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Janel Holcomb (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) soloed into her first National Racing Calendar (NRC) victory at the Sunny King Criterium on Saturday in Anniston, Alabama. She broke away in the final third of the race and finished 30 seconds ahead of the bunch sprint won by Samantha Schneider (TIBCO-To the Top) in second and her teammate Kelly Benjamin in third.
"This feels great because it's my first NRC win and I am really excited about that," Holcomb said. "It also feels amazing to be a part of this team because we had such a good showing at Redlands and it was all teamwork. We came here and again it was always about teamwork.
"I knew that even if I got caught one of my teammates would counter or we would bring Kelly to the line if it was a bunch sprint. To have so much confidence in the people that you are racing with makes me feel good."
Andrea Dvorak (Colavita Forno D'Asolo) kicked off the Pro-Cat 1,2 women's race in a solo move on the first lap. She gained a maximum 25 seconds and maintained her lead for more than half of the 60-minute timed event.
Mid-race, a small chase group formed that included Meredith Miller (TIBCO-To the Top), Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Robin Farina (Rouse Bicycles) and Cath Cheately (Colavita Forno D'Asolo). The move did not last long however, teams TIBCO-To the Top, Rouse Bicycles along with individual riders launched counter attacks from the field that eventually resulted in the demise of Dvorak's breakaway.
The field lulled for a moment upon Dvorak's return and provided a tempting opportunity for Holcomb to make her move. She attacked on the predominantly downhill backside of the circuit and gained a small advantage. Several laps later, her margin ahead of the field grew to 20 seconds and it reached a maximum of 50 seconds in the closing laps.
"Andrea got a prime and we caught her after the first corner," Holcomb said. "We were all watching each other and everyone sat up so it was the perfect time to be aggressive and nobody followed. I was surprised that I stayed away until the end. I kept the pressure on."
Holcomb held her lead and crossed the finish line in a victory salute. TIBCO-To the Top put its sprinter Samantha Schneider in the perfect position to win the bunch sprint ahead of Holcomb's teammate Kelly Benjamin.
"There wasn't enough depths in the teams today and Janel just sort of slipped away," Van Gilder said. "The teams tried to bring Andrea back with some efforts and I think we were hopeful that the same thing would happen with Janel, but it didn't. I'm by myself so I had to measure my efforts and some other teams only had one or two riders so were looking to the bigger teams. Texas Tough did a good job, Rouse Bicycles only had two riders."
|1||Janel Holcomb (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|2||Samantha Schneider (TIBCO - To the Top)|
|3||Kelly Benjamin (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|4||Christina Gokey-Smith (Rouse Bicycles)|
|5||Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)|
|6||Meredith Miller (TIBCO - To the Top)|
|7||Carrie Cash Wootten (Pedal the Cause)|
|9||Debbie Milne (Absolute Racing Team)|
|11||Lauren Hall (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|13||Catherine Cheatley (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|14||Colleen Paine (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder)|
|15||Marianne Holt (Carolina Masters /PainPathways)|
|16||Jennifer Wheeler (TIBCO - To the Top)|
|17||Catherine Peacock (Scenic City Velo)|
|18||Andrea Dvorak (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|19||Cheryl Fuller-Muller (Reality Bikes)|
|20||Melissa Petty (Scenic City Velo)|
|21||Robin Farina (Uptown Cycles)|
|22||Christine Roettger (Team Revolution)|
|23||Kristin Sanders (Colavita - Forno D'Asolo)|
|24||Jamie Dinkins (Scenic City Velo)|
|25||Rachel Byus (FCS/Metro Volkswagen)|