Borrajo, Fahlin win Menomonie Road Race

Tom Zirbel made his way into a seven-rider breakaway that finished more than a minute ahead of the field Saturday during the stage 5 Menomonie Road Race of the Nature Valley Grand Prix and took back the yellow jersey he gave up on stage 2. Alejandro Barrajo won the stage ahead of Jelly Belly's Christian Kriek and Competitive Cyclist's Tommy Nankervis.

In the women's race, Specialized-lululemon's Emilia Fahlin won a sprint finish ahead of teammate Loren Rowney, and Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies' Carmen Small held onto her overall race lead.

For the penultimate stage of the tour the race traveled to Wisconsin, where the men faced 160 km of rolling rural terrain and the women tackled 131 km.

Optum once again put a clamp on the women's field to protect Small's race lead, setting up a sprint finish after four circuits of a 4.8 km circuit around the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus in Menomonie. TIBCO-To the Top once again tried multiple attacks, with Megan Guarnier hanging onto the Most Aggressive Rider jersey she took the previous night at the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium, but none of the day's moves gained enough traction to prevent a bunch sprint in the finale.

"We wanted to control things," Small said. "So we would always let kind of one or two riders out and then just ride tempo. The more they were out there the easier it was to control the field. We wanted a group to come into the finish, so we weren't looking for a breakaway today."

Indeed, the group came into town together riding tempo. Recently named Olympic hopeful Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon) jumped off the front on the first of the four circuits to try a solo flyer. But Neben's move also fell victim to a chase led by Optum and Exergy, which went to the front with three to go intent on leading Cliff-Ryan to her third stage win of the tour.

With one to go the field was all together, and Specialized-lululemon took advantage of the opportunity to launch their lead out train past Cliff-Ryan's Exergy line up, delivering Fahlin and Rowney into first and second on the stage, while Vanderkitten's Emily Collins rounded out the podium. Cliff-Ryan, who managed fourth, said the team took over too early to sustain a proper lead out.

"We started with three laps to go," she said. "And on this course, it's three miles, it's not a crit course. So we're still learning as a team. They did a perfect lead out, but everything was just a bit early. So a little mistake today, but we'll fix it."

Collins benefited from the Exergy mistake, jumping on the Specialized-lululemon train as they swamped Cliff-Ryan's lead out riders.

"(Fahlin and Rowney) came through, and I hopped on Loren's wheel coming around the last corner," Collins said. "They did a good job, because I couldn't come around at that point. Looking back I should have gone earlier, but I'm happy to be up there today."

Fahlin, who said she was originally trying to lead out Rowney, was especially happy with the win after two stages of not being able to get past Cliff-Ryan's finishing kick.

"We had to try something," she said. "We were on their train on the last stretch, and on the last right I figured we just had to go. I knew I had Loren on my wheel, and I started the sprint really, really early. But she wasn't able to stick on my wheel, so I came first through the last corner and held it."

Small, who finished fifth on the stage and leads Fahlin now by 25 seconds and Neben by 44, has one more day to defend yellow before she can claim the final overall prize. The stage 6 Stillwater Criterium is a 2.25 km course with grades on the infamous Chilkoot Hill approaching 20 percent. Small said the team is ready for the challenge despite having had to control the race since day one.

"The hill isn't too bad itself, because it's only about 30 seconds long," Small said of Chillkoot. "But it's what comes after the hill, where it's a false flat and goes uphill a little more. It's a race of attrition, so you just hang in there as long as possible."

Zirbel rolls the dice and regains yellow, Barrajo sprints to stage win

The men's 160 km race was characteristically aggressive, with attack after attack animating the first two hours of racing. But nothing could stick over the rolling course until Zirbel got off the front on a slight downhill after the second-to-last KOM about 96 km into the race. He was quickly joined by Barrajo, Kriek, Nankervis, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell Pro Cycling), Andres Diaz (Team Exergy), Coulton Hartrich (Athletix-GlobalBike) and Elbowz Racing's Heath Blackgrove.

"I just kind of rolled off the front and that was it," Zirbel said. "They'd just had enough. Then a couple of guys bridged and a couple of more guys bridged."

The diversified nature of the group added to its chances for success, as did the worn out field led by a Kenda/5-Hour Energy squad that had burned a lot of matches the night before defending John Murphy's race lead.

"It was perfect because every team was represented except Kenda," Zirbel said. "Nobody had two teammates, so it was really even working and everyone was motivated. We knew the gap was established, and that's all it takes. When you have a bunch of guys who are tired and a yellow jersey team that was basically in tatters by that point, yeah, it's hard. We were organized, and that's probably more than you could say for the peloton, because I'm sure they were just as tired as we were."

Barrajo said he was happy to work with Zirbel because their different goals complimented each other well; Zirbel wanted time in the overall battle, and he wanted the stage win.

The group's gap ballooned to more than two minutes before it started coming back down. The seven escapees had just 50 seconds going over the final KOM with about 27 km remaining, but by the time they had reached Menomonie to start their four finishing circuits, their advantage had bumped back up to 1:45. Nankervis said the breakaway picked up the pace on the run into town to make sure all of their hard work paid off.

"When he had about 30 or 40 km to go, people started to get a bit complacent," Nankervis said. "But a few of us were just motivating everyone to keep working. Because if you're going to invest that much in it you might as well keep going. You don't want to walk away with no result."

The 1:45 gap held for several circuits in town before the field began to whittle into it, but by then it was far too late to do much. Jacques-Maynes fell off the pace briefly and lost contact but dug deep and fought his way back into the group before they all came through together for the bell lap.

Barrajo got the advantage coming out of the last corner and easily outpaced his breakaway companions for the stage win, with Kriek and Nankervis filling out the top three.

Zirbel finished fifth, and with the bunch that contained Murphy coming in 1:08 down, Zirbel took back the yellow jersey he won on the opening stage time trial but then surrendered to Murphy at the stage 2 criterium in St. Paul. Jacques-Maynes moved into second overall, 17 seconds off the leader, and Diaz grabbed the third overall spot, just 18 seconds in arrears. Hartrich, who won two stages at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic just a few days before Nature Valley, grabbed the best amateur jersey and sits fourth overall, 36 seconds off the leader's time.

Now Zirbel, one of the biggest riders in the peloton, has the unenviable job of defending yellow on one of the toughest criterium courses in the country. But he said he was ready to rely on his Optum team to help him make it happen.

"I have total confidence that they're going to put me in the right position," he said. "They're very strong. We lost (Mike) Friedman (in a stage 2 crash), which was unfortunate, but we've still got five strong guys. It should be interesting."

Optum team director Jonas Carney also gave his overall leader a vote of confidence going into the final stage.

"Tom's a big guy, but he climbs well for a big guy," Carney said. "We'll try to defend for him tomorrow, and he only has a few guys to keep an eye on. If he has a good day I think he'll be OK, and if he has a bad day we'll try to control Diaz and Jacques-Maynes. I feel like Tom can do it, and we're going to give a thousand percent for him tomorrow."

 

Full results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alejandro Borrajo (Arg) Jamis-Sutter Home3:40:02
2Christiaan Krick (RSA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 1 - Cell 2
3Tommy Nankervis (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Elbowz RacingRow 3 - Cell 2
5Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 4 - Cell 2
6Coulton Hartrich (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 5 - Cell 2
7Andres Diaz (Col) Team ExergyRow 6 - Cell 2
8Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 7 - Cell 2
9Daniel Holt (USA) Team Type 1 Development0:01:08
10Tyler Wren (USA) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Ty Magner (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Carlos Alzate (Col) Team Exergy0:01:13
13Charles Huff (USA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 12 - Cell 2
14Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Team ExergyRow 13 - Cell 2
15Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 14 - Cell 2
16Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 15 - Cell 2
17John Murphy (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 16 - Cell 2
18David Lozano (Spa) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 17 - Cell 2
19Hector Hugo Rangel (Mex) Mexican National TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Christian Helmig (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 19 - Cell 2
21Devan Dunn (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 20 - Cell 2
22Mike Creed (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 21 - Cell 2
23Stefano Barberi (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 22 - Cell 2
24Cesar Grajales (Col) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Luis Devila (Mex) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 24 - Cell 2
26Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 25 - Cell 2
27Alder Martz (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Travis Livermon (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 27 - Cell 2
29Bobby Sweeting (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 28 - Cell 2
30Luis Amaran (Cub) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 29 - Cell 2
31Zack Allison (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Andrew Bajadali (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 31 - Cell 2
33Ricardo Van der Velde (Ned) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 32 - Cell 2
34Mike Olheiser (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35David Santos (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 34 - Cell 2
36Chris Winn (Aus) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 35 - Cell 2
37Lee Muse (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 36 - Cell 2
38Connor McCutcheon (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Eric Marcotte (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 38 - Cell 2
40Michael Woell (USA) Freewheel BikeRow 39 - Cell 2
41Chris Baldwin (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 40 - Cell 2
42Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 41 - Cell 2
43Travis McCabe (USA) Landis/TrekRow 42 - Cell 2
44Tanner Putt (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Austin Allison (USA) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 44 - Cell 2
46Cole House (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team0:01:24
47Jean Michel Lachance (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
48Ryan Knapp (USA) Panther p/b Competitive Cyclist0:01:32
49Thomas Jondall (USA) Landis/Trek0:01:38
50Josh Yeaton (USA) Horizon Organic/Panache0:01:42
51Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly Cycling0:01:46
52Ivan Dominguez (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team0:01:57
53Logan Hutchings (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/Boneshaker0:02:01
54Mike Stone (USA) BMC-Hincapie Development Team0:02:03
55Ryan Wills (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/Boneshaker0:05:51
56Shawn Milne (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder0:07:43
57Kyle Wamsley (USA) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 56 - Cell 2
58Zachary Davies (USA) Team Exergy0:21:28
59Jonathan Toftoy (USA) Twin SixRow 58 - Cell 2
60Joseph Schmalz (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Tim Rugg (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubesRow 60 - Cell 2
62Andy Baker (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 61 - Cell 2
63Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 62 - Cell 2
64Shawn Gravois (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 63 - Cell 2
65Austin Vinton (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 64 - Cell 2
66Winston David (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 65 - Cell 2
67Christian Parrett (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Sean Sullivan (USA) Elbowz Racing0:22:28
69Matt Gorter (NZl) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 68 - Cell 2
70Colton Jarisch (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Ben Zawacki (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 70 - Cell 2
72Chris Uberti (USA) Panther p/b Competitive CyclistRow 71 - Cell 2
73Brandon Feehery (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 72 - Cell 2
74Alex Meyer (USA) ISCorpRow 73 - Cell 2
75Tony Olson (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 74 - Cell 2
76Jose Antogna (Arg) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 75 - Cell 2
77Guido Palma (Arg) Jamis-Sutter HomeRow 76 - Cell 2
78Ryan Aitcheson (Can) Panther p/b Competitive CyclistRow 77 - Cell 2
79Michael Dziedzic (USA) Landis/TrekRow 78 - Cell 2
80Luca Damiani (Ita) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b GeargrinderRow 79 - Cell 2
81Sean Mazich (USA) Jelly Belly CyclingRow 80 - Cell 2
82Clay Murfet (Aus) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 81 - Cell 2
83Mat Stephens (USA) Elbowz RacingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Branden Russell (USA) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 83 - Cell 2
85Josh Gillingham (Can) ISCorpRow 84 - Cell 2
86Ricky Gargiulo (USA) Champion System p/b Stan's NoTubesRow 85 - Cell 2
87Alexey Shmidt (Rus) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 86 - Cell 2
88Andrew Minier (USA) Twin Six0:27:18
89Nicholas Coil (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 88 - Cell 2
90Chad Hartley (USA) Kenda/5-Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder0:27:28
91Paolo Cravanzola (Ita) Team Type 1 DevelopmentRow 90 - Cell 2
92Chris Doig (USA) Freewheel BikeRow 91 - Cell 2
93Brandon Krawczyk (USA) Twin SixRow 92 - Cell 2
94Diego Sandoval (Mex) Mexican National TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Peter Hurst (USA) BikeReg.com / Cannondale Elite Cycling TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Tomas Roba (USA) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 95 - Cell 2
97Joshua Roeser (USA) Twin SixRow 96 - Cell 2
98Adam Froemming (USA) Freewheel BikeRow 97 - Cell 2
99Jens Brabbit (USA) Twin SixRow 98 - Cell 2
100Evan Burkhart (USA) BikeReg.com / Cannondale Elite Cycling TeamRow 99 - Cell 2
101Dan Harm (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 100 - Cell 2
102Joseph Welsh (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting GlobalbikeRow 101 - Cell 2
103Gevan Samuel (PuR) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 102 - Cell 2
104Dylan Jones (USA) Mercy Cycling TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Tyler Brandt (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106James Stangeland (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Liam Donoghue (USA) ISCorpRow 106 - Cell 2
108Eric Young (USA) Bissell Pro CyclingRow 107 - Cell 2
109Kip Spaude (USA) ISCorpRow 108 - Cell 2
110Chris Monteleone (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 109 - Cell 2
111Kyle Knott (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting Globalbike0:29:41
112Nick Traggis (USA) Horizon Organic/Panache0:30:18
113Braden Bingham (USA) Horizon Organic/PanacheRow 112 - Cell 2
114Steve Weller (USA) BikeReg.com / Cannondale Elite Cycling TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115George Cyrus (USA) Landis/Trek0:51:18
116Nick Schreiber (USA) Landis/Trek0:56:28
117Wes Holloway (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 116 - Cell 2
118Justin Williams (USA) CashCall MortgageRow 117 - Cell 2
119David Zimmermann (USA) Freewheel Bike1:02:13
DNFLogan Loader-Mooney (USA) Team ExergyRow 119 - Cell 2
DNFZach Bergh (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 120 - Cell 2
DNFAndre Vandenberg (USA) Astellas Oncology Cycling Team p/b ABDRow 121 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Brown (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 122 - Cell 2
DNFJerome Townsend (USA) Team Mountain Khakis/SmartStopRow 123 - Cell 2
DNFJohn Tomlinson (USA) ISCorpRow 124 - Cell 2
DNFEmile Abraham (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
DNFAndrew Crater (USA) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
DNFAlexander Gonzalez (Col) Rossetti Devo Cycling TeamRow 127 - Cell 2
DNFChad Adair (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/BoneshakerRow 128 - Cell 2
DNFPete Custer (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 129 - Cell 2
DNFEvan Fader (USA) Nature Valley Cycling TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 -
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Andres Diaz (Col) Team Exergy5pts
2Eric Marcotte (USA) Elbowz Racing3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Luis Amaran (Cub) Jamis-Sutter Home1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 2 -
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Andrew Bajadali (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies5pts
2Logan Hutchings (NZl) Team Hotel San Jose/Boneshaker3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Joseph Welsh (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting Globalbike1Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sprint 3 -
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Tommy Nankervis (USA) Competitive Cyclist Racing Team5pts
2Christiaan Krick (RSA) Jelly Belly Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Coulton Hartrich (USA) Athletix Cycling Team Benefiting Globalbike1Row 2 - Cell 3
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