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Valadez wins second stop of American Criterium Cup in Rochester for women

Women's podium at 2022 Rochester Twilight Criteriuim (L to R): runner-up Colleen Gulick, winner Mariana Valadez, third-placed Andrea Cyr
Women's podium at 2022 Rochester Twilight Criteriuim (L to R): runner-up Colleen Gulick, winner Mariana Valadez, third-placed Andrea Cyr (Image credit: American Criterium Cup)

Mariana Valadez grabbed the first victory of the season for LA Sweat in the MVP Health Care Rochester Twilight Criterium on Saturday. She was part of the decisive, late five-rider break who sprinted to the line in the second round of the American Criterium Cup.

Colleen Gulick (Team Skyline) finished second and Andrea Cyr (Butcherbox Cycling p/b LOOK) sealed the podium with third. 

Cyr, who was 12th at the opening round of the 10-race series at Sunny King Criterium, moved into the individual lead for elite women. While official series tabulations are to be confirmed Monday, it appeared that Anna Christian (Colavita/Factor Pro Cycling) would take over the sprint lead. 

The top riders after the opening round of the series, leader Skylar Schneider with L39ION of Los Angeles teammate Alexis Ryan in third and second-placed Maggie Coles-Lyster of DNA Pro Cycling Team with teammate Diana Peñuela in fourth, all opted to race the Joe Martin Stage Race this week.

Cyr, in her first full season on the elite level of racing in the US, said she went after sprint points during the race, which count toward the overall standings in the Cup series, and it was the attack on the third and final intermediate sprint of the race that made all the difference.

“I went for the sprint with seven laps to go, which is the final one. And the field was strung out at that point. I was feeling good, so I kept rolling it hard with a few ladies and we had a bit of a gap. And that's when we decided the right people were in the break,” Cyr told Cyclingnews about the decisive move. 

“We rolled it hard to get away from some chasers in the back, but we managed to open it up to 30 seconds. It was a meaningful break and we were committed to roll it to the line.”

It was actually Valadez who took top points in the final sprint, using all five teammates from LA Sweat to set her up for that surge and what led to the extra acceleration to follow Cyr in the break. It led to her team’s first victory of the season.

“As it was my first race with the team, I didn’t have huge expectations other than to support our captains. But with the support of my teammates and being in the break, I knew what I had to do,” Valadez, a 2019 track national champion (scratch race) for Mexico, told Cyclingnews.

Once Valadez was out front with the four other riders in the closing laps, the LA Sweat team controlled the pace of the chase to allow the break to go from a six-second gap with six laps to go to a 30-second advantage for the final sprint finish.

“It's actually a very fun course. It's technical, it's fast, and it flowed well. I am very happy to stay dry,” Cyr said about the women’s contest on the eight-corner course in downtown Rochester. 

Unlike the women, the men’s round of the American Criterium Cup was cancelled after heavy rain storms brought racing to a halt after approximately three laps. Race organisers considered a restart after 20 minutes, but persistent lightning in the area and more rain was deemed unsafe to continue for the racers and spectators. It was the first time in the 19-year history of the Rochester Twilight Criterium that weather was responsible for race disruption. The race was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Racing for the American Criterium Cup continues June 10 in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the first of three days of racing at Tulsa Tough, at the McNellie's Group Blue Dome Criterium.

Results - elite women
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Mariana Valadez (Mex) LA Sweat 0:55:53
2Colleen Gulick (USA) Team Skyline 0:00:01
3Andrea Cyr (USA) Butcherbox Cycling p/b Look
4Anna Christian (USA) Colavita/Factor Pro Cyclingq
5Lisa Jacob (Aus) Fearless Femme Racingq 0:00:03
6Danielle Morshead (USA) LA Sweat 0:00:33
7Alijah Beatty (USA) ATX Wolfpack p/b ProBikeKit
8Christina Gokey Smith (Colavita/Factor Pro Cycling)
9Gillian Bennett (USA) Butcherbox Cycling p/b Look
10Brittany Parffrey (USA) Colavita/Factor Pro Cycling

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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).

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