Winder solos to US road championship in Knoxville

Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo) soloed to victory Sunday at the USA Cycling Pro Road Championships elite women's road race in Knoxville, Tennessee, going solo from a two-rider move on the penultimate lap and just holding off the reduced peloton led in by defending champion Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) ahead of Emma White (Rally UHC) on a hot and humid day in the American Southeast.

Winder attacked with more than 32km to go, bridging up to a breakaway and then distancing sole companion Lily Williams (Hagens Berman-Supermint) on the final steep 1km climb up Sherrod Road, then held off a charging peloton that nearly made contact on the final turn.

The Yorkshire-born American was thrilled to claim her first national title on the road since her junior years.

"The whole time I kept telling myself 'It's not over until it's over, just keep going' - trying to push until I saw the finish line. I thought for sure everyone is about to pass me and it was going to be one of those super dramatic finishes like in Rio when Mara [Abbott] was passed just before the line, and then I looked around and was like, 'what?!'," Winder said.

"I knew I couldn't leave it to a sprint because Coryn Rivera, Alexis Ryan, Emma White are all so fast in the sprint. Tayler and I knew we had to start giving it a go. I didn't have a plan, necessarily, it was just a good moment to go and I ended up staying away. You never know it's going to work until the end."

Last year, Rivera benefitted from the work of Winder when they were teammates on Sunweb, but this time she was flying solo.

"It is hard on your own, but at least it's a worthy winner with Ruth," Rivera said. "We came so close to getting her so many times, I gave it my all on the last hill there. So close but it was just not enough. It goes to show that extra teamwork really makes a difference. I think she really deserved it. I had a great time in the stars and stripes and I will always remember that. I'll just have to go for it again next year."

White won the U23 Women's title with her third place, topping Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air Twenty20) and Madeline Bemis (Milligan College) to take her third jersey of the event after winning the elite and U23 criterium titles.

"Last year I made a pretty big mistake and my wheel slid out in the last corner, so all year I've been thinking about how I'm going to improve that last climb," White said. "I didn't slide my wheel out but I just didn't have enough to get Coryn.

"Being on the pro podium is really special, but the U23 title is also special because we have a strong generation coming up. I'm really proud to wear this jersey," White said.

How it unfolded

Seventy-five women took the start for the 113.5km championship road race on a hot and sunny day in Knoxville, and right from the gun, the always-aggressive Hagens Berman-Supermint squad launched their first attack with Julie Kuliecza jumping clear.

Kuliecza was chased for a time by Gabrielle Russell (Orion Racing) but remained solo until the second lap when her teammate Starla Teddergreen came across with Beth-Ann Orton (Instafund LaPrima). Once caught, Kuliecza dropped back to the field, while Teddergreen and Orton built up a maximum lead of 4:15 before Rally UHC came to the fore to whittle down the gap.

With three laps to go, Trek-Segafredo's Tayler Wiles drove the pace up the Sherrod Road climb and through the feed zone, where her teammate Winder launched a counter.

Winder was nearly caught, but she kept the pace up and was soon joined by Hagens Berman-Supermint's Lily Williams and Shayna Powless (Sho-Air Twenty20), who helped bring the move up to Teddergreen and Orton.

Having spent the better part of 100km off the front, Teddergreen and Orton soon dropped off, leaving Winder and Williams away.

On the penultimate trip up Sherrod Road, Winder distanced Williams, but the criterium podium finisher clawed her way back to the Olympian.

Behind, there were only 34 riders left in the peloton, with most of Hagens Berman-Supermint massed near the front. The gap edged near the minute mark as Sho-Air Twenty20 came to the front for Chloe Dygert, but with one lap to go, the duo's lead was down to 40 seconds and the peloton single file behind Twenty20's Jennifer Luebke.

On the final climb of Sherrod Road, Winder left Williams behind for good, but still faced 11 long kilometres and a 30-strong peloton chasing hard behind.

"I told Lily I really have to go as hard as I can on this climb because I don't know how close they are, even though it would have been better for us to be together on the final lap," Winder said.

The chase behind was disorganised by a number of attacks, but Winder's teammate Wiles played a crucial role in her victory, getting to the front in the penultimate turn and slightly slowing the bunch. Rivera managed to get past and launched her sprint early, but narrowly missed catching Winder and had to settle for second.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ruth Winder (USA) TREK-Segafredo3:17:41
2Coryn Rivera (USA) Team SunWeb0:00:01
3Emma White (USA) Rally UHC Cycling0:00:02
4Chloe Dygert (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY200:00:03
5Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon SRAM Racing0:00:04
6Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla0:00:06
7Emma Langley (USA) Racing Women/Dornier RaRow 6 - Cell 2
8Katharine Hall (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:00:08
9Tayler Wiles (USA) TREK-Segafredo0:00:10
10Madeline Bemis (USA) Milligan CollegeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Krista Doebel-hickok (USA) Rally UHC Cycling0:00:12
12Lily Williams (USA) Hagens Berman | SupermintRow 11 - Cell 2
13Emily Newsom (USA) Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank0:00:13
14Amber Neben (USA) Cogeas Mettler Look Pro CyclingRow 13 - Cell 2
15Leigh ann Ganzar (USA) Hagens Berman | SupermintRow 14 - Cell 2
16Nina Laughlin (USA) CTS Cycling fueled by Hiball En0:00:14
17Whitney Allison (USA) Hagens Berman | Supermint0:00:49
18Clio Dinan (USA) Green Line Velo driven by Zipca0:02:18
19Shayna Powless (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY200:02:19
20Debbie Milne (USA) Supra Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Regina Legge (USA) Gray Goat - Bullseye Total Medi0:02:20
22Emma Bast (USA) Levine Law Group Elite Cycling0:02:22
23Jolene Holland-neve (USA) Colavita|Bialetti Racing0:02:23
24Kat Sweatt (USA) Specialized Wolfpack p/b JakrooRow 23 - Cell 2
25Clara Honsinger (USA) Team S&M CX0:02:25
26Kathryn Aman (USA) Green Line Velo driven by Zipca0:02:26
27Starla Teddergreen (USA) Hagens Berman | SupermintRow 26 - Cell 2
28Lindsay Goldman (USA) Hagens Berman | Supermint0:02:31
29Stefanie Sydlik (USA) Femme Equipe p/b Swisse WellnesRow 28 - Cell 2
30Liza Rachetto (USA) Hagens Berman | Supermint0:02:43
31Jessica Cerra (USA) Hagens Berman | SupermintRow 30 - Cell 2
32Samantha Schneider (USA) CWA Racing p/b TREKRow 31 - Cell 2
33Katie Kantzes (USA) Specialized Wolfpack p/b Jakroo0:04:53
34Beth ann Orton (USA) Instafund LaPrima Racing0:05:13
35Erica Clevenger (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20Row 34 - Cell 2
36Jennifer Luebke (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20Row 35 - Cell 2
37Heidi Franz (USA) Rally UHC Cycling0:06:18
38Lisa Cordova (USA) Levine Law Group Elite Cycling0:10:33
@1LapAyesha Mcgowan (USA) A Quick Brown Fox p/b Liv RacinRow 38 - Cell 2
@1LapHolly Breck (USA) Go Fast - Incycle /Go FastRow 39 - Cell 2
@1LapRachel Jordan (USA) 3T/Q+MRow 40 - Cell 2
@1LapAbigail Mickey (USA) Rally UHC CyclingRow 41 - Cell 2
@2LapAllie Legg (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20Row 42 - Cell 2
@2LapJulie Emmerman (USA) Rally Sport Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
@2LapLaurel Rathbun (USA) Colavita|Bialetti RacingRow 44 - Cell 2
@2LapKendall Ryan (USA) Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley BankRow 45 - Cell 2
@2LapSkylar Schneider (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling TeamRow 46 - Cell 2
@2LapMelanie Wong (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20Row 47 - Cell 2
@2LapMargot Clyne (USA) Sho-Air TWENTY20Row 48 - Cell 2
@2LapCharlotte Backus (USA) Orion Racing p/b Borah TeamwearRow 49 - Cell 2
@2LapMichelle Howe (USA) Northwest Tri & BikeRow 50 - Cell 2
@2LapMelissa Teeple (USA) American Flyers RacingRow 51 - Cell 2
@2LapJillian Bearden (USA) Trans National Womens Cycling TRow 52 - Cell 2
@2LapSummer Moak (USA) Rally UHC CyclingRow 53 - Cell 2
@2LapLori Nedescu (USA) Femme Equipe p/b Swisse WellnesRow 54 - Cell 2
@2LapKrystal Burnham (USA) Milligan CollegeRow 55 - Cell 2
@2LapBrenna Wrye-simpson (USA) DNA Pro Cycling TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
@2LapGrace Chappell (USA) Specialized Wolfpack p/b JakrooRow 57 - Cell 2
@2LapErica Carney (USA) Rally UHC CyclingRow 58 - Cell 2
@3LapHayley Bates (USA) Levine Law Group Elite CyclingRow 59 - Cell 2
@3LapSamantha Quijano (USA) SquadraSF p/b TerunRow 60 - Cell 2
@3LapDanielle Clark (USA) Racing Women/Dornier RaRow 61 - Cell 2
@3LapJennah Dunham (USA) Femme Equipe p/b Swisse WellnesRow 62 - Cell 2
DNFJulie Kuliecza (USA) Hagens Berman | SupermintRow 63 - Cell 2
DNFGabrielle Russell (USA) Orion Racing p/b Borah TeamwearRow 64 - Cell 2
DNFCaitlin Milne (USA) Supra Cycling TeamRow 65 - Cell 2
DNFChristina Gokey-smith (USA) Colavita|Bialetti RacingRow 66 - Cell 2
DNFHeather Nielson (USA) Colavita|Bialetti RacingRow 67 - Cell 2
DNFTina Pic (USA) Colavita|Bialetti RacingRow 68 - Cell 2
DNFMeredith Moran (USA) Green Line Velo driven by ZipcaRow 69 - Cell 2
DNFJaime Larmer (USA) Team Elevate RacingRow 70 - Cell 2
DNFMadison Kelly (USA) CWA Racing p/b TREKRow 71 - Cell 2
DNFMasha Schneider (USA) E2Value p/b Verge SportRow 72 - Cell 2
DNFJanelle Cole (USA) Fast Chance Womens CyclingRow 73 - Cell 2
DNSJennifer Hale (USA) Orion Racing p/b Borah TeamwearRow 74 - Cell 2

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