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Photo ©: Bettini

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Merco Cycling Classic - NE

United States of America, March 1-2, 2008

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Fahlin wins break sprint

By Kirsten Robbins in Merced, California

Strong winds whipped through the women's peloton causing separation after separation. Emilia Fahlin (High Road) won sprint for victory out of a six-rider breakaway over Rushlee Buchanan (Tibco) and team-mate Mara Abbott (High Road).

"I tried attacking once out of the break and I was just happy that my team-mate Kim Anderson was always there to do most of the work in the last laps," said race winner Fahlin. "She did a really great job today and my team was so strong, I am really impressed with all of them because I was able to rest a little bit before the sprint."

Attacks in the 40-lap event started almost instantly with High Road's Kim Anderson taking an early flyer that lasted nearly half of the event. Riders from Proman and Tibco bridged across to Anderson, but none were successful in staying ahead. The strength of team's Tibco, VAC, Proman and Vanderkitten held the High Road rider at a 10 second lead before bringing her back with 15 laps remaining.

Fahlin and Buchanan countered Anderson's return and leaped off the front of the peloton through the technical chicane on the backside of the circuit. However two laps later Anderson was back up front with Proman rider Virginia Perkins.

"We decided we wanted to be involved in the race from the beginning," said Fahlin regarding her team's animation during the race. "But we were not sure about the other teams and girls because we don't know their strengths. We tried to have someone in every break."

Buchanan acknowledged her team-mates who were focused on the peloton, allowing her to stay concentrated on the High Road riders and be represented in breakaways. "We were all working well together," said Buchanan. "Kim was up the rode for half the race and I knew we were going to pull her back and High Road would attack again so I waited for that moment. The Tibco girls were covering everything so when I saw the opportunity to go I went with Fahlin."

The five riders maintained a healthy lead over the group, but High Road would not be content with a break away unless they had one more rider represented. High Road's Anke Wichmann was the first to try to bridge across, but when her attempt failed her team-mate Abbott was there to pick up the tab.

"I wouldn't say that I've trained differently, but more an issue of being motivated by the fact that my team-mates are always up at the front racing so intelligently," said Abbott regarding her newly found criterium skills and third placed finish. "I have had trouble doing what I'm suppose to do in crits before because they are challenging for me.

"But I promised myself that I was never going to let my team-mates do work for me that I could not reciprocate for them so when I saw Anke come back I new I had to be ready to try to get across myself," she added.

Buchanan, who also doesn't consider herself a sprinter, was pleased with her second placing. "It was a solid break," she said. "I kept my eyes on High Road during the sprint because I knew they would start it. I'm not really a sprinter but I'm trying to develop that."


Elite women

Women - Pro/Cat 1/2
1 Emilia Fahlin (Team High Road - Women)                            
2 Rushlee Buchanan (TEAM TIBCO)                                     
3 Mara Abbott (Team High Road - Women)                              
4 Virginia Perkins (PROMAN Racing)                                  
5 Kimberly Anderson (Team High Road - Women)                        
6 Anke Wichmann (Team High Road - Women)                            
7 Flavia Oliveira (Vanderkitten)                                    
8 Mary Ellen Ash (Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized)                      
9 Liza Rachetto (Team TIBCO)                                        
10 Natasha Perry (Velo Bella-Kona)                                  
11 Elizabeth Hatch (Vanderkitten)                                   
12 Mary Elizabeth Maroon (Vanderkitten)                             
13 Morgan Kapp (South Bay Wheelman)                                 
14 Ginger Hsieh (Team Rock)                                         
15 Charlotte Hart (TEAM TIBCO)                                      
16 Hanan Alves-Hyde (Vanderkitten)                                  
17 Patricia Bell (Morgan Stanley/24hr Fitness/Specialized)          
18 Elis Bradshaw (Metromint Cycling on Marin Bik)                   
19 Karla Kingsley (Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized)                     
20 Taitt Sato (ValueAct Capital)                                    
21 Yukie Nakamura (Team Kenda Tire)                                 
22 Betina Hold (PROMAN Racing)                                      
23 Laurel Green (Dolce Vita Cycling)                                
24 Amanda Seigle (code 3 racing)                                    
25 Emily Zell (PROMAN Racing)                                       
26 Rae Brownsberger (Stanford Cycling)                              
27 Olivia Dillon (Touchstone Climbing)                              
28 Courtney Hammond (Team Rock)                                     
29 Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders)                                   
30 Hannah Banks (ValueAct Capital)                                  
31 Abby Cooper (PROMAN Racing)                                      
32 Jennifer Van Muckey (Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized)                
33 Heather Sborz (Vanderkitten)                                     
34 Victoria Bastide (Team TIBCO)                                    
35 Janeen Thorpe (Touchstone Climbing)                              
36 Kate Ligler (PROMAN Racing)                                      
37 Sarah Lightfoot (Metromint Cycling on Marin Bik)                 
38 Brianne Burgess (Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized)                    
39 Kristina Seley (PROMAN Racing)                                   
40 Jerika Hutchinson (TEAM TIBCO)                                   
41 Priscilla Calderon (Team Rock)                                   
42 Megan Elliott (Unattached)                                       
DNS  Lana Atchley (Team Rock)                                       
DNS  Coryn Rivera (Kahala-La Grange)                                
DNF  Amy Mcguire (Team Kenda Tire)                                  
DNF  Ashley Dymond (Team Rock)                                      
DNF  Rachel Herring (Team Rock)                                     
DNF  Anna Drakulich (Bicycle Johns Serious Cycling)                 
DNF  Lauraleen Fenech (Team Walthour)                               
Women - Cat 3/4
1 Kristy Gough (Third Pillar)                                       
2 Lauren Hecht (Alto Velo Racing Club)                              
3 Aimee Baker (Protech Racing)                                      
4 Amy Encalada (Davis Bike Club)                                    
5 Vanessa Drigo (Village Peddler)                                   
6 Rita Szeto (NorCal Velo Womens Cycling Team)                      
7 Allison Krasnow (Metromint Cycling on Marin BIk)                  
8 Thea Rusthoven (Velo Bella-Kona)                                  
9 Alicia Cooperman (Stanford U Cycling)                             
10 Janelle Kellman (Dolce Vita Cycling)                             
11 Sarah Miller (Dolce Vita Cycling)                                
12 Audrey Brown (Stanford Cycling)                                  
13 Katrina Howard (Central Valley Cycling)                          
14 Jessica Conner (Dolce Vita Cycling)                              
15 Kathryn Donovan (NOW-MS)                                         
16 Sasha Richey (Stanford University)                               
17 Lindsay Myers (Dewar's Racing Team)                              
18 Emily Church (CRC/Poggio)                                        
19 Susan Weston (Stanislaus/Merlock Velo)                           
20 Jennie Phillips (Wells Fargo Racing Team)                        
21 Margaret Shanafield (Reno Wheelmen)                              
22 Darci Page (Reno Wheelmen)                                       
23 Emily Foxman (Touchstone)                                        
24 Angela Aldrich (Easton/SugarCRM/Specialized)                     
25 Monique Quandt (Metromint Cycling on Marin Bik)                  
26 Angela Dybdahl (NOW-MS Society)                                  
27 Lisa Stefke (Left Coast Racing Team)                             
28 Cynthia Lou (Team Rock)                                          
29 Alicia Halpern (Tieni Duro)                                      
30 Kim Nutt (Stanislaus/Merlock Velo)                               
31 Kelly Snow (Dolce Vita)                                          
32 Andrea Laue (Metromint Cycling on Marin Bik)                     
33 Holly Azevedo (Pacific State Bank Cycling Team)                  
34 Rebecca Rising (Central Valley Cycling)                          
35 Starla Teddergreen (Dolce Vita)                                  
36 Jamii North (WEBCOR/Alto Velo)                                   
DNS  Jasmin Parsons (InfoVista)                                     
DNF  Ashley Shimabuku (Roaring Mouse Cycles)