Huff, Cliff-Ryan take out Uptown Minneapolis Criterium

Jelly Belly's Brad Huff got redemption for coming just short of the stage 2 win in St. Paul by out-sprinting the field at the stage 4 Uptown Minneapolis criterium of the Nature Valley Grand Prix Friday. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (ExergyTWENTY12) notched her second stage win of the tour with another sprint victory, while Both Carmen Small (Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and John Murphy (Kenda/5-Hour
Energy) held onto their leaders' jerseys for Saturday's Menomonie Road Race. 

The men's 40-lap race featured two intermediate time bonus sprints and more time bonuses at the finish, providing enough incentive for 2011 overall winner Jesse Anthony (Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies), who started the stage 28 seconds down on Murphy, to set out on his own just four laps into the race.

“I just wanted to move up a little bit on the GC,” he said. “We crept everyone up a little bit in the top 10, and now we have a lot of numbers to play tomorrow in Menomonie.”

Anthony built a gap of seven seconds before the first intermediate sprint fueled the chase to bring him back, but he held on to take the maximum five-second time bonus with 32 laps remaining – then he was quickly back in the group.

More attacks flew off the front until Optum's Mike Creed and Jelly Belly's Ricardo Van der Velde slipped away with 26 laps remaining. Anthony and stage 2 winner Carlos Alzate (Team Exergy) bridged on the next lap to form a four-rider break that would pressure Murphy's Kenda squad for the rest of the race.

The group flowed well together and built a lead of 20 seconds with 17 laps remaining before Anthony took the second time bonus of the day. The escapees then built their advantage to 25 seconds with 15 to go, making Anthony the virtual leader on the road. Frankie Andreu, director of Murphy's Kenda/5-Hour Energy team said despite Anthony's virtual race lead, the team had everything under control.

“It wasn't a problem,” Andreu said. “Twenty-five seconds, 30 seconds, we knew we had to keep it in check, but I knew there were a lot of fresh legs still in the group, and when they came to the front they could eliminate 15 seconds a lap.”

The gap hovered around 25 seconds for several laps before Kenda started whittling at the lead, slicing off a couple of seconds each loop until the team had it down to just 17 seconds with seven laps remaining. Creed had blown with nine laps to go and dropped out of the group, so with six circuits left Anthony attacked the break and set off one more time on his own.

“They weren't working a whole lot, and I didn't want to pull them to the line if we had a chance to stay away,” Anthony said of Van der Velde and Alzate. “I knew it would be touch and go in the end. It's hard to hold off a field chasing like that, but I had to give it my best.”

His move was doomed when the teams that had been riding in the Kenda slipstream for the entire race came to the front looking for a stage win. Anthony had just four seconds on the bunch when Elbowz Racing's Eric Marcotte attacked and bridged up to him, but it was too little too late as Bissell took control for sprinters Frank Pipp and US national criterium champion Eric Young.

With the advantage almost closed down, Jelly Belly sent Jeremy Powers and Christian Kriek to finish off the last little gap. Anthony eventually surrendered, but Marcotte stayed clear for one more lap, coming back into the fold on the penultimate loop of the 1.4 km circuit. Huff said it was the perfect set up to use his powerful finishing kick.

“Kenda/5-Hour Energy did a great job there on the front,” he said. “Then Bissell came up after them and really pulled it all back. The race wouldn't have happened for me if it wouldn't have been for those two teams. Then I had two teammates with me to take me to the front, and it worked out well.”

The field took the bell for the final lap together and a drag race for the line was all but assured. Team Exergy's Freddie Rodriguez took the front for sprinter Alzate, but somewhere over the final 1.4 km Alzate lost his lead out man's wheel, so Huff, Alejandro Barrajo (Jamis-Sutter Home), Frank Pipp and Rodriguez came through the last corner shoulder to shoulder.

“I was in a bad position,” Huff said. “But luckily enough I found a gap on the right side of the road, so I went for it and got it. There was little bit of rubbing, but we were just fast; four guys four abreast in the corner, and everyone just kind of fanned out and went for it on their own.”

Huff had gained a little less than a bike length advantage as he crossed the line for the win. Barrajo grabbed second, and Pipp, who started the day third overall, held on for third on the stage and gained enough of a time bonus at the finish to move into second overall just a couple of seconds behind Murphy. Stage 1 winner Tom Zirbel (Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies) is now third, four seconds in arrears. Murphy praised his teammates' daylong effort on the front of the race, adding that he was just happy to come out of the stage with his race lead still intact.

“I almost crashed on the last lap, so I lost (Pipp's) wheel,” he said. “I wasn't able to sprint for time bonuses, so that was kind of a disappointment for today, but all in all we kept the jersey, stayed out of trouble and got some time, which is what we wanted. So it was all good. We'll do it again tomorrow, and then I'd like to take this all the way through Stillwater.”

Cliff-Ryan doubles up in Minneapolis, Small adds to race lead

Time bonuses in the women's 28-lap race also dictated much of the action, with Small adding to her overall lead by taking the first sprint ahead of ExergyTWENTY12's Heather Logan and Specialized-lululemon's Ali Stacher. Megan Guarnier (TIBCO-To The Top) countered the sprint effort with a solo attack, but the field was having none of it and brought her back within one loop of the six-corner course that was lined with spectators enjoying the Friday night uptown spectacle.

TIBCO team director Angela Van Smoorenburg said the team rode aggressively in hopes of denying Optum and ExergyTWENTY12 the bunch sprint they were obviously hoping for.

“Because Exergy has Theresa Cliff-Ryan, they have a fast sprinter, so we wanted to have a breakaway, even though we have fast riders in the sprint,” Van Smoorenburg said. “But the plan was a breakaway, and we tried with Megan Guarnier, and also Amanda Miller tried it, but the bunch was too strong and it was too fast. Optum was riding really well, and so it was hard.”

Specialized-lululemon, ExergyTWENTY12 and TIBCO all took turns on the front early trying to keep the pace high, but touched wheels on the start/finish straightaway just eight laps into the race brought down more than 20 riders, causing officials to neutralize the field and restart after a 10-minute break to get all of the riders and their machines back in working order.

Once the race was rolling again, Optum went to the front and drilled the pace, stretching out the 90-rider field in single file for several laps in an attempt to set up Small to win the second time bonus of the day at 16 laps remaining. Specialized-lululemon's Emilia Fahlin slipped past Small to take the maximum bonus, but the overall leader grabbed another three-second bump as the runner up.

Guarnier tried her second move with 12 laps to go and had a gap of eight seconds before Stacher and Amy Dombroski (FCS-Rouse) bridged up two laps later. The trio maintained Guarnier's original gap with nine laps remaining, but Optum's chase brought them back into the fold three laps later. TIBCO tried to attack again on the next lap, but Optum was all over the move, hoping to keep things together for sprinter Leah Kirchmann.

Optum's plan for Kirchmann went south, however, when a rider put her into the barriers on the back straight with four laps remaining. Cliff-Ryan's ExergyTWENTY12 squad capitalized on the confusion and sent its lead out train to the front for the final three laps. And just like she did for ExergyTWENTY12's stage 2 win, Heather Logan delivered the team sprinter into the final corner and left the final bit of work up to Cliff-Ryan, who performed her job to perfection, gaining a bike-length advantage at the line over TIBCO's Samantha Schneider and Small, who took second and third, respectively.

“The girls did a perfect lead out again,” Cliff-Ryan said of the effort that led to her second stage win. “(Kristin McGrath) was amazing. I think she was on the front for two laps. Then Katie (Antonneau) took over, then Jackie (Crowell) took over. Heather was my last girl again, and she took me through the last corner the way I wanted, first and second. My job was simple again: just sprint to the line.”

Small said the finale was up in the air with Kirchmann gone, and she had hoped to play off the other teams to take her to the line. But she came up just short of winning the stage.

“I knew Exergy would do a lead out,” she said. “But I got boxed in a little bit on that last corner.”

Despite missing out on the top two places for the stage, Small's day of sprinting earned her enough time bonuses to boost her lead over Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon) from 25 seconds to 41. The new advantage gives her and the Optum team a little more room to work with during the Saturday Menomonie Road Race and Sunday's Stillwater Criterium, and at the end of the day Small praised her teammates for putting in the hard work to make it happen.

“They totally controlled the race,” she said. “So they did all the hard work. Getting the time bonuses was really good, because I'll need as much as I can get going into Sunday.”


Full results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Charles Huff (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling1:08:56
2Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 1 - Cell 2
3Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 2 - Cell 2
4Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Team ExergyRow 3 - Cell 2
5Eric Young (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 4 - Cell 2
6Tommy Nankervis (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Carlos Alzate (Col) Team ExergyRow 6 - Cell 2
8John Murphy (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 7 - Cell 2
9Ty Magner (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Christiaan Krick (RSA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 9 - Cell 2
11Ricardo Van der Velde (Ned) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 10 - Cell 2
12Chris Baldwin (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 11 - Cell 2
13Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 12 - Cell 2
14Daniel Holt (USA) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Logan Loader-Mooney (USA) Team ExergyRow 15 - Cell 2
17Tanner Putt (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Luis Amaran (Cub) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 17 - Cell 2
19Andres Diaz (Col) Team ExergyRow 18 - Cell 2
20Tyler Wren (USA) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 19 - Cell 2
21Ivan Dominguez (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Thomas Brown (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 21 - Cell 2
23Mat Stephens (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 22 - Cell 2
24Mike Creed (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 23 - Cell 2
25Christian Helmig (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 24 - Cell 2
26Cesar Grajales (Col) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Tim Rugg (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubesRow 26 - Cell 2
28Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 27 - Cell 2
29Andrew Bajadali (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 28 - Cell 2
30Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 29 - Cell 2
31David Lozano (Spa) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 30 - Cell 2
32Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 31 - Cell 2
33Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 32 - Cell 2
34Mike Olheiser (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Chris Winn (Aus) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 34 - Cell 2
36Devan Dunn (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 35 - Cell 2
37Alder Martz (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Bobby Sweeting (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 37 - Cell 2
39Jose Antogna (Arg) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 38 - Cell 2
40Sean Mazich (USA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 39 - Cell 2
41Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Elbowz RacingRow 40 - Cell 2
42Kyle Wamsley (USA) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 41 - Cell 2
43David Santos (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 42 - Cell 2
44Clay Murfet (Aus) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 43 - Cell 2
45Chris Uberti (USA) Panther p/b Competitive CyclistRow 44 - Cell 2
46Travis McCabe (USA) Landis/TrekRow 45 - Cell 2
47Michael Woell (USA) Freewheel BikeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Josh Yeaton (USA) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 47 - Cell 2
49Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 48 - Cell 2
50Travis Livermon (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 49 - Cell 2
51Sean Sullivan (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 50 - Cell 2
52Derek Goerke (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubesRow 51 - Cell 2
53Josh Gillingham (Can) ISCorpRow 52 - Cell 2
54Jean Michel Lachance (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Coulton Hartrich (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 54 - Cell 2
56Ryan Knapp (USA) Panther p/b Competitive CyclistRow 55 - Cell 2
57Ryan Wills (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/BoneshakerRow 56 - Cell 2
58Colton Jarisch (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Tony Olson (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Jonathan Toftoy (USA) Twin SixRow 59 - Cell 2
61Brandon Feehery (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 60 - Cell 2
62Tyler Brandt (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Stefano Barberi (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 62 - Cell 2
64Nicholas Coil (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Dan Harm (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 64 - Cell 2
66Eric Marcotte (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Brandon Krawczyk (USA) Twin SixRow 66 - Cell 2
68Andrew Minier (USA) Twin SixRow 67 - Cell 2
69Zack Allison (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 68 - Cell 2
70Adam Froemming (USA) Freewheel BikeRow 69 - Cell 2
71James Stangeland (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Luis Devila (Mex) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 71 - Cell 2
73Alexander Gonzalez (Col) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 72 - Cell 2
74Ben Zawacki (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 73 - Cell 2
75Zachary Davies (USA) Team ExergyRow 74 - Cell 2
76Kyle Knott (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 75 - Cell 2
77Cole House (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 76 - Cell 2
78Connor McCutcheon (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 77 - Cell 2
79Winston David (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 78 - Cell 2
80Matt Gorter (NZl) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 79 - Cell 2
81Chris Monteleone (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 80 - Cell 2
82Austin Allison (USA) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 81 - Cell 2
83Peter Hurst (USA) / Cannondale Elite Cycling TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 83 - Cell 2
85Joseph Welsh (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 84 - Cell 2
86Diego Sandoval (Mex) Mexican National TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Lee Muse (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 86 - Cell 2
88Christian Parrett (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 87 - Cell 2
89Mike Stone (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Guido Palma (Arg) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 89 - Cell 2
91John Tomlinson (USA) ISCorpRow 90 - Cell 2
92Kip Spaude (USA) ISCorpRow 91 - Cell 2
93Hector Hugo Rangel (Mex) Mexican National TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Ricky Gargiulo (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubes0:00:25
95Gevan Samuel (PuR) Rossetti Devo Cycling Team0:00:39
96Shawn Gravois (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting Globalbike0:00:58
97Liam Donoghue (USA) ISCorpRow 96 - Cell 2
98Pete Custer (USA) Nature Valley Cycling Team0:01:14
99Jens Brabbit (USA) Twin Six0:01:15
100George Cyrus (USA) Landis/Trek0:01:17
101Alexey Shmidt (Rus) Team Type 1 Development0:01:19
102Joshua Roeser (USA) Twin SixRow 101 - Cell 2
103Ryan Aitcheson (Can) Panther p/b Competitive CyclistRow 102 - Cell 2
104Dylan Jones (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Evan Burkhart (USA) / Cannondale Elite Cycling TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Nick Schreiber (USA) Landis/Trek0:01:22
107Logan Hutchings (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/BoneshakerRow 106 - Cell 2
108Thomas Jondall (USA) Landis/Trek0:01:44
109Andy Baker (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:01:45
110Chris Doig (USA) Freewheel Bike0:01:48
111Steve Weller (USA) / Cannondale Elite Cycling Team0:01:55
112Andrew Crater (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling Team0:02:40
113Emile Abraham (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling Team0:04:10
114Zach Bergh (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD0:05:02
115Evan Fader (USA) Nature Valley Cycling Team0:05:14
116Branden Russell (USA) Team Type 1 Development0:05:19
117Tomas Roba (USA) Horizon Organic/Panache0:05:34
118David Zimmermann (USA) Freewheel Bike0:05:46
119Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder0:06:08
120Nick Traggis (USA) Horizon Organic/Panache0:06:38
121Chad Hartley (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder0:06:39
122Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder0:06:40
123Jerome Townsend (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStop0:07:06
124Justin Williams (USA) CashCall Mortgage0:07:08
125Chad Adair (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/Boneshaker0:07:24
126Braden Bingham (USA) Horizon Organic/Panache0:07:26
127Michael Dziedzic (USA) Landis/Trek0:07:28
128Alex Meyer (USA) ISCorp0:08:39
129Wes Holloway (USA) CashCall Mortgage0:09:09
130Paolo Cravanzola (Ita) Team Type 1 Development0:10:39
131Andre Vandenberg (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABD0:10:49
132Austin Vinton (USA) Mercy Cycling Team0:11:34
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Sprint 1 -
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Carlos Alzate (Col) Team Exergy5pts
2Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Ricardo Van der Velde (Ned) Jelly Belly Cycling1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 -
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Carlos Alzate (Col) Team Exergy5pts
2Ricardo Van der Velde (Ned) Jelly Belly Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies1Row 2 - Cell 3
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Charles Huff (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling10pts
2Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) Jamis-Sutter Home7Row 1 - Cell 3
3Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling5Row 2 - Cell 3
4Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy4Row 3 - Cell 3
5Eric Young (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling3Row 4 - Cell 3
6Tommy Nankervis (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team2Row 5 - Cell 3
7Carlos Alzate (Col) Team Exergy1Row 6 - Cell 3
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King of the Hill
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies5pts
2Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Bobby Sweeting (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Most aggressive
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies4pts
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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bissell Pro Cycling3:26:48
2Jelly Belly P/B Kenda Cycling TeamRow 1 - Cell 2
3Team ExergyRow 2 - Cell 2
4Jamis Sutter HomeRow 3 - Cell 2
5Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 4 - Cell 2
6Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 6 - Cell 2
8Kenda/5hr Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 7 - Cell 2
9Elbowz RacingRow 8 - Cell 2
10Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 9 - Cell 2
11CashCall MortgageRow 10 - Cell 2
12Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 11 - Cell 2
13Mercy Cycling TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 13 - Cell 2
15TWIN SIXRow 14 - Cell 2
16Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 15 - Cell 2
17Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 16 - Cell 2
18ISCorpRow 17 - Cell 2