It's Miller time in Charlotte

US Criterium Champion flies her colours in North Carolina

Brooke Miller (TIBCO) won the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational after a mad dash to the line. The US National Criterium Champion outpaced sprint legend Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home) who placed second and Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci) in third.

"The reason I felt so confident today was because my team is an incredible team and everyone is selfless and does their job," said Miller. "There’s a certain feeling you get when your team is behind you so much. Like the feeling that you can close your eyes and fall backward and everyone’s there to catch you and it’s the best feeling in the world. I was confident today because I knew my team would race like that."

The rowdy crowds were treated to a star-studded call up before the start of the women’s 40-kilometre criterium. Riders like Meredith Miller (TIBCO), recent winner of the US national road championships, USA Crit Series leader Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Rachel Heal (Colavita-Sutter Home), Women’s Prestige Cycling Series winner Alison Powers (Team Type 1), Pan-American champion Joelle Numainville (Kenda) along with local riders Robin Farina (Value Act Capital), Laura Bowles (Vanderkitten) and Erica Allar (BMW-Bianchi). Lastly, defending champion Katharine Carroll (TIBCO).

Carroll initiated the first move of the day that ignited a series of counter attacks from her aggressive TIBCO teammates. Teams Colavita-Sutter Home and Value Act Capital were quick to respond and the field came back together in time for the first of many primes to be had.

"We missed the move at the national championships last week so we wanted to make up for it tonight," said Pic. "We were so mad at ourselves for that. It was good for us to have a break. We were fine with all of them."

Van Gilder jumped on the first prime valued at $250 followed by Farina and Kelly Benjamin (Colavita-Sutter Home). The peloton entered into a series of counter moves that saw riders like Jen McRae (Team Type 1), Chrissy Ruiter and Kristin Sanders (Value Act Capital), Andrea Dvorak and Nicky Wangsgard (Colavita-Sutter Home) and Christina Smith (Veloforma) reshuffle into several short-lasting breakaways.

Mid-race, Carroll jumped for a second time and she was quickly followed by Rachel Heal. The pair gained 15 seconds, testing each other through several lucrative primes. Alison Powers (Team Type 1) took responsibility to try to drag the breakaway back. She received help from teammate Kori Seehafer to seal the deal with five laps to go.

"Our goal was to save me for the finish to lead-out Jen, so Alison was doing a lot of work to bring back the breaks," said Seehafer. "There was a lot of attacking in the last three laps and we were covering those. By the end, Jen was left out to dry because she didn’t have any teammates left."

The three fully loaded teams, TIBCO, Colavita-Sutter Home and Value Act Capital continued to put pressure on the short-handed Team Type 1. Catherine Cheatley made her move with Joanne Kiesanowski, followed by Powers and Wangsgard. With things back together again, Seehafer reacted to several more attacks throughout the final lap.

"We usually don’t like anything to go up the road without one of us on it right away," said Miller. "It’s easier to cover somebody when they attack with a short effort than to try and bring it back. Almost no one gets more than 50-metres in front on the peloton before one of my teammates brings them back. All my teammates are strong enough that they can win if they are up the road. So I’m a good plan-B. It doesn’t have to be me standing on the podium. We have five other women who are incredibly phenomenal athletes."

With half a lap to go, TIBCO and Colavita-Sutter Home organized a lead-out for their designated sprinters Miller and Pic. Notable sprinters Van Gilder and McRae sat protected amongst the front group. The long straight away to the finish line made it hard to anticipate when to start the sprint. Cliff-Ryan was the first to go but both Miller and Pic passed her at the line. "This is such a long sprint and I waited too long," said Pic. "Brooke and I have a similar sprint and she just caught me off guard."

Results
1Brooke Miller (Team Tibco)0:54:47 
2Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)0:00:01 
3Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Verducci/breakaway Racing)  
4Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)  
5Christina Smith (Veloforma)  
6Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco)  
7Erica Allar (BMW-Bianchi)0:00:02 
8Jennifer Mcrae (Team Type 1)  
9Joelle Numainville (Team Kenda)  
10Cath Cheatley (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)  
11Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1)0:00:03 
12Lauren Tamayo (Team Tibco)  
13Meredith Miller (Team Tibco)0:00:04 
14Katharine Carroll (Team Tibco)  
15Shontell Gauthier (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)0:00:05 
16Kelly Benjamin (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)  
17Melissa Sanborn (Vanderkitten Racing)  
18Kristen Lasasso (Mellow Mushroom)0:00:06 
19Samantha Schneider (Team Type 1)  
20Toni Bradshaw (Team Lip Smacker)0:00:07 
21Kristin Sanders (Valueact Capital)0:00:08 
22Rebecca Larson (Valueact Capital)0:00:13 
23Tonya Lail (BMW-Bianchi)0:00:14 
24Leigh Hopkins (Vanderkitten Racing)0:00:16 
25Kacey Manderfield (Team Lip Smacker)0:00:18 
26Silke Wunderwald (Team Kenda)0:00:23 
27Robin Farina (Valueact Capital)  
28Kirsten Davis (BMW-Bianchi)0:00:26 
29Jacquelyn Crowell (Team Type 1)  
30Sheba Farrin (Hub Racing)  
31Kate Veronneau (Altarum Women's Cycling Team)0:00:27 
32Andrea Dvorak (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)  
33Jessie Maclean (Verducci/breakaway Racing)0:00:28 
34Kathryn Clark (Team Kenda)0:00:29 
35Hilary Billington (Team Lip Smacker)0:01:03 
36Alison Powers (Team Type 1)0:01:06 
37Christina Ruiter (Valueact Capital)0:01:20 
38Jennifer Wilson (Vanderkitten Rcing)  
39Sinead Miller (Unattached)0:01:56 
40Rachel Heal (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)0:03:24 
41Nicky Wangsgard (Colavita Sutter Home P/b Cookin)  
42Jennifer Reither (Vanderkitten Racing)  
43Elizabeth Morse Hill (Hub Racing)0:03:25 
44Veronica Martinez (Hub Racing)  
45Jenette Williams (Altarum Women's Cycling Team)  
46Dale Tye (Altarum Women's Cycling Team)  
47Rebecca Blatt (Team Kenda)  
48Emma Petersen (Team Ultralink)  
49Arley Kemmerer (Hub Racing)  
50Allison Lampi (Team Ultralink)  
51Amy Mcguire (Hub Racing)  
52Emily Helmboldt (Team Marshall Mechanical/rcwr)  
53Julie Kuliecza (Team Marshall Mechanical/rcwr)  
54Emily Joyner (Team Marshall Mechanical/rcwr)  
55Lenore Pipes (Team Marshall Mechanical/rcwr)  
56Lauren Shirock (BMW-Bianchi)  
57Liz Leyden (Hub Racing)  
58Ashley Anderson (Proman Hit Squad)  
59Nicole Johnson (Team Kenda)  
60Christi-An Hansley (Team Medplan)0:03:26 
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