Ryan wins Winston-Salem women's criterium

Alexis Ryan (UnitedHealthcare) powered over a swift downhill sprint and held off Loren Rowney (Velocio-SRAM) for the win at the Winston-Salem Classic Criterium Saturday in North Carolina. Joanne Hogan (Tibco-SVB) was third after joining Ryan and Rowney in a three-rider breakaway that lapped the field with 18 circuits remaining.

From that point the race was an all-out effort to set up the final sprint, where Velocio-SRAM lined it up for Rowney over the final two laps. In the finale it was Ryan's teammate Coryn Rivera who provided the perfect lead out, however, with Ryan diving into the final turn on an inside line and forcing Rowney to come around the long way. The tactic gave Ryan her first national level victory since the U23 criterium title in 2013.

The win was particularly poignant for Ryan, who spent all of last year recuperating from a severely broken arm sustained in the Energiewacht Tour in the Netherlands in April 2014. After seven months off the bike, the American who normally acts as a lead out for sprinter Coryn Rivera, finally got her own chance to shine.

"It feels pretty incredible, I've worked hard for the girls all year. Today, anyone could win, and it happened to be me. They were happy for me, and I was happy my giving to the team came back full circle," she told Cyclingnews. "I'm super happy to be back racing with such a great team."

The organisers changed the course from last year, finally settling on a short, rectangular circuit that started and finished in the middle of a fast descent. With a big field lining up for the National Criterium Calendar round and plenty of nerves, UnitedHealthcare decided to start attacking from the gun to shake out some of the many strong European riders in the race and keep their riders out of danger.

"Coryn attacked first, and then once we caught her I countered and two others went with me. It just stuck," Ryan said. "It wasn't the original plan, but it worked out. It's a really hard, fast course, and they probably weren't expecting us to stick it, it's not a normal thing to do."

The pressure from Unitedhealthcare on the first lap caught a number of teams napping, with Optum missing out completely. They weren't alone, as top European riders like Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products), Dutch champion Iris Slappendel (Bigla) and most of the Alé Cipollini team were caught in the whiplash-inducing changes of pace in the pack and missed the front split.

Ryan, Rowney and Hogan settled in and benefiting from a steady effort, worked together to slowly stretch their gap over the first hour and lap the field with about 20 minutes to go. Hogan knew she was outgunned in a sprint finish, knowing Rowney well from racing in Australia.

"I was in with two sprinters, and I'm not known to be a quick sprinter. I thought if the three of us stayed away I could try to be a bit cunning - Lauren is one of my good friends and I've been head to head with her in Australia and I know how good she is in a sprint. Alexis is a known sprinter, when the bunch caught us I thought it'd be a bit harder, people got a bit pushy, but my teammate Jo really pushed for me and got me into position in the finish."

As the laps ticked down, the three riders had help getting into position from their teams. Rowney's Velocio-SRAM team began its leadout a bit earlier than they had planned with 5 laps to go, but Rowney said she hesitated at one critical moment before the last turn and it was game over.

"The team did a brilliant job, but Coryn also did a good job taking Alexis through and I just hesitated a for a moment at the top [of the course] and she got the jump on me. I was cooked. I held on and tried to come at her but couldn't get over the top. I'm happy to be back - it's nice to get a podium."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexis Ryan (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team1:19:14
2Loren Rowney (Aus) Velocio - SramRow 1 - Cell 2
3Joanne Hogan (Aus) Team Tibco-Svb0:00:01
4Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team Tibco - SvbRow 3 - Cell 2
5Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Erica Allar (USA) Colavita-Bianchi0:00:02
7Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 6 - Cell 2
8Tina Pic (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy ToothRow 7 - Cell 2
9Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio - Sram0:00:12
10Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Velocio - Sram0:00:13
11Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Velocio - SramRow 10 - Cell 2
12Liza Rachetto (USA) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth Dental0:00:16
13Samantha Schneider (USA) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri0:00:18
14Sara Headley (USA) Team Tibco - Svb0:00:19
15Skylar Schneider (USA) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri0:00:27
16Diana Peñuela (Col) Colombian National Team0:00:29
17Sara Tussey (USA) Mellow MushroomRow 16 - Cell 2
18Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Ale CipolliniRow 17 - Cell 2
19Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products0:00:31
20Lindsay Bayer (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy ToothRow 19 - Cell 2
21Dalia Muccioli (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 20 - Cell 2
22Laura Van Gilder (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:32
23Beth Ann Orton (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good0:00:34
24Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Team Tibco - SvbRow 23 - Cell 2
25Cari Higgins usa Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:00:35
26Briana Walle (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 25 - Cell 2
27Doris Schweizer (Swi) Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Nicole Mertz (USA) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri0:00:39
29Janelle Cole (USA) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels0:00:41
30Kirsti Lay (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized0:00:43
31Kathryn Donovan (USA) Colavita-Bianchi0:00:44
32Whitney Schultz (USA) Colavita-BianchiRow 31 - Cell 2
33Debbie Milne (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:45
34Breanne Nalder (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4Row 33 - Cell 2
35Olivia Dillon (Irl) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good0:00:46
36Brittlee Bowman (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling0:00:49
37Heather Fischer (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K40:01:01
38Christina Gokey-Smith (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth0:01:06
39Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio - Sram0:01:30
40Elise Delzenne (Fra) Velocio - Sram0:01:31
41Kendall Ryan (USA) Team Tibco - Svb0:01:33
42Elena Berlato (Ita) Ale Cipollini0:01:43
43Hannah Barnes (GBr) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Tiffany Pezzulo (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4Row 44 - Cell 2
46Lauren Tamayo (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling TeamRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jacqueline Parker (USA) Sas Mazda Macogep SpecializedRow 46 - Cell 2
48Ariane Horbach (Ger) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 47 - Cell 2
49Miranda Griffiths (Aus) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth DentalRow 48 - Cell 2
50Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 49 - Cell 2
51Erica Zaveta (USA) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth DentalRow 50 - Cell 2
52Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Team Tibco - SvbRow 51 - Cell 2
53Christy Keely (USA) Fearless Femme Haute WheelsRow 52 - Cell 2
54Catherine Dessureault (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep SpecializedRow 53 - Cell 2
55Iris Slappendel (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Megan Rathwell (Can) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth DentalRow 55 - Cell 2
57Anna Sanders (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4GoodRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jessica Cutler (USA) Colavita-BianchiRow 57 - Cell 2
59Joelle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Fiona Meade (Irl) Fearless Femme Haute WheelsRow 59 - Cell 2
61Meredith Bunkers (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic CyclingRow 60 - Cell 2
62Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec ProductsRow 61 - Cell 2
63Justine Clift (Can) Pain PathwaysRow 62 - Cell 2
64Sharon Laws (GBr) Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Julie Leth (Den) Hitec ProductsRow 64 - Cell 2
66Amy Charity (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 65 - Cell 2
67Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Fearless Femme Haute WheelsRow 66 - Cell 2
68Starla Teddergreen (USA) Fearless Femme Haute WheelsRow 67 - Cell 2
69Allison Arensman (USA) Pcp RacingRow 68 - Cell 2
70Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Bigla Pro Cycling TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Valentina Paniagua (Col) Colombian National TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Vanessa Drigo (USA) Mellow MushroomRow 71 - Cell 2
73Kat Clark (USA) Pcp RacingRow 72 - Cell 2
74Lex Albrecht (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 73 - Cell 2
75Dafné Theroux (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep SpecializedRow 74 - Cell 2
76Laura Jorgensen (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy ToothRow 75 - Cell 2
77Ashley Barson (Can) Mellow MushroomRow 76 - Cell 2
78Hannah Arensman (USA) Pcp RacingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Nicole Bruderer Cofino (Gua) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice MriRow 78 - Cell 2
80Elena Valentini (Ita) Btc City LjubljanaRow 79 - Cell 2
81Adriane Provost (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep SpecializedRow 80 - Cell 2
82Kristin Lotito (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic CyclingRow 81 - Cell 2
83Morgan Brown (USA) Colavita-BianchiRow 82 - Cell 2
84Annie Ewart (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 83 - Cell 2
85Alison Tetrick (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit StrategiesRow 84 - Cell 2
86Mia Manganello (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4GoodRow 85 - Cell 2
87Lauren Decrescenzo (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4Row 86 - Cell 2
88Stephanie Roorda (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep SpecializedRow 87 - Cell 2
89Jamie Gilgen (Can) Mellow MushroomRow 88 - Cell 2
90Lenore Pipes (Gum) Pain PathwaysRow 89 - Cell 2
91Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale CipolliniRow 90 - Cell 2
92Eugenia Bujak (Pol) Btc City LjubljanaRow 91 - Cell 2
93Jelena Eric (Srb) Btc City LjubljanaRow 92 - Cell 2
94Sarah Fader (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy ToothRow 93 - Cell 2
95Janicke Gunvaldsen (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 94 - Cell 2
96Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec ProductsRow 95 - Cell 2
97Yussely Mendevil Soto (Mex) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice MriRow 96 - Cell 2
98Carrie Cartmill (Can) Pain PathwaysRow 97 - Cell 2
99Meghan Korol (USA) Pain PathwaysRow 98 - Cell 2
100Mia Radotic (Cro) Btc City LjubljanaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-BianchiRow 100 - Cell 2
102Jennifer Nordhem (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic CyclingRow 101 - Cell 2
103Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Can) Dna Cycling p/b K4Row 102 - Cell 2
104Anna Grace Christiansen (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4GoodRow 103 - Cell 2
105Erin Wittwer (USA) Fearless Femme Haute WheelsRow 104 - Cell 2
106Katherine Shields (USA) Pain PathwaysRow 105 - Cell 2
107Debbie Prouty (USA) Pcp RacingRow 106 - Cell 2
108Alexandra Millard (USA) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice MriRow 107 - Cell 2
109Kristie Nichols James (USA) Qcw Breakaway BikesRow 108 - Cell 2
110Courteney Lowe (NZl) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy ToothRow 109 - Cell 2
111Lorena Vargas (Col) Colombian National TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Tess Senty (USA) Qcw Breakaway BikesRow 111 - Cell 2
113Cinthia Lehner (USA) Pain PathwaysRow 112 - Cell 2
114Diana Ramos (USA) Pcp RacingRow 113 - Cell 2
115Natalia Franco (Col) Colombian National TeamRow 114 - Cell 2
116Lindsey Knast (USA) Qcw Breakaway BikesRow 115 - Cell 2
117Marianna Williams (USA) Qcw Breakaway BikesRow 116 - Cell 2
DNSJoanne Hogan (Aus) Team Tibco - SvbRow 117 - Cell 2
DNSAnne Perry (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4Row 118 - Cell 2

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