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Crashes cause cancellation of women's St. Paul Criterium

Officials called off the St. Paul Criterium after two major crashes caused a delay in race proceedings Wednesday evening. Just two laps of the 1.2km circuit remained when the second pile up in the first turn forced race officials and team directors to make the joint decision.

Race leader Brianna Walle (Team Tibco) said the majority of the riders agreed with the call.

"It made sense to me," Walle said after the race. "Both crashes were pretty bad. There was so much disarray and nerves that it was safer to call it quits. There were still people down on the road, so it was a good decision."

Despite gaps forming in the field in the latter part of the race, the overall favourites were together before the stage was nullified. UHC and Tibco had formed lead out trains at the front were set up to deliver their sprinters to the line.

Tomorrow, the pro women will tackle an 85-mile road race that winds through scenic Goodhue County before hitting four spectator-friendly circuits in Cannon Falls. Racing starts at 4 p.m. local time. 

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A former professional and two-time cyclo-cross US national champion, Beard is also an award-winning journalist and cycling commentator. Since leaving competition, she has written for several major cycling media outlets, worked as media director for major US stage races and consulted with men's and women's professional cycling teams.

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