Pro Women: Athens, Georgia
Former six time US criterium champion, Tina Pic (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling) won the women's race at the 35th Annual Athens Twilight Criterium on Saturday. The veteran sprinter won the bunch kick to the line ahead of Samantha Schneider (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom p/b Pink Siren Sports).
Under threat of severe weather just to the South of the city, riders took up the radically different course, which is now just shy of a kilometre and featured off-camber left turns instead of traditional right turns, allowing for an entirely new set of tactics and race dynamics.
Because of these significant changes, the aggression was quickly evident when the women’s field took the start. Laura van Gilder’s Mellow Mushroom team remained unwilling to chance being caught out by the speed on hand.
"Everyone was really just going for it, which made it really hard, aggressive and challenging," Pic said.
With 28 laps remaining, the field split down the middle; a shift in the race that created the first significant attack from Van Gilder’s Mellow Mushroom teammates; Kristen LaSasso and Sara Tussey. The offensive tactics from Van Gilder’s team put pressure on a seemingly cautious Pepper Palace to respond.
At the mid-race point, Tussey went again off on a solo flyer and gained about a 10-second gap, the biggest advantage in the race. Realizing the threat, Pepper Place took over the front and eventually reeled her back in. Debbie Milne counter attacked, took a prime and had a few moments off the front before fading.
Another blistering attack came from Tussey with 13 laps to go. The Mellow Mushroom rider put in an big effort to try and stay away, but again, Pepper Palace, along with ISCorp, picked up the pace and got to the front with two laps left. Pic, however, remained vigilant.
"When we came out of the last turn, I was on Kristen and I knew she was going to die soon, since she had been going for a lap already. But then Laura started to come and I thought 'Grrr..I have to go!' I felt like it was a bit early, because it was uphill and long. But I hadn’t really sprinted during the race because I was saving it, so I knew that I just had to go then."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Tina Pic (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|2||Samantha Schneider (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|3||Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers)|
|4||Lauretta Hanson (Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing)|
|5||Tiffany Pezzulo (DNA Cycling p/b K4)|
|6||Amy Cutler (Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing)|
|7||Jamie Gilgen (Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Woodbridge)|
|8||Angie Gonzalez (Venezuela)|
|9||Chelsea Factor (Outcast Racing Team)|
|10||Yussely Mendivil Soto (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|11||Holly Mathews (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|12||Kristen LaSasso (Mellow Mushroom)|
|13||Sara Tussey (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers)|
|14||Amy Floyd (ARGON 18 RACING p/b November & Fast Freddie Apparel)|
|15||BrittLee Bowman (CRCA/ Stan's NoTubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling)|
|16||Fiona Meade (Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing)|
|17||Hannah Todd (CRCA/ Stan's NoTubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling)|
|19||Vanessa Drigo (ARGON 18 RACING p/b November & Fast Freddie Apparel)|
|20||Nicole Mertz (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|21||Laura Jorgensen (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|22||Ashley Barson (Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Woodbridge)|
|23||Amy Phillips (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|24||Julie Kuliezca (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|25||Ivy Audrain (LA Sweat)|
|26||Erin Wittwer (Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing)|
|27||Arden Stelly (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers)|
|28||Jeannie Kuhajek (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|29||Cinthia Lehner (PainPathways)|
|31||Abby Ruess (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI)|
|32||Megan Heath (Frazier Cycling)|
|33||Courteney Lowe (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|34||Kathryn Clark (PCP Racing)|
|35||Kristen Lotito (CRCA/Houlihan Lokey)|
|36||Diana Ramos (PCP Racing)|
|37||Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth)|
|38||Samantha Bendt (Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers)|
|40||Sara Yancovitz (CRCA/ Stan's NoTubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling)|
|43||Emily Cox (The Hub Bikes)|
|44||Julia Fresne (Florida Velo)|
|45||Priscilla Calderon (LA Sweat)|
|46||Rebecca Schepps (LA sweat)|
|47||Maryann Riley (FACT)|
|48||Tara Keefer (NGCA mission source)|
|49||Meredith Uhl (Farm Team Elite Women's Cycling)|
|50||Kira Maicle (Pomplemousse Racing)|
|51||Oksana Miller (CRCA/ Stan's NoTubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling)|
|52||Lauren Dodge (University of Georgia)|
|53||Ariel Burgess (ARGON 18 RACING p/b November & Fast Freddie Apparel)|
|54||Cheryl Fuller Muller (ARGON 18 RACING p/b November & Fast Freddie Apparel)|
|55||Catherine Kim (DNA Cycling p/b K4)|
|56||Veronica Cejas (NGCA mission source)|
|57||Mackenzie Green (ProChain Cycling)|
|58||Jen Vollmer (Roosters Bikers Edge)|
|59||Margaret Douglass (Team Endurance 360)|
|61||Morgan Miller (Senic City Velo/Taco Mamacita)|
|62||Isabella Brookshire (Twenty 16 Pro Cycling)|
|63||Magdalena Cichon (Delafina)|
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