The Stillwater Criterium at the North Star Grand Prix is arguably the most difficult criterium in the US, and it serves as a fitting conclusion for the six-stage US Pro Road Tour Race that took place last week in Minnesota.
The 2.25km course weaves through a residential neighbourhood in the stage's picturesque namesake town, which lies about 30 miles east of Minneapolis on the banks of the St. Croix River across the border from Wisconsin.
The course's main feature is Chilkoot Hill, a lung-busting uphill tilt that gains 21 metres of elevation in just one-tenth of a kilometre and averages a 13 per cent grade. The climbing isn't over there, however, as the course continues uphill before leading to a fast and technical descent with six corners that lead back to the bottom of the hill. The men circled the route 23 times, while the women tackled 14 treks around the course.
Ellen Noble (North Memorial Health Care) won the day for the women, while TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank's Brianna Walle secured her overall win with a third-place finish. On the men's side, US criterium champion Brad Huff won the sprint up Chilkott Hill to take the stage, while his Rally Cycling teammate Evan Huffman finished seventh to secure his own 2016 North Star Grand Prix title.
You can watch highlights from Sunday's Stillwater Criterium in the video above.