Ryan wins women's US criterium title in crash-marred finale

Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB) won the women’s title at the USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships on Saturday in Greenville, South Carolina. The young rider went into the last lap further back among the top 10 but as the UnitedHealthcare blue train crashed coming out of the final corner, she found herself sprinting for the win ahead of Tina Pic (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling) and Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).

The women raced for 90 minutes on a fast four-corner, rectangular shaped circuit along W Camperdown Way, Rhetts St, Wardlaw St, S Main St and then back onto W Camperdown Way. Both women’s and men’s fields raced for the stars-and-stripes jerseys along with $10,000, 20-deep, in equal prize payouts.

Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) won last year in September in High Point, North Carolina, ahead of Erica Allar (Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking) in second and Samantha Schneider was third. Rivera, Allar and Pic were the first three riders called to the start line of the 55-rider peloton.

Allar was the first rider to attack almost straight off the start line but no teams were willing to put in the early effort to chase. The field bunched up through the corners causing several crashes with Amber Pierce (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling) taking the brunt of the accidents.

Officials neutralized the race while medical crew came onto the course to tend to Pierce. As the race resumed, officials started Allar ahead of the field but she was quickly reeled back in as riders from the field became more animated.

BMW p/b The Happy Tooth was the next to send a rider off the front, and although UnitedHealthcare and Tibco-SVB patrolled the front of the race, they did not attempt to chase the lone escapee.

Jessica Prinner (Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking) was the one to force a chase and bring the field back together. As the pace picked up, the field began to splinter with several separations happening through the chicanes on the lengthy straightaways. Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking continued their aggressive riding with Mary Zider and three of her teammates taking to the front.

Liza Rachetto (BMW p/b The Happy Tooth) and then Lindsay Bayer (Pepper Palace Pro Cycling) were the next two riders to make moves, both attacking from six of seven rider back in the field. Both gained small leads before UnitedHealthcare moved to the front to bring each of them back.

Former national road champion Robin Farina (BMW p/b The Happy Tooth) counter attacked, peeked under her arm through a corner and saw that she had a few seconds on the field. She pushed on in what became the first threatening move of the day.

UnitedHealthcare amassed at the front of the field and received some help from Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking and Pepper Palace, successfully bring back Farina.

Prinner made her second move of the day for Colavita-Bianchi and gained five seconds but it was quickly brought back, and simultaneously UnitedHealthcare was challenged with a three-rider attack from BMW p/b The Happy Tooth, Colavita-Bianchi and Pepper Palace.

With less than 30 minutes to go, the field was all bunched together as riders who hadn’t been seen for the duration of the race started to move forward including Pic and Rivera.

Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB), Amanda Miller (Pepper Palace) and Alexis Ryan (UnitedHealthcare) escaped the peloton and gained a significant time advantage with nine laps to go.

Alexis Ryan did not push the pace in the breakaway, rather sat on the back or just rolled through, while her UnitedHealthcare team sent all of their riders to the front of the field to bring back the move in order to set up their sprinter Rivera.

UnitedHealthcare, and the rest of the peloton, caught the breakaway riders with six laps to go but Stephens attacked again and gained a small lead with four laps to go. Despite her brave, last-ditch effort, she was reeled back in by UnitedHealthcare’s blue train with three laps to go.

Allar slipped into the UnitedHealthcare train on the last lap, while Rivera was caught several wheels behind. However, the defending champion went through the final corner in second wheel behind her teammate Ruth Winder.

Winder's back wheel slid out of the final corner and all of the front riders crashed behind her, including Rivera and Allar, leaving the race wide open for Kendall Ryan to sprint to the victory.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kendall Ryan (USA) Team Tibco-SVB1:29:34
2Tina Pic (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:00:01
3Brianna Walle (USA) Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:00:02
4Morgan Brown (USA) Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking0:00:03
5Liza Rachetto (USA) BMW p/b The Happy Tooth
6Alexis Ryan (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7Debbie Milne (USA) Dom360.com0:00:04
8Cari Higgins (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:00:06
9Samantha Schneider (USA) ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI
10Sara Tussey (USA) Carolina Cycling Team0:00:08
11Christy Keely (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing0:00:09
12Starla Teddergreen (USA) Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing0:00:10
13Sara Headley (USA) Team Tibco-SVB0:00:16
14Kathryn Donovan (USA) Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking0:00:19
15Lindsay Bayer (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:00:26
16Jessica Cutler (USA) Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking0:00:31
17Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking
18Amanda Miller (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling presented by The Happy Tooth0:00:59
19Robin Farina (USA) BMW p/b The Happy Tooth0:01:02
20Christina Gokey-Smith (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling
21Sarah Fader (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:01:12
22Julie Kuliecza (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling0:01:14
23Lauren Tamayo (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:01:53
24E Scotti Wilborne (USA) UnitedHealthcare0:02:06
25Lauren Stephens (USA) Team Tibco-SVB0:03:49
26Mary Elizabeth Maroon (USA) ACADEMY
27Mandy Heintz (USA)
28Amy Phillips (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling
29Jeannie Kuhajek (USA) ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI
30Skylar Schneider (USA) ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI
31Nicole Mertz (USA) ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI
32Erica Zaveta (USA)
33Sarah Lough (USA) Scalo Veloce

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