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Duke and McFadden on the podium
Elite women's podium at day 1 of Gateway Cross Cup (L-R): Nicole Duke, Amanda Miller and Courtenay McFadden
Amanda Miller (Team TIBCO) beat out Nicole Duke (Marin-Spy) and Courtenay McFadden (Cycling Northwest) to with the first night of the Gateway Cross Cup. Pro CX Series leader Elle Anderson (California Giant-Specialized) had established an early lead but flatted three laps into the race. Realizing the race favorite was in trouble the trio of Miller, Duke, and McFadden attacked, and built a sizable gap, before thrilling the crowds with a three-up sprint to the finish.
Amanda Miller, known more for her exploits on the roads of Europe than on the 'cross circuit, grabbed the hole shot, and led the field into the first corner on the dry and bumpy course. Miller, Anderson, and Duke patrolled the front for the first lap and half until Anderson put in short attack, that turned into a lead of almost seven seconds.
"At some point in the beginning, Elle was ahead of us, and I was behind Amanda Miller, when Elle started to take off," recounted Nicole Duke. "Amanda hasn't been racing that much 'cross this year, and I knew she probably didn't know how strong Elle can be. She [Elle Anderson] gapped us, and I came around Amanda and tried to pull the gap back. I did a little, but unfortunately after that lap, Elle got a flat."
Anderson was leading by seven seconds when she flatted, and was forced to ride the long, bumpy, trek to the pit for a bike change. Anderson continued her chase, but was unable to make contact with the lead trio of Miller, Duke, and McFadden. Anderson fought back into fourth place but after a mechanical, and crash, at the UCI races held in Colorado two weeks ago, her motivation to bring in another big result is quickly rising. "I was so ready for today, and ready for a good race," said a disappointed Anderson. "Now I'm doubly ready for tomorrow."
Miller, Duke, and McFadden maintained their speed for the remainder of the race to ensure that Anderson would not re-establish contact. Entering the last lap McFadden put in several big pulls before showing signs of fatigue. Hoping to avoid a head to head sprint, Miller attacked the leaders several turns from the finish, and created a small gap. As Duke entered the second to last corner, she came out of her pedal, and Miller hung onto her lead for the win.
"I'm not known for sprinting on the road and wasn't confident in it for the final," Miller told Cyclingnews about her first UCI cyclo-cross race of the year. "So I attacked and went full gas. Fortunately it worked out for me."
Miller credited her experienced roadie instincts for helping conserve energy throughout the race. Based out of Iowa, Miller has limited cyclo-cross plans for the season, but is eyeing several Midwestern races including, Derby City Cup Derby Cup, Jingle Cross, and possibly even a shot at U.S. Nationals in Boulder, Colorado.
|1||Amanda Miller (USA) Team TIBCO||0:41:49|
|2||Nicole Duke (USA) Marin-Spy|
|3||Courtenay McFadden (USA) Bicycle Blue Book-HRS-Rock Lobster||0:00:02|
|4||Elle Anderson (USA) Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized||0:01:02|
|5||Mical Dyck (Can) Stan's NoTubes||0:01:03|
|6||Amanda Carey (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite||0:01:05|
|7||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Van Dessel||0:01:10|
|8||Sunny Gilbert (USA) Michelob Ultra-Big Shark||0:01:40|
|9||Mackenzie Woodring (USA) Foundry Cycles||0:01:48|
|10||Emma Swartz (USA) Junior Dropouts-Brazen Dropouts||0:02:06|
|11||Abby Strigel (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:02:27|
|12||Elizabeth So (USA) Team TATI||0:02:32|
|13||Rebecca Gross (USA) Raleigh-Clement||0:02:38|
|14||Carol Jeane Sansome (USA) Grand Performance Cyclocross Team||0:03:46|
|15||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) The Fix Studio||0:05:07|
|16||Sarah Lukas (USA) Quantum Mesa Cycles||0:05:38|
|17||Kim Thomas (USA) New Holland Brewing||0:06:12|
|18||Lindsay Lorenz (USA) Slimen und Grossen||0:06:28|