I sat up because I wanted her in front me during the sprint. And the strategy worked.”

    Both riders were clearly full tilt into the sprint to claim the prize. Yet, the Pinnacle rider’s strength was on display and it appeared another surge was always available if needed.

    Clafferty’s brain and brawn won the day.

    “I’m excited because I’m not always the smartest person at the end of a race. Today I managed to do what I wanted which was exciting.”

    Clafferty will head next to the Winters Road Race as will Despas. With 85 points remaining for the taking, this year’s Cal Cup, already bunched at the top, could very well come down to an exciting finish at Giro di San Francisco.

    1. Sara Clafferty (Pinnacle p/b Argon 18)
    2. Jane Despas (Leopard-Saporro Team)
    3. Josephine Morgan (Fremont Bank Cycling Team)
    4. Sara Bird (Leopard-Sapporo Team)
    5. Dana Martin (Red Racing)
    6. Clarice Sayle
    7. Emily Matheu (Leopard-Sapporo Team)
    DNP Jennifer Kalich (Los Gatos)
    DNP Mary Magnani (Red Racing)


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