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Sun shines on Wangsgard in Anniston

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Jackie Crowell (3rd, Team Type 1), Nicky Wangsgard (1st, Roosters) and Carla Swart (2nd, Team Vera Bradley Foundation)

Jackie Crowell (3rd, Team Type 1), Nicky Wangsgard (1st, Roosters) and Carla Swart (2nd, Team Vera Bradley Foundation) (Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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The women's peloton still together

The women's peloton still together (Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters) leads the field early in the race

Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters) leads the field early in the race (Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) leads her companions through a corner

Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) leads her companions through a corner (Image credit: Brandon Andrews)
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Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters) leads the three-woman break

Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters) leads the three-woman break (Image credit: Brandon Andrews)

Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters p/b Edge Composite Wheels)) took her chances in a late-race breakaway and won the Sunny King Criterium. She out paced her companions Carla Swart (Team Vera Bradley) who placed second and Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) in third.

The event was one of the most spectator friendly of criteriums with a Red Diamond Jumbotron located at the finish line near the expo area along with an annual Red Diamond Restaurant Tour and festival held throughout the day. The sun shone on the women's field that lined up to start the race in the late afternoon.

Call ups included 2007 race winner Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), former US National Criterium Champion Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Baci), Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) and Robin Farina (Team Vera Bradley Foundation).

The pace rose to blistering speeds as race organizers rang the bell for several cash primes in the opening laps. Things slowed down and the peloton spread wide across the road in anticipation of a flurry of attacks from riders who wanted to start an early move.

A crash through the third corner caused the peloton to splinter as riders made their way to the mechanic's pit. Two riders launched themselves of the front from teams TIBCO and Vera Bradley Foundation.

The momentum of the field reeled in the two escapees and Team Vera Bradley Foundation assumed position at the front. Carla Swart (Vera Bradley Foundation) took a solo flyer and held a nearly 10-second gap ahead of the field for four laps. Jackie Crowell (Team Type 1) put forth a strong effort to bridge across.

Swart picked up several 100 dollar primes during her time off the front. Crowell made contact with her when there was 40-minute remaining in the women's 60-minute race.

Colavita-Baci tried to close down the gap to the breakaway riders in an attempt to hold the field together for its prominent sprinter Theresa Cliff-Ryan. Its all-rounder Andrea Dvorak used her top-form to close the gap.

The peloton was back together and spread across the road with Colavita-Baci sitting at the front. The next move came from Robin Farina (Vera Bradley Foundation) who clearly recharged her battery after the first effort.

Colavita-Baci put enough pressure on the front of the field to bring Farina back. Team Type 1 and Colavita-Baci did much of the pace setting on the front mid-race.

Sprinters Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita-Baci) and Erica Allar (Vera Bradley Foundation) sat protected and sheltered in the middle of the pack waiting for a shot at the final sprint.

Crowell counter attacked her teammate that resulted in the formation of a three-rider break away with Swart and Wangsgard.

The breakaway gained a sizable lead with five laps to go and turned out to be the winning move. Team Vera Bradley Foundation liked its chances with Swart and controlled the pace at the front of the field to make sure no riders tried to bridge across. Notably missing from the break were the Colavita-Baci and Kenda teams.

Wangsgard and Crowell did the much of the work to keep the break away rolling fast while Swart sat back, checking behind to negotiate the break's chances of staying away from the peloton during the final two laps.

With one lap to go the trio's pace slowed as they played a game of cat and mouse approximately 20-seconds in front of the field. Farina and Samantha Schneider (TIBCO) attempted to bridge across on the last lap.

Wangsgard attacked before the final turn and sprinted to the finish line. She held off the her breakaway companions to take the win by a slim margin ahead of Swart and Crowell. Chasers Farina and Schneider placed fourth and fifth respectively.

Full Results
1Nichole Wangsgard (USA) Roosters p/b Edge Composite Wh1:24:14
2Carla Swart (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation
3Jacquelyn Crowell (USA) Team Type 10:00:04
4Schneider Samantha (USA) Team TIBCO/To The Top0:00:17
5Robin Farina (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation
6Erica Allar (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation0:00:22
7Laura van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom
8Jacqueline Kurth (USA) Team Kenda
9Kori Seehafer (USA) Team Type 1
10Katherine Bates (Aus) Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling0:00:23
11Nicole Vincent Jordan (USA) Performance Bicycle Racing
12Carrie Cash-Wootten (USA) Team Vera Bradley Foundation
13Anna Young (USA) MVP Health Care Cycling
14Amity Elliot (USA) Team Kenda
15Kate Veronneau (USA) Mellow Mushroom
16Marie Rosado (USA)
17Davis Kirsten (USA) Performance Bicycle Racing
18Dana Martin (USA) Performance Bicyle Racing0:00:24
19Cheryl Fuller Muller (USA) Pedal Right Cycling Team
20Shontell Gauthier (USA) Colavita/Baci Pro Cycling0:00:25
21Ashley James (USA) Team Kenda
22Alexis Brown (USA)
23Priscilla Cazer (USA) Carve0:00:26
24Deb Whitmore (USA) BMW/Bianchi0:00:28
25Andrea Dvorak (USA) COLAVITA/BACI presented by COO0:00:29
26Katherine Ross (USA)
27Michele Moulton (USA) PCP
28Colleen Paine (USA) Pedal Right
29Melissa Petty (USA) Team Krystal Elite
30Kitty Wickes (USA) Team Cycleworks p/b HDR
31Jennifer Schuble (USA)
32Katie Curtis (USA) Team Kenda


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