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Miller solos to first UCI win

Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) won her first UCI-sanctioned cyclo-cross race at the Grand Prix of Gloucester round two on Sunday. The former US National Road Champion put forth a commanding solo performance winning the race by nearly 30 seconds ahead of her nearest competitors.

The previous day’s winner, Laura van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) won a two-up sprint to the line to take second place ahead of Sally Annis ( in third.

“This is my first UCI win,” Miller said. “I was close to winning the one in Portland last year but Katerina [Nash] came around me. It is pretty exciting. I was hoping to come out and get a win this weekend so I’m happy that I was able to get a first and a second.”

“Sally was really good technically in the corners and I only took one pull,” Van Gilder said. “I think our combined strengths separated us from the others. She had a gap on me as we came around the back stop. I was able to come from behind. I knew it was windy and uphill. I wasn’t certain that I could win the sprint but it was a long way to go.”

The second day of the Grand Prix of Gloucester marked round four of the North American Cyclo-cross Trophy (NACT) series. Canadian Wendy Simms is currently leading the overall standings.

Miller on the early move

Miller ignited the women’s 45-minute race with an early move on the first lap that resulted in a small lead that drew out her fiercest rivals.

On the list of riders to beat was the previous day’s race winner Laura van Gilder, who tactically outsmarted Miller in the technical closing metres of the race and then out sprinted her at the finish line.

“There was a little bit more power sections today and still some technical stuff but not as much as yesterday,” Miller said. “It was open and more into the wind today. There were sections of head wind and that played into my advantage.”

On the second lap, a front group emerged that included Miller and Van Gilder along with reigning Canadian national champion Natasha Elliott (Garneau Club Chaussure Ogilvy), Wendy Simms, Sally Annis ( p/b JRA Cycles), Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill-Seven Cycles) and Arley Kemmerer (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes) and Andrea Smith (Ladies First Racing).

“I didn’t have a specific plan going into today,” Miller said. “I took the hole shot and everyone was following me and I could tell they didn’t want to come around me.”

Elliott was the next to launch and attack along the ocean side straightaway but she too was reeled back in before the start of the penultimate lap. Her compatriot Simms counter attacked but her efforts were also short lived. Upon returning to the chase group she faltered and crashed opening up an opportunity for Miller to make her winning move.

“Natasha put in a nice attack and then Wendy but she slid out and I figured that was a good opportunity to try to go again and I was able to get away,” Miller said. “I don’t know that, if Wendy went down and I got around but everyone else got slowed up, if that is how I got the gap. It’s hard to see what happened behind me but I was definitely surprised.”

Miller muscled around the course capitalizing from the lengthy
straights that catered well to her powerful form gained during the road racing season. She initially established a ten-second gap that exploded to 25 seconds on the last lap, mainly because there was no concerted chase from the group that followed.

“I was hoping that we could all work together but Wendy went down a second time and I knew we were not going to get Miller back,” Van Gilder said. “It was a difference of; do I put in this big effort and drag everyone up to it? Once we weren’t putting time into Meredith I thought I should start thinking about the podium.”

Miller crossed the finish line and raised her arms in a victory salute for the first time at a UCI cyclo-cross race. Behind her, a battle for second place emerged between Van Gilder and Annis.

The pair entered the paved, uphill finish straightaway and Annis got a jump start ahead of Van Gilder in the final sprint. Van Gilder, renowned as a road sprinter after winning more than 350 races in her career, wound up her sprint and surpassed Annis to take second place.

Full Results
1Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized0:39:43
2Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes0:00:15
3Sally Annis (USA) p/b JRA Cycles0:00:16
4Natasha Elliott (Can) Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy0:00:26
5Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles0:00:34
6Wendy Simms (Can) Kona0:00:40
7Arley Kemmerer (USA) C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes0:00:44
8Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing0:00:49
9Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Crossresults.Com-Pedalpowercoaching.com0:01:16
10Kerry Barnholt (USA) Scott Ritchey0:01:28
11Linnea Koons (USA) Embrocation Cycling Journal0:01:32
12Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com0:01:40
13Rebecca Blatt (USA) Team Kenda
14Kari Studley (USA) Redline0:01:54
15Kristin Gavin (USA) Team CF0:01:58
16Christina Tamilio (USA) LadiesFirst Racing0:02:00
17Anna Barensfeld (USA) LadiesFirst Racing0:02:25
18Crystal Anthony (USA) LadiesFirst Racing
19Rebecca Wellons (USA) Pedro's0:02:33
20Nikki Thiemann (USA) Team CF0:02:45
21Lenore Pipes (USA) The Wistar Institute0:02:57
22Sarah Krzysiak (USA) / CBRC0:02:59
23Allison Snooks (USA) LadiesFirst Racing0:03:02
24Melissa Ross (USA) Team MMWR/Landry's Bicycles
25Cassandra Maximenko (USA) silverbull centralwheel0:03:17
26Marilyn Ruseckas (USA) Seven Cycles/NoTubes/FitWerx0:03:48
27Ann Hansgate (USA)0:03:52
28Lara Kroepsch (USA) Hudz-Subaru0:04:00
29Frances Morrison (USA) Wheelhouse -NCC0:04:16
30Marian Jamison (USA) Seaside Cycle0:04:44
31Laura Ralston (GBr) MIT0:04:45
32Amy Cutler (USA) Team EPS-CSS p/b Brielle Cyclery0:05:18
33Darcy Foley (USA)0:05:27
34Jessica Hayes Conroy (USA)0:05:39
35Pauline Frascone (USA)0:05:49
36Evie Boswell-Vilt (USA) Performance Bicycle Racing0:06:17
37Jocelyn Mauldin (USA) Mock Orange Bikes0:06:48
38Clara Kelly (USA) NEBC/Cycle Loft/Devonshire Dental0:06:51
39Janis Sandlin (USA) Tough Girl / SCOTT0:06:52
40Kristine Church (USA) Human Zoom-Pabst Blue Ribbon0:07:00

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.

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