Spartanburg, South Carolina was the next stop on the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) for the Spartanburg Regional Classic Criterium. The one-kilometer rectangle shaped course was in the middle of the downtown area. The elite women would race for 50 laps.
With daylight disappearing below the horizon and the crowd pressed against the fencing, Erica Allar notched another win in her Speed Week belt in a sprint finish. Behind her was Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Training) and Jennifer Purcell (Team Tibco) in third.
Just like previous races in the Speed Week series, the prime bell was constantly ringing with cash primes. Also, a point was awarded every lap only to the first rider across the start/finish line which went toward the USA Crit series and the NCC omnium. This omnium includes the Electric City Circuit in Anderson, South Carolina and the Sandy Springs Cycling Challenge in Georgia.
With a points and cash on the line the pack was strung out with riders just nudging their bikes across the line to grab the point on offer. When the prime bell rung it stretched the field which caused gaps.
Always circulating near the front of the pack was veteran Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandits). She was constantly edging her competitors for lap points with a smooth push of the bike across the line.
"I really wanted to cover Erica (Allar) because we are so close on points and I thought if I got a little buffer that would help in the long run," said Van Gilder. "But it didn't take a lot of effort and I knew I needed to save something for the end."
"Being at the front was a good place and provided me with a good springboard," said Van Gilder.
The first serious move of the night was Kristen Lasasso (Mellow Mushroom/ Rose Bandit Racing), Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) and Christy Keely (Kenda p/b Geargrinder). They constantly picked up the points but the mid-race $100 dollar prime sparked the enthusiasm of the chasing peloton.
While it wasn't enough to bring the trio back before Kiesanowski won the cash prime, it reduced the gap to the pack to a handful of seconds.
There was a reshuffle of the breakaway as they were caught. Others surged ahead but only for a lap, when the prime bell was rung again.
Kristen Meshberg (Spidermonkey) got several meters lead to take a prime and continued to roll. She picked up another $100 prime and surprisingly widened her gap between herself and the peloton.
With 12 laps remaining Meshberg was caught by Team Tibco driven pack.
Just 10 laps remained and the prime bell was rung for $100 which got the pack strung out again. However no sooner did Christine Roettger (Pedal the Cause) sprint ahead to take the cash was she was swallowed up by the pack. It looked like any break away attempt was doomed.
The race was in the single digits laps remaining and the group had slowed, fanning the riders out across the narrow downtown street. The winner was going to be determined in a field sprint.
On the last lap Team Tibco went to the front driving hard for their sprinter. However it was Allar who had set herself up perfectly in second position around the final corner and sprinted past Fader to easily take the win.
"I had to be real patient, and take a couple of hole shots coming around some of the corners and make sure I was in position coming out of the last turn" said Allar. "Then I just railed it to the finish line to keep them off me."
Riding solo Allar had a simple strategy: conserve energy and save it all for the sprint.
"I'm not much of a prime sprinter. I'd rather stand on the podium."
Allar leads the USA Crit series with two races remaining.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Erica Allar (Rideclean / Patentit.Com)||1:03:08|
|2||Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech Trainin)||0:00:01|
|3||Jennifer Purcell (Team Tibco)|
|4||Kendall Ryan (Team Tibco)||0:00:01|
|5||Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit)||0:00:01|
|6||Morgan Patton (Team Type 1)||0:00:01|
|7||Emily Weinert (Kenda P/B Geargrinder)||0:00:01|
|8||Carrie Cash (Pedal The Cause)||0:00:01|
|9||Lindsay Bayer (XO Communications P/B Cisco)||0:00:02|
|10||Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco)||0:00:02|
|11||Christy Keely (Team Kenda)||0:00:02|
|12||Alexis Ryan (Team Tibco)|
|13||Sara Clafferty (ABRT)||0:00:03|
|14||Vanessa Drigo (Vanderkitten-Focus)|
|15||Kat Carr (Paceline Projects P/B Veloforma)|
|16||Elizabeth Morse Hill (Z Motion Hill)||0:00:03|
|17||Addyson 'Addy' Albershardt (Now-Novartis For Ms)||0:00:03|
|18||Cheryl Fuller Muller (Louis Garneau Factory Team)|
|19||Debbie Milne (Absolute Racing/ Msmoc)||0:00:03|
|20||Rebecca Schepps (Team Type 1-Sanofi)||0:00:03|
|21||Valeria Galeano (Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit)||0:00:04|
|22||Kristen Lasasso (Mellow Mushroom/Rose Bandit)||0:00:04|
|23||Colleen Paine (Team Kenda)||0:00:04|
|24||Arley Kemmerer (MVP Health Care Cycling)||0:00:04|
|25||Melissa Ross (Team Kenda)||0:00:04|
|26||Shannon Parrish (Team Kenda)||0:00:05|
|27||Ann Koehler (Modry Evergreen)|
|28||Liz Gerrity (Kenda P/B Geargrinder)|
|29||Marianne Holt (Painpathways Cycling Team)||0:00:05|
|30||Allison Arensman (Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech)||0:00:05|
|31||Mandy Marquardt (Team Type 1-Sanofi)||0:00:05|
|32||Kristen Meshberg (Spidermonkey)||0:00:06|
|33||Jocelyn Setter (Stranamanti Cycling)||0:00:06|
|34||Hannah Miller (Painpathways Cycling Team)||0:00:07|
|35||Erin Burton (Cleveland Clinic Sports Health)||0:00:07|
|36||Jennie May (Louis Garneau Factory Team)|
|37||Amy Phillips (Mystique Cycling Team / SCV)||0:00:07|
|38||Kathryn Clark (Team Kenda)|
|39||Lauren Komanski (Painpathways Cycling Team)||0:00:08|
|40||Christine Roettger (Pedal The Cause)||0:00:17|