Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) has been quietly rising in the ranks of women's pro cycling over the past two years, but burst to the forefront in the Colorado Classic on Friday with an audacious attack in the hilly 10-kilometre circuit in Breckenridge that netted her the stage win, the overall race victory and the points, mountains and best young rider classifications – sweeping up all of the available jerseys.
The Canadian was part of an elite group that formed very early in the short, punchy stage, but had for company a trio of riders from UnitedHealthcare. Without a teammate in the group, Poidevin followed a move by Colavita-Bianchi's Abby Mickey – a notable climber in her own right – and then left her behind on the penultimate ascent of the Moonstone Road climb.
"I knew that I was outnumbered, especially by UnitedHealthcare. Going into the second to last lap, I really wanted to make sure I wouldn't get worked over by them because they had so many riders in the front group," Poidevin said. "My only thought was to try to get up the road with Abby Mickey and work with her. Once I started going, no one was on my wheel so at that point I had to go. If the UHC girls were all spread out they couldn't work together, either. So I knew that if I was working hard, then everyone else was working just as hard."
Poidevin won the mountains classification in the Redlands Classic last year as a first-year professional and had a string of top 10 results. But her 2017 season was delayed by an injury at a pre-season training camp where she broke her arm.
"It took me a while to come back and I missed out on all the spring races," Poidevin said. "I didn't come back until Winston-Salem, so I had a bit of a late start to my season. But the races I have been able to go to have been great. It's so nice to be back with the team, I really missed them early in the season."
The Alberta native ramped up at the North Star Grand Prix before scoring the bronze at her national time trial championships. She then moved onto the Cascade Classic, where she firmly established herself as one of the sport's top climbers. She came second behind teammate Kristy Lay in the opening stage and won stage 5, but was not able to claw back all of the time that she lost to eventual winner Allie Dragoo (Sho-Air/Twenty20) in the time trial. She finished second overall by a heartbreaking seven seconds.
"A couple weeks ago at Cascade, we came so close to the GC, we had a big competition with Tweny20 and it was a real fight to the end. It was a great win by them, but it was so close. To come away with the win this week is really exciting for us."
Poidevin has earned the respect of the more established riders in the peloton, including Tayler Wiles (UnitedHealthcare), who was the victim of her attack.
"Sara is a very worthy winner," Wiles said. "We had the numbers, we had four people for a long time and she was on her own, and she was able to follow all of us and then counter us. We did our best, and Sara is a very worthy winner."