Redlands Cycle Classic 2007
Redlands Downtown Criterium, 1 hour
With Amber Neben (STAHL / SC Velo), the race leader protecting a 32 seconds lead over Webcor's Mara Abbot and a minute over third placed Christine Thorburn, the criterium stage always had the potential to e exciting. Add to that the fact that T-Mobile were out of GC contention after the first, hilly, stage from Perris to Oak Glen (their best rider, Chantel Beltman was lying eighth, but over 3 and a half minutes down at the start of the day. They were bound to be looking for a stage win and have a team with sprinters including the German rocket, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg.
The race started with some early attacks, which were brought back quickly to the bunch. Then, a dangerous break went. It contained Teutenberg, Brook Miller (TIBCO), Christine Thorburn (Webcor) and Laura van Gilder (Cheerwine). The biggest threat to race leader from this group was Thorburn (one minute down). The gap quickly rose to over 10 seconds, whilst the breakaway's teams were happy to try to control the bunch and allow them to stay away.
TEAm Lipton took Kori Seehafer to the front for the three sprint competition points in the stage, se won the first and took the single point left to the bunch of riders in the remaining two, where the breakaway took the major points for first to fourth places. Amber Neben was in the bunch and as reliant on other teams as her own to ensure that she would take the yellow jersey into the final stage. Her problem; the options provided by virtue of Webcor having 3 riders in the top 4.....
The break managed to get the gap up to about thirty seconds and were off the front of the race for about half of the hour of racing. Teutenberg opened up the sprint as she, van Gilder and Miller turned into the finishing straight. Teutenberg easily took the win from van Gilder. Miller finished in third. Thorburn came in 6 seconds behind her fellow escapees, whilst Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter) led home the bunch sprint 29 seconds down on the winner.
Amber Neben - "I'm feeling nervous about stage 3. Webcor have such a strong team; there's only so many things single person can do against a team like that. [Neben is lined up in a local, Californian team which, although willing, is struggling to support her fully as race leader]. I kind of had to take a risk today and be patient and hope that either Colavita or Lipton would bring it back, or at least keep it close enough [to protect her leader's jersey]. I thought about going across, or trying to go across, but really [she shrugs], with tomorrow coming I had to save my energy and hope that I can protect again tomorrow. Its nice to have the yellow, but you want to have it at the end - it doesn't mean anything unless you've got it at the end."
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg - Did T-Mobile target the win today? "Yeah, we wanted to go for it because we have pretty much no chance on GC any more so we at least tried to get one stage win. Maybe tomorrow, the race is well suited for Oenone [Wood] or Suzanne [De Goede] or Chantel [Beltman]. I think its going to be a hard day because Webcor are going to attack and attack Amber [Neben], hopefully some of us can survive tomorrow." And the winning break had she known that was the one that would go to the end? "I was hoping, it stayed at 14 seconds for a while but when it got up to 30 seconds, I kind of knew it would stay." Could she relax a bit when the gap went to 30 seconds? "Yeah, its a bit easier when there's only three to watch. We didn't really need to worry about Christine Thorburn for the sprint. She worked the last two laps full-on because she wanted to have the time gap. Its easier in the break than in the field, there's less chances of crashing and people surprising you.
Results - Top 10
General Classification Top 10
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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