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The pro women's general classification podium (l-r): Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, Evelyn Stevens and Alison Powers
Newcomer beats quality field
Evelyn Stevens (Lip Smackers) turned heads after winning her first NRC title at the 50th Fitchburg Longsjo Classic on Sunday, in Massachusetts. Stevens claimed overall victory ahead of world class talents Alison Powers (Team Type 1) and Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Vital Plus).
“There was such a high calibre of racers here so it was a wonderful experience,” said Stevens who began her professional cycling career just six months ago. “I have so much to learn right now and I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I’m learning each race and getting advice and picking up on all the skills. I’m not sure what my speciality is yet. It’s all exciting and surprising and being in the yellow jersey has given me a lot of confidence.”
Stevens placed second behind Powers in the opening time trial. She over took the lead after capturing time bonus for her third place in stage two and went on to capture another time bonus for her second place in stage three.
“It was exciting to win here especially ahead of two great riders,” Stevens said who guest rode for Team Lip Smackers. “I couldn’t have done it without the backing of my team. They kept me nice and protected.”
Steven, 26, grew-up in Boston, Massachusetts but now calls New York City home. She joined the Century Road Club Association’s (CRCA) women’s clinic after encouragement from family members. “It’s the oldest bike club in America and I believe it was a great way to get introduced to racing,” said Stevens who does much of her training in Central Park or by crossing the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey.
She upgraded quickly from a Cat 4 to a Cat 1 after her wins in the Vermont’s Green Mountain Stage Race last September and the Arizona’s Valley of the Sun in February. She went on to compete as a Cat 1 rider in California’s Redlands Bicycle Classic and Minnesota’s Nature Valley Grand Prix this summer.
She is a former tennis player who now works with cycling coach, Matthew Koschara. Her upcoming schedule includes the Cascade Classic followed by the Elite National Championships held in Bend, Oregon.