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Cliff-Ryan fastest in Charlotte

USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar series resumed racing in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Presbyterian Hospital Criterium - the mid-summer cash cow of the criterium circuit that does double duty as part of the USA Crits series.

With two teams comprising more than a quarter of the women's peloton in Charlotte, it would have been a disaster if anyone but Colavita-Baci or TIBCO/To the Top won the race. One woman, Laura Van Gilder, riding solo for Mellow Mushroom, nearly pulled off the coup of the night but instead it was Colavita's Theresa Cliff-Ryan who claimed the top prize of $7,500.

It was the first time Cliff-Ryan has won the race in Charlotte, and she credited her new squad with helping her get the edge she needed to finally add the event to her palmares.

"This is my first year on a big team, so definitely having a team out there to help is a big step in winning. It's also just timing the sprint perfectly - it all worked out for me today."

Van Gilder nearly upset the big teams, and said she feels comfortable in the role of a free-lancer in the sprints. "It was tough - there was a lot of traffic to get through so I'm thrilled with second. I'd love to have teammates, but it just hasn't been meant to be. I'm just going to go out there and race my bike - I can go up against seven-rider teams and against every other individual rider who is racing without a team. There are so many strong women who aren't intimidated to race their bikes."

TIBCO's Jo Kiesanowski hit the front too early in the final turn and fought hard to win the final podium spot, just edging NRC individual leader Cath Cheatley at the line.

"The last lap was really messy - my teammate Sam [Schneider] did a great job getting me to the last corner, but unfortunately we didn't have anyone else between her and myself and I found myself on the front way too early. Theresa had a great sprint, she was really strong at the finish."

USA Crits series leader Erica Allar claimed the fifth spot, further extending her lead in that series over Tiffany Pezzulo with one race left to go. "I followed Shontell Gauthier for the mid-race points prime and ended up second and got more points. It was definitely a goal for the evening, so goal accomplished," said Allar.

"It's definitely something that is fun, it's exciting - I didn't really plan for it this season so that makes it even more fun."

The race was the third to last event in the NRC and the penultimate race in the USA Crits series for women. With the majority of the top women in the NRC earning their points through stage races and not present in Charlotte, the focus was on the teams classification where Colavita came into the race just 27 points ahead of the Vera Bradley Foundation squad.

The Colavita-Baci squad took control of the race from the gun, looking both to win the race with their prime sprinter Cliff-Ryan but also to extend their lead in the classification by placing their top riders in high positions in the race.

Australian Kate Bates was the sacrificial lamb, launching an attack from the gun and remaining active throughout the race taking the race's last prime, while TIBCO's Emma Mackie added to her team's prize purse by nabbing several prizes mid-race.

"We were trying to protect the overall so we couldn't do a proper lead-out because we had to have our top 4 riders finish up there for the team classification," said Cliff-Ryan. "Kate [Bates] did an awesome job, went for the prime and won it, then kept it going so I didn't get boxed, and then Cath went for it out of the last corner - she held on for fourth and it was perfect for her and perfect for me because it gave me a nice fast lead-out."

While Cheatley added to her lead in the NRC standings, Bates was happy to sacrifice her personal result, and after rolling through the last race of the lap completely exhausted, she was still trying to catch her breath well after the race had ended.

"The team was in a unique position - not only can we win the race with Theresa, but we're leading the NRC individually with Cath Cheatley and as a team," said Bates. "So today we had two jobs - one to win the race and the second to get as many girls as we could up in the points.

"There were a couple of us who weren't up there in the points, so it was our job to do what we could. It was fun, actually - it's a great course and at the end of the season we've really come together as a unit."

With seven TIBCO riders and eight from Colavita-Baci, the greatly outnumbered Peanut Butter & Co/Twenty 12 and Vera Bradley teams could not force a breakaway, while regional teams like Team Kenda and BMW-Bianchi had little hope of getting even momentary glory in the face of such domination.

Constant primes kept the pace of the race high, splitting the peloton under the consistent pressure of Colavita-Baci and TIBCO riders at the front, but always reforming by the end of the lengthy 1.25 mile lap.

Coming into the penultimate lap, the Peanut Butter & Co/Twenty 12 squad placed former solo Charlotte winner Kat Carroll in a five-rider split, but by the end of the lap the race was all back together for the bunch sprint.

Cheatley attacked into the last series of turns, but coming out of the final bend it was her teammate Cliff-Ryan who overpowered Van Gilder on the long run to the line to claim her first ever victory in Charlotte.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)0:55:40
2Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)0:00:01
3Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)
4Catherine Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
5Erica Allar (Unattached)
6Sinead Miller (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)
7Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)
8Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO)
9Carrie Cash-Wootten (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
10Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
11Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO)0:00:02
12Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
13Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO)
14Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)
15Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
16Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)0:00:03
17Rebecca Larson (Performance Bicycle Racing)
18Amity Elliot (Team Kenda)
19Nichole Wangsgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite Whe)0:00:04
20Toni Bradshaw (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)
21Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)
22Kristin Sanders (RideClean)0:00:05
23Amanda Miller (Team TIBCO)
24Rebecca Wellons (BMW Bianchi)
25Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft)
26Kathleen Billington (BMW Bianchi)0:00:06
27Valeria Galeano (Rosebandit)
28Tiffany Pezzulo (
29Lauren Robertson (FCS/ Metro Volkswagen)
30Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)0:00:08
31Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)0:00:11
32Rachel Warner (BMW-Bianchi)0:00:13
33Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)0:00:14
34Emma Mackie (Team TIBCO)0:00:17
35Laura Mccaughey (BMW Bianchi)
36Samantha Schneider (Team TIBCO)0:00:24
37Kate Bates (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)0:01:35
38Cheryl Fuller Muller (Pedal Right Cycling Team)0:02:42
39Colleen Paine (Pedal Right Cycling Team)
40Erin Silliman (Fruit66/Artemis)0:02:43
41Sheila Orem (Team Kenda)
42Christy Blakely (Team CARD)
43Kate Mahoney (Performance Bicycle Racing)
44Amy Mcguire (Wheelworks Racing)0:02:47
45Kate Ross (Team Card)0:03:14

USA Crits standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Erica Allar (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)906pts
2Tiffany Pezzulo (
3Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft)725
4Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling)504
5Carrie Cash-Wootten (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)483
6Sarah Caravella (BMW-Bianchi)475
7Kate Veronneau (Kutztown Cutters)413
8Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom)408
9Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co Twenty 12)404
10Elizabeth Morse Hill (Zmotion)382
11Lenore Pipes (Fruit66/Artemis)378
12Lauren Robertson (FCS/Metro Volkswagen)367
13Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1)364
14Rebecca Larson (Fulton Flyers)353
15Rebecca Wellons (BMW Bianchi)346
16Samantha Schneider (TEAM Tibco)346
17Laura Mccaughey325
18Rachel Warner (BMW-Bianchi)316
19Jacquelyn Crowell (Team Type 1)312
20Kate Ross (BMW-Bianchi)302
21Erin Silliman (Fruit66/Artemis)267
22Lauren Ellis (BikeNZ)266
23Frances Schofield (Zmotion)255
24Rushlee Buchanan (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling)230
25Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO)230
26Kaytee Boyd (BikeNZ)228
27Catherine Cheatley (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)226
28Christina Smith (Veloforma)226
29Amy Mcguire (Wheelworks Racing)224
30Shontell Gauthier (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling)217
31Sinead Miller (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)215
32Kate Mahoney (Performance Bicycle Racing)213
33Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)210
34Anna Lang (Vanderkitten Racing)210
35Jennifer Rasmusson (Team Kenda)209
36Meredith Miller (Team TIBCO)206
37Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)197
38Jessie Maclean (Verducci Breakaway Racing)195
39Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO)191
40Mary Costelloe (Verducci Breakaway Racing)191
41Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)187
42Christy Blakely (BMW-Bianchi)186
43Megan Guarnier (Team TIBCO)184
44Cassandra King (Amoroso's Cycling Team/Tri-State Velo)183
45Bron Ryan (Verducci Breakaway Racing)181
46Liza Rachetto (
47Rachel Byus (Metro Volkswagen Cycling Team)177
48Modesta Vzesniauskaite (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)173
49Jen Mcrae (Team Type 1)172
50Kristin Wentworth (Team Kenda)172
51Jaime Nielson (BikeNZ)171
52Patty Buerkle (Fruit66 -Artemis)167
53Cinthia Lehner (Raleigh Allstars)167
54Amity Elliot (Team Kenda)163
55Kristine Church (Humanzoom/ Pabst Blue Ribbon)163
56Jeannie Kuhajek (Team Mack Racing Association)163
57Toni Bradshaw (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)159
58Nichole Wangsgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite Wheels)159
59Tricia Carnila (Verducci Breakaway Racing)159
60Deb Sweeney Whitmore (BMW-Bianchi)159
61Christine Riker (Dolce Vita Cycling)155
62Colleen Gulick (Team Kenda)151
63Kristin Sanders (RideClean)147
64Deborah Leedale-Brown (TBB / Deep Blue)147
65Amanda Miller (Team TIBCO)144
66Lisa Jellett (Verducci Breakaway Racing)144
67Dana Walton (Chester County Velo)141
68Lauren Shirock (BMW Bianchi)138
69Kathleen Billington (BMW Bianchi)134
70Andrea Luebbe (Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon)134
71Patricia Black (Morgan Stanley Smith Barney/Sp)134
72Valeria Galeano (Rosebandit)131
73Emily Joyner (VA Asset Group/Twr)131
74Sydney Brown (
75Anne Meyer (Mercy-Specialized)128
76Andrea Dvorak (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)122
77Katharine Carroll (Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12)120
78Pam Loebig (Alderfer Bergen)119
79Emma Mackie (Team TIBCO)118
80Aimee Allen116
81Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)114
82Cathryn Merla-Watson (FCS/Metro Volkswagen)113
83Genevieve Whitson (MVP Healt Care Cycling)110
84Janelle Kellman (Dolce Vita)104
85Kate Bates (Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling Team)103
86Mandy Marquardt (Team Type 1)100
87Morgan Patton (Team Type 1)100
88Cheryl Fuller Muller (Pedal Right Cycling Team)98
89Colleen Paine (Pedal Right Cycling Team)95
90Kim Ciolli (FCS/Metro Volkswagen)95
91Lindsey Durst (Team Kenda)92
92Stacy Appelwick (Bouledogue Tout Noir)90
93Sheila Orem (Team Kenda)89
94Gwen Inglis (TREADS.COM/DFT)86
95Mary Magnani (Dolce Vita)68
96Louise Smyth (FCS/Metro Volkswagen)62
97Julie Kuliecza (Fruit 66/ Artemis)60
98Jennifer Reither (Vanderkitten Racing)55
99Jennie May (Pedal Right Cycling Team)50
100Jacqueline Kurth (Team Kenda)50
101Christy Keely (Team Kenda)50
102Missy Erickson (
103Nicole Freedman (Wheelworks Racing)50
104Gemma Dudley (BikeNZ)50
105Michelle Bishop (Cadence Cannondale Women's Racing)50
106Julia Lonchar (Chester County Velo -Smedley/Iron Hill Ra)50
107Thea Parent (Human Zoom / Pabst Blue Ribbon)50
108Arley Kemmerer (Team CARD Women's Cycling)50
109Jennifer Maxwell (Team Kenda)50
110Mags Crilley (Team TBB/Deep Blue)50
111Tracy Hogan (Third Pillar)50


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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.

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