Gerlach and Rais win Tour de Nez opener

Tour de Nez kicks off with Downtown Truckee Criterium

The 2009 Tour de Nez kicked off on Thursday with the downtown Truckee criterium, the first of three days of racing in the 17th edition of the race.

In the pro men's event, a 60 minute criterium Thursday evening, Chad Gerlach (Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team) outsprinted Jonathan Baker (Natural Grocers's) after the duo had lapped the field. Gerlach attacked four laps into the race with Baker and the duo worked smoothly together, finally making contact with the back of the field with five laps remaining. Gerlach easily dispatched Baker in the sprint to take his first win of 2009 and his comeback to the sport.

In the pro women’s race, it was Team TIBCO that dominated, using all four of its riders to perfection in setting up Amber Rais for the victory. Rais was off the front early in the race, but after being reeled back in by Stacy Marple and Martina Patella, she settled back into the main field as all of her teammates attacked over the ensuing laps of the 45-minute event.

First it was Rushlee Buchanan, then Alison Starnes and finally Jerika Hutchingson that softened up the field, and by the time the group hit the last lap the result was all but assured for Rais. Rais powered down the finishing straight to outsprint Marple and Nash to take the win before the cheering partisan crowd.

Racing continues Friday at the Reno River Criterium. Saturday’s racing will then take the field to the Northstar-at-Tahoe resort for the final leg of the event, a circuit race in and around the Village at Northstar resort.

Results - Elite men
1Chad Gerlach (USA) Amore & Vita Pro Racing Team  
2Jonathan Baker (USA) Natural Grocers's  
Elite women
1Amber Rais (USA) Team Tibco  

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