Achievement exceeds Kiwi rider's expectations
New Zealand's Cath Cheatley (Colavita-Baci p/b Cookinglight) proved her all-round road racing ability when she captured the 2010 National Racing Calendar (NRC) series title following her second place at the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium on Sunday.
"I'm pretty happy about winning the NRC," Cheatley told Cyclingnews. "Personally, I think I've improved in a lot of areas and turned into a pretty good all rounder. I worked hard on some of my weaknesses and I'm happy about that.
"It's a pretty cool feeling because I never really thought, coming into the season, that I could really pull it off," she continued. "I've got a lot of family and friends following me back home and it makes me really proud that I can bring something like this back home, that I'm number one in the USA."
Her team not only helped her gain the points she needed to consolidate the individual title, they accumulated enough points through out the season to win the NRC team classification.
Cheatley's teammates included Kate Bates, Kelly Benjamin, Rushlee Buchanan, Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Andrea Dvorak, Shontell Gauthier, Heather Logan-Spencer, Jessica Phillips, Carmen Small and Modesta Vzesniauskaite.
"We went out this year not intending to win it but I think if you race your bike and race to win races, which is what we have done all year, it just comes hand in hand," said Cheatley. "We've been really consistent this year."
The NRC series began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic held in March in California and was followed by 15 rounds of stage races and criteriums capped off by the Chris Thater Memorial in Binghamton, New York.
Cheatley took her top spot in the NRC standings following the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and entered the final round leading the individual classification by 216 points ahead of last year's winner Alison Powers (Vera Bradley Foundation) and an additional 95 points to US national road champion, Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12).
Strong top 10 contenders in the individual classification included Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12), Meredith Miller (Tibco-To the Top), Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders), Evelyn Stevens and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) and Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Baci p/b Cookinglight).
"I think the individual ranking didn't require too many tactics at all because Cath is such a good all round rider," said Colavita-Baci's directeur sportif Rachel Heal. "She is one of those riders who is a really good climber in stage races but she can also ride a really good criterium and that is what got her high up in the individual."
Colavita-Baci topped the team classification following a strong performance at the Cascade Cycling Classic in July. It lead by 234 points ahead of Tibco-To the Top and an additional two points to the third placed team Vera Bradley Foundation before the final event.
"I did my homework before Chris Thater and it was a mathematical possibility that we could have lost it that would have it required Tibco getting first, second and third and we would have had to place lower than fifth," Heal said. "We were pretty confident about the NRC and so it was nice to go into the last race and just race without being worried about points."
Other teams that stood out in the top ten included Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12, Webcor Builders, HTC-Columbia, Mellow Mushroom, Team Kenda, Roosters p/b Edge Composits Wheels and Veloforma.
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