Cecchini wins Winston Salem criterium

Kiesanowski, Powers can't get around Italian in the sprint

Italian Elena Cecchini (Estado de Mexico Faren) won the Winston-Salem criterium with well-timed and well-positioned finishing kick to the line over Kiwi Joanne Kiesanowski (Tibco) and US criterium champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare).

Cecchini, clad in a long sleeve jersey that covered the bright pink of her Faren team, made sure to hit the front at the last turn as she knew the distance from the turn to the line was very short.

"My team brought me to the front on the last lap and I got behind the UnitedHealthcare train, " Cecchini said. "I knew there was very little room to pass other riders after the last turn, so I went into that in first position. It worked out well."

Unfamiliar with the short, technical and fast-paced races that are so common in the USA, Cecchini thanked her team for their work in keeping her at the front and out of trouble throughout the race.

"We don't do this kind of racing in Europe, so I tried to stay in the first positions," Cecchini said. "My team did a wonderful job going in all of the breakaways so I could stay rested for the sprint."

Kiesanowski had to come back from a mechanical mid-race, but thanks to criterium rules was pushed back from the pits into a much-diminished field. Her team put her into a position on Powers' wheel for the finale, but she was caught by surprise by the Italian race winner.

“It was crazy and hectic the last few laps. A lot of elbowing. You had to hold your ground. My track experience definitely helped,” Kiesanowski said. “Ali led it out in the last lap and I think she thought she had Hannah Barnes on her wheel, but she didn’t. When she swung wide on the last corner, Cecchini got inside of Powers and I went with her and was able to get past Ali on the line but I couldn’t quite get to Cecchini.”

The highly tactical fourth round of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar series saw numerous attacks, but none that reached the proper configuration for success.

Powers was part of a late-race move that included two-time NCC overall winner Erica Allar (Colavita) but the UnitedHealthcare rider seemed displeased with the amount of work being done and sat up, taking Allar back to the field. A quick counter-attack included Charlotte Criterium winner Hannah Barnes (UHC), but Tibco missed the move and shut the break down.

UnitedHealthcare took control over the last five laps, hoping to dominate in the sprint, but the cagey Italian flew under everyone's radar, jumping away out of the final turn and winning by a clean set of wheels. Powers had to settle for third behind Kiesanowski.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elena Cecchini (Ita) Estado De Mexico Faren0:58:43 
2Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team TIBCO To the Top0:00:00 
3Alison Powers (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:01 
4Shelley Olds (USA) Alé Cipollini  
5Erica Allar (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:01 
6Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealthcare0:00:01 
7Sam Schneider (USA) Team TIBCO To the Top0:00:03 
8Lauren Stephens (USA) Team TIBCO To the Top0:00:03 
9Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom p/b Pink Siren0:00:03 
10Lenore Pipes (Gum) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:04 
11Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:00:04 
12Mia Radotic (Cro) BTC City Ljubljana0:00:05 
13Anna Trevisi (Ita) Estado De Mexico Faren0:00:06 
14Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Estado De Mexico Faren  
15Liza Rachetto (USA) Vanderkitten  
16Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit St0:00:06 
17Eugenia Bujak (Pol) BTC City Ljubljana0:00:07 
18Olivia Dillon (Irl) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:07 
19Sharon Laws (GBr) UnitedHealthcare0:00:07 
20Lara Vieceli (Ita) S.C. Michela Fanini - ROX0:00:07 
21Laura Jorgensen (USA) Mellow Mushroom p/b Pink Siren0:00:09 
22Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Estado De Mexico Faren0:00:10 
23Meredith Miller (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:00:11 
24Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:00:11 
25Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Alé Cipollini0:00:11 
26Michela Pavin (Ita) Alé Cipollini0:00:11 
27Maria Luisa Calle (Col) Colombian National Team0:00:12 
28Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:12 
29Denise Ramsden (Can) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit St0:00:15 
30Andrea Dvorak (USA) Team TIBCO To the Top  
31Brianna Walle (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit St0:00:15 
32Anna Teresa Casas Bonilla (Mex) Mexican National Team0:00:17 
33Jessica Cutler (USA) FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore0:00:18 
34Cinthia Lehner (USA) PainPathways Racing0:00:18 
35Sarah Fader (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:00:18 
36Lauren Tamayo (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:19 
37Alison Tetrick (USA) Twenty16 Professional Cycling T0:00:19 
38Whitney Schultz (USA) Colavita-Fine Cooking0:00:20 
39Sara Headley (USA) Team TIBCO To the Top  
40Cari Higgins (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:22 
41Amanda Miller (USA) Team TIBCO To the Top  
42Allie Dragoo (USA) Twenty16 Professional Cycling T0:00:34 
43Janel Holcomb (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit St0:00:44 
44Joelle Numainville (Can) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  
45Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) UnitedHealthcare0:00:57 
46Amy Cutler (USA) FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore0:00:58 
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