Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) didn't disappoint her fans when she captured a solo win at the Rad Racing Gran Prix. Six-time national champion Alison Dunlap (LUNA Chix) made a valiant effort to challenge Butler but was forced to settle for second place ahead of Kari Studley (Velo Bella) in third.
British national champion Helen Wyman (KONA) had an untimely puncture whilst leading the race in the opening laps. Her mechanical landed her outside the top 20 places but with two laps to go she used her world-class form and technical skills to claw her way back into fourth place.
Butler's victory, coupled with her second place in the previous day's Star Crossed, moved her into the North American Trophy Points series lead ahead of Dunlap. Wyman started the day in the lead but her flat tyre caused her to slip into third place overall.
Let the racing begin!
Defending champion Wendy Simms was not registered to compete in this year's event. She is taking time off of professional 'cross racing to start a family at her home in British Columbia, Canada. Though Simms was missed as a regular call to the line, riders like Wyman, Dunlap, Butler and Barbara Howes (Vanderkitten) rolled up to fill the void.
The sun bore down on the 20 elite women who lined up to contest the Rad Racing Gran Prix, a beautiful day for a cyclo-cross race although some would argue that the rain and mud witnessed in the previous night's Star Crossed make for far more exciting cyclo-cross.
After her stellar performance last night, Wyman opened up the race by setting a fast pace on the front, sensing Butler's presence over her shoulder. Butler latched onto Wyman's wheel and the pair's efforts began to put pressure on the tough competition behind them.
The women approached the grueling 80m run up en masse but it was Wyman and Butler who were the first to the top and opened up a gap of several bike lengths that grew to approximately 15 seconds on chasers Dunlap and Studley.
An untimely flat caused Wyman to lose valuable time and places behind Butler and the two chasers Dunlap and Studley. A second chase group formed to include Wendy Williams (Hudz/Subaru), Barbara Howe (Vanderkitten), Alice Pennington (Veloforma) and Jenni Gaertner (Vertical Earth).
Butler increased her solo advantage to a healthy 30 seconds with three laps remaining, a tough gap to close for the lone chaser Dunlap and a further 10 seconds back to Studley. Wyman eventually worked her way back into fourth place.
|1||Sue Butler (USA) Monavie-Cannondale.Com||0:39:57|
|2||Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna||0:00:39|
|3||Kari Studley (USA) Velo Bella||0:01:10|
|4||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona||0:01:27|
|5||Barbara Howe (USA) Vanderkitten||0:01:36|
|6||Wendy Williams (USA) Hudz/Subaru|
|7||Jenni Gaertner (USA) Vertical Earth||0:01:51|
|8||Alice Pennington (USA) Veloforma||0:02:06|
|9||Rhonda Mazza (USA) Team S&M||0:02:35|
|10||Emily Van Meter (USA) Hudz/Subaru||0:02:55|
|11||Lisa Curry (USA) G.A.S./Intrinsik||0:02:56|
|12||Megan Faris (USA)||0:02:57|
|13||Kristi Berg (USA) Redline Bicycles||0:03:03|
|14||Jadine Riley (GBr) Team Group Health||0:03:21|
|15||Joele Guynup (USA) Island Racing Club||0:03:50|
|16||Shannon Holden (USA) Vanderkitten||0:04:01|
|17||Lea Stralka (USA) Byrne||0:04:13|
|18||Serena Bishop (USA) Sunnyside Sports||0:04:25|
|19||Lee Smith (USA) Team Group Health||0:06:08|
|20||Audrey Brown (USA) Team S&M||0:07:15|
|21||Megan Elliott (USA) Black Mountain Bicycles||0:09:12|
|DNF||Sarah Stewart (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team|
|DNS||Erin Playman (USA) Gentle Lovers|