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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

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alexis Ryan (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team1:19:14
2Loren Rowney (Aus) Velocio - Sram
3Joanne Hogan (Aus) Team Tibco-Svb0:00:01
4Joanne Kiesanowski (NZl) Team Tibco - Svb
5Coryn Rivera (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
6Erica Allar (USA) Colavita-Bianchi0:00:02
7Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ale Cipollini
8Tina Pic (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
9Tayler Wiles (USA) Velocio - Sram0:00:12
10Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Velocio - Sram0:00:13
11Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Velocio - Sram
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 Mushroom
18Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Ale Cipollini
19Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products0:00:31
20Lindsay Bayer (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
21Dalia Muccioli (Ita) Ale Cipollini
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 - Svb
25Cari Higgins usa Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team0:00:35
26Briana Walle (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
27Doris Schweizer (Swi) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
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-Bianchi
33Debbie Milne (USA) Mellow Mushroom0:00:45
34Breanne Nalder (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4
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 Team
44Rushlee Buchanan (NZl) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
45Tiffany Pezzulo (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4
46Lauren Tamayo (USA) Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team
47Jacqueline Parker (USA) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized
48Ariane Horbach (Ger) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
49Miranda Griffiths (Aus) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth Dental
50Annalisa Cucinotta (Ita) Ale Cipollini
51Erica Zaveta (USA) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth Dental
52Kathrin Hammes (Ger) Team Tibco - Svb
53Christy Keely (USA) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels
54Catherine Dessureault (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized
55Iris Slappendel (Ned) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
56Megan Rathwell (Can) Bmw p/b Happy Tooth Dental
57Anna Sanders (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good
58Jessica Cutler (USA) Colavita-Bianchi
59Joelle Numainville (Can) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
60Fiona Meade (Irl) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels
61Meredith Bunkers (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling
62Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products
63Justine Clift (Can) Pain Pathways
64Sharon Laws (GBr) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
65Julie Leth (Den) Hitec Products
66Amy Charity (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
67Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels
68Starla Teddergreen (USA) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels
69Allison Arensman (USA) Pcp Racing
70Clara Koppenburg (Ger) Bigla Pro Cycling Team
71Valentina Paniagua (Col) Colombian National Team
72Vanessa Drigo (USA) Mellow Mushroom
73Kat Clark (USA) Pcp Racing
74Lex Albrecht (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
75Dafné Theroux (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized
76Laura Jorgensen (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
77Ashley Barson (Can) Mellow Mushroom
78Hannah Arensman (USA) Pcp Racing
79Nicole Bruderer Cofino (Gua) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri
80Elena Valentini (Ita) Btc City Ljubljana
81Adriane Provost (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized
82Kristin Lotito (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling
83Morgan Brown (USA) Colavita-Bianchi
84Annie Ewart (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
85Alison Tetrick (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
86Mia Manganello (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good
87Lauren Decrescenzo (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4
88Stephanie Roorda (Can) Sas Mazda Macogep Specialized
89Jamie Gilgen (Can) Mellow Mushroom
90Lenore Pipes (Gum) Pain Pathways
91Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Ale Cipollini
92Eugenia Bujak (Pol) Btc City Ljubljana
93Jelena Eric (Srb) Btc City Ljubljana
94Sarah Fader (USA) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
95Janicke Gunvaldsen (Nor) Hitec Products
96Miriam Bjørnsrud (Nor) Hitec Products
97Yussely Mendevil Soto (Mex) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri
98Carrie Cartmill (Can) Pain Pathways
99Meghan Korol (USA) Pain Pathways
100Mia Radotic (Cro) Btc City Ljubljana
101Mary Zider (USA) Colavita-Bianchi
102Jennifer Nordhem (USA) Crca/ Stan's Notubes p/b Velo Classic Cycling
103Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Can) Dna Cycling p/b K4
104Anna Grace Christiansen (USA) Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good
105Erin Wittwer (USA) Fearless Femme Haute Wheels
106Katherine Shields (USA) Pain Pathways
107Debbie Prouty (USA) Pcp Racing
108Alexandra Millard (USA) Is Corp p/b Smart Choice Mri
109Kristie Nichols James (USA) Qcw Breakaway Bikes
110Courteney Lowe (NZl) Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
111Lorena Vargas (Col) Colombian National Team
112Tess Senty (USA) Qcw Breakaway Bikes
113Cinthia Lehner (USA) Pain Pathways
114Diana Ramos (USA) Pcp Racing
115Natalia Franco (Col) Colombian National Team
116Lindsey Knast (USA) Qcw Breakaway Bikes
117Marianna Williams (USA) Qcw Breakaway Bikes
DNSJoanne Hogan (Aus) Team Tibco - Svb
DNSAnne Perry (USA) Dna Cycling p/b K4

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Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's beat is anti-doping, UCI governance and data analysis.

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