A crash eight kilometres with eight kilometers to go until the finishing circuits resulted in severe changes to the overall classification after stage three of the Nature Valley Grand Prix held yesterday in Cannon Falls. Webcor-Builder bore the brunt of the accident which eliminated five of their top placed GC contenders.
"I've never seen a day like this or something like this happen to a team," said Webcor-Builder's directeur Laura Charmaeda. "They were up front in good position and when the dominoes went down, they all ended up in it. It was a heap of green."
"I felt really bad for the team because they have worked so hard to be in the positions they were in and super psyched to go after the jerseys that they had," said Charmaeda, unsure of how the accident happened. "To have that many go down is a very hard day. I don't think there was anything we could have done."
Defending Champion Kristin Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team) continues to lead by 12 seconds ahead of Alison Powers (Team Type 1). Shelley Olds moved into third place. All riders involved in the accident finished the race several minutes behind the lead group.
"It was really unfortunate that the overall reshuffled in this way," said race leader Armstrong. "It's too bad about the girls who crashed. I don't think it's fair and the field should probably have collectively neutralised."
Webcor-Builders' wrangled list included third placed in the overall Alexis Rhodes, who was also the event's best young rider. Erinne Willock, Katheryn Mattis, Rebecca Much and Gina Grain were also injured.
Another squad, Team TIBCO, lost several riders to the accident, including their overall contenders Julie Beveridge, Ambar Rais and Meredith Miller.
"I wasn't connected to the race radio so I didn't know too much about what had happened, but normally with a crash like that there would be a representative from each team who would say, 'Hey let's slow down'," said Armstrong.