Nature Valley Grand Prix 2009
Stage 3 - Erica Allar (Value Act Capital) won, Armstrong stays in yellow
Cannon Falls, 60 miles (100km)
Erica Allar of Value Act Capital won the
The action started from the beginning, with the first Queen of the
Hills (QOH) competition at 3.6 miles, won by Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple
Women’s Cycling Team). An early attack by Christina Smith (Veloforma)
launched after the first QOH marked the only notable break, gaining up to
20 seconds before getting caught within 4 miles.
Attack after attack caused havoc in the bunch and just
before the turn at 5km onto the dirt track a number of riders hit the
ground including most of Webcor, Team Tibco and Tina Pic. Many teams were
affected by the accident, but Webcor-Builders took the brunt of the fall,
which erased third placed and best young rider Alexis Rhodes, fourth
placed Erinne Willock, eight placed Katheryn Mattis, Rebecca Much and Gina
Grain. Team TIBCO riders caught up in the accident included Julie
Beveridge, Ambar Rais and Meredith Miller.
Recovering from the crash the front of the peloton
missed turn onto the stretch of gravel road and the remainder of the
peloton continued on in pursuit of the finishing circuits. Both Pic and
Allar were embodied in the group that missed the turn and found themselves
chasing their way back up to the field with enough time to sprint. The
pack sprinted to the line and Allar managed to find her way through to the
Tiffany Cromwell won the Sport Beans Queen of the Hills Jersey.
Stage winner, Erica Allar, took over the Freewheel Most Aggressive Rider
Jersey. Kristin Armstrong maintained the leader’s jersey, while the
Wheaties Sprint Jersey stayed with Kirsty Broun (Riverstone CDA).
Jacquelyn Crowell (Team Type 1) starts the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium in
the APC Best Young Rider Jersey after the crash of Alexis Rhodes. Kate
Veronneau (Altarum Women’s Cycling Team) in the Nature Valley Top
Erica Allar (Value Act Capital) reflected on the race, “We
missed the turn [onto the 1-mile stretch of gravel road] so we had to stop, turn
our bikes around, chase through the dirt section and make it back to the
front,” said Aller fresh off her win. “After I missed the turn
I said to myself, ‘Well, there goes my race’, but I wasn’t willing to give
up. Yesterday we didn’t have a very good day. We were itchin’ for a better
day and it couldn’t be any better than this.”
Kristen Armstrong (Cervelo Test Team) avoided the crashes to
stay in the leaders jersey. “It was non-stop,” said Kristin
Armstrong, who stayed within the top 10 throughout the race, dropping back to 30
just briefly after reeling in several breakaways in a row. “All the
teams were represented in the breaks. Everyone looked at me [to bring back the
breaks]. It was a lot of work for me at the end of the day, but you know what
– that’s what I’m here for. I respect that everyone’s out there racing
their bikes. It’s so much fun, that’s what bike racing is.”
Tina Pic (Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light) was involved in the big crash, “I crashed a few miles before the turn onto the dirt road,” says Pic. “We were last onto the gravel part, and we missed the turn, if it wasn’t for my teammates, I wouldn’t have been able to do so well – I thought I was done after I chased back onto the pack!”
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