Whereas Ken Hanson was able to take advantage of strong teamwork to win the men's professional criterium championship, the same can't be said for Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Exergy TWENTY12) in the women's Herman Miller Grand Cycling Classic, part of the National Criterium Calendar.
The 34-year-old Philadelphia professional was riding without any of her Exergy TWENTY12 teammates during the women's category 1-2 race, but that didn't matter as she won for the second straight year in Grand Rapids with a furious sprint to the end to edge out Jade Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Jennifer Purcell (TIBCO-To The Top).
"A lot of the girls are getting ready to go overseas, and two are in London representing the USA in the Olympics," said Cliff-Ryan, who is originally from Cedar Springs, 30 minutes north of Grand Rapids.
"So during the first part of the race I had to play some poker. I couldn't chase every attack. But the one I did decide to chase, that ended up being the one that went out for good. So it played out perfectly."
Cliff-Ryan, Wilcoxson and Purcell built close to a minute lead off the field midway through the race, and kept that distance until the final sprint.
Wilcoxson knew there could be trouble at the end with no teammates, and one of the top sprinters in the sport right on her wheels, reigning criterium champion Theresa Cliff-Ryan.
"Prior to us getting away, TIBCO was attacking hard," said Wilcoxson, who is from Talent, Oregon. "It just happened to be that we just got away, and I was surprised how far we were able to pull away.
"I was happy to get away from the field," she added. "But on the other hand, I knew I was going to have to sprint against a national champion to win it."
Cliff-Ryan was just thrilled that should could win in front of a large contingent of family and friends. And she was happy to win one of Grand Rapids' famous trophies, a brick trophy, which helps symbolize the bricks the riders race over on the course in Grand Rapids.
"I love to come home and race, and I love these trophies," Cliff-Ryan said.
Race director Rob Laybourn says the day's racing was another big success. This year's races were held under clear sunny skies, unlike last year, when the men's pro race was delayed because of severe thunderstorms that went through the area.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Exergy TWENTY12)|
|2||Jade Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|3||Jennifer Purcell (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|4||Lauren Hall (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|5||Erica Allar (RideClean/PatentIt.com /C4 Cycling)|
|6||Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom Racing)|
|7||Kendall Ryan (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|8||Samantha Schneider (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|9||Serika Mitchell (Columbia)|
|10||Christy Keely (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder )|
|11||Lex Albrecht (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|12||Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)|
|13||Mackenzie Woodring (Einstein Racing)|
|14||Jeannie Kuhajek (PSIMET Racing)|
|15||Sierra Siebenlist (Team Indiebike)|
|16||Amy McGuire (FCS|ROUSE: p/b Mr. Restore/FCS Cycling)|
|17||Emma Bast (Speedfix Racing p/b Zubaz)|
|18||Alicia Trevino (Fusion / LIVESTRONG/Fusion Cycling Team)|
|19||Patricia Black (Red Racing)|
|20||Amy Stauffer (Team Priority Health)|
|21||Susan Palmer-Kramer (P-K Express)|
|22||Katheryn Everts (REAL WOMEN TRI)|
|23||Megan Guarnier (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|24||Diana Carolina (Columbia)|
|25||Ana Cristina (Columbia)|
|26||Alexia Muffat (FCS|ROUSE: p/b Mr. Restore/FCS Cycling)|
|27||Johanna Schmidt (Einstein Racing)|
|28||Sheila Orem (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder )|
|29||Amanda Miller (TIBCO-To The Top)|
|30||Debbie Milne (Mellow Mushroom Racing)|
|31||Suzie Brown (P-K Express/ HNZ Strategic.com)|
|32||Elizabeth Lauer (Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder )|
|33||Colleen Hayduk (RideClean/PatentIt.com /C4 Cycling)|
|34||Rachel Byus (FCS|ROUSE: p/b Mr. Restore/FCS Cycling)|
|35||Kristen Meshberg (Spidermonkey Cycling)|
|36||Zoe Reeves (Einstein Racing)|
|37||Amanda Ryan (Einstein Racing)|
|38||Stephanie Breslin de Sosa (Team Ghisallo/Ghisallo Cycling Team Inc.)|
|39||Allie Dragoo (Marian University Cycling Team/Marian University)|
|40||Holly Ackert (P-K Express)|
|DNF||Sarah Demerly (Fusion / LIVESTRONG/Fusion Cycling Team)|
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