Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light) outpaced a late-race breakaway to take the victory at the Glencoe Grand Prix on Saturday. The proven sprinter beat Meredith Miller (Tibco-To The Top) in second and Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) in third.
"I wanted to make sure I didn't let anyone go today," said Cliff-Ryan. "It was kind of a strange sprint because coming into the second to last turn we were going maybe ten miles an hour. It felt like we were doing a track sprint and we didn't get going until the last corner. I was first through the corner and held it."
Cliff-Ryan entered into a reshuffling breakaway in the closing laps of the race with Miller, Van Gilder and teammates Lauren Hall and Carrie Cash (Vera Bradley Foundation). The five riders maintained a roughly 20-second lead as they rounded one lap to go. Cliff-Ryan blasted out of the last corner in first position and no one could pass her on the run in to the finish line.
The Glencoe Grand Prix Elite women's race was held in conjunction with the men's US Pro Criterium Championships. Both professional men and elite women's criterium championship events were formerly held together in the nearby town of Downers Grove.
This year the women's Elite Criterium Championships was moved in line with its road and time trial counterparts held in June in Bend, Oregon. Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) won that national title.
"I wish it was here," said Cliff-Ryan. "I really liked it here in Chicago at Downers Grove and I'm a little disappointed. It was great in Bend as well if I could have stayed on my bike. I think the field was smaller here because this race was not on the NRC calendar for the women and we have limited budgets.
"I'm really happy the promoter contacted us because they offered a really good prize purse for the women and a great race. Hopefully next year it will be on the list and we will get quite a few riders out here."
The Glencoe Grand Prix was held on a roughly two-kilometre course that offered 10 corners and a challenging hill. "The course was really good with a lot of corners, technical and fast with a lot of uphill and downhill," Cliff-Ryan added. "It was also windy so we had all of the elements there today."
Vera Bradley Foundation proved to be the most aggressive team during the women's 60-minute race. Cliff-Ryan reacted to the relentless attacks that resulted in several breakaway formations.
"All the teams were evenly matched so there were constant breakaways that had the three heavy-hitting teams represented," said Van Gilder. "I was marking a lot but sometimes you have to really evaluate what was going to stick and what wasn't because I was getting really tired. Theresa was in everything today and worked very hard so her victory was well earned."
The winning move included Miller, Cliff-Ryan, Van Gilder, Hall and Cash. Van Gilder noted that she was surprised the five riders stayed away given that Hall was the only rider setting pace. Cliff-Ryan led the sprint through the final corner with Miller and Van Gilder on her wheel.
"Lauren Hall was working a lot," said Van Gilder. "I took one pull just because it was in my best interest not to have a group sprint but it could have gone either way. I thought it might come back so it was a good effort by Vera Bradley for keeping it away. Honestly, Meredith had a great sprint. She placed second and proved that she can be a factor it that area."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/baci pb Cooking Light)||0:57:41|
|2||Meredith Miller (Unattached)|
|3||Laura Van Gilder (Unattached)|
|4||Carrie Cash Wootteen (Team VBF)||0:00:01|
|5||Lauren Hall (Team VBF)||0:00:03|
|6||Modesta Vzesniauskanite (Unattached)||0:00:23|
|7||Robin Farina (Team Vbf)|
|8||Samantha Schneider (Unattached)|
|9||Megan Guarnier (Unattached)||0:00:24|
|10||Amy Stauffer (Priority Health Cycling Team)|
|11||Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/baci pb Cooking Light)|
|12||Robin Bauer (Kcv Cycling Club)||0:00:25|
|13||Emma Bast (Unattached)|
|14||Alison Powers (Team Vbf)|
|15||Tony Bradshaw (Unattached)|
|16||Devon Haskell (Unattached)||0:00:27|
|17||Lenore Pipes (River City Women's Racing)|
|18||Anna Drakulich (Herbalife Lagrange)||0:00:29|
|19||Jeannie Kuhajek (Team Mack Racing Assoc.)||0:00:30|
|20||Kristen Meshberg (Flatlandia Cycling Team)||0:00:33|
|21||Catherine Walberg (Team Kenda)||0:00:45|
|22||Rebecca Finley (Team Kenda)||0:00:35|
|23||Rita Klofta (Pista Elite)||0:01:52|