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Merco Cycling Classic - NE

USA, February 28-March 1, 2009

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Stage 1 - March 1: Women's downtown criterium, 40 laps/32 miles

Teutenberg out kicks dominant Tibco lead out

By Kirsten Robbins in Merced, California

Ina Yoko-Teutenberg (Columbia-Highroad) showed she's lost none of her renowned speed, jumping ahead of Tibco's dominant lead out train to claim the Merco Classic Grand Prix victory. Despite a strong showing, Tibco teammates Brooke Miller and Lauren Tamayo had to make do wth the lower steps of the podium, with the US national road and criterium champion edging out Tamayo for second.

Columbia-Highroad may have lacked in numbers in Merced, but its strength wasn't diminished. The squad's three riders displayed their form, sending one after another off the front during the women's 40 lap criterium. "I always wanted to get away today," said Teutenberg. "I think being aggressive like that is a good way to gain form. If you just sit in all day you don't gain fitness it just gets really boring.

"It's early in the year so my attacks were good but the follow up doesn't really work yet. My top end needs some work. I didn't really do much in the last 10 laps because I knew it was going to come down to a sprint," she explained.

Alternately, Team Tibco planned to used its strength in numbers to play a more defensive role, using the criterium as an opportunity to test its lead out skills. "Today we raced exactly the way we wanted to," said Miller, noting that the Merced race was used to practice vital tactical skills for targeted races like the Redlands Classic in March and the Liberty Classic in June.

"Normally we race really aggressively and we are always attacking but today we wanted to race 100 percent defensively," Miller continued. "We had the numbers to make the race a bunch sprint so that's what we did. We covered and killed and I'm sure Columbia-Highroad was getting frustrated with us. We wanted to work on our lead out by forming it after the race had swarmed. We waited to form the lead out until one lap to go."

Some 50 women lined up to start the Merco Classic Grand Prix criterium. A crash on the back end of the circuit forced nearly 10 riders to the mechanic pit early in the game. There were no injuries and all riders were back in action when the peloton rounded the next lap.

Aggressive racing from the American peloton caused breakaways to form and reshuffle each lap. The majority of attacks came from Columbia-Highroad, Colavita/Sutter Home, La Grange, Sugar CRM and Metro Mint. However, Tibco proved to be the strongest team when they reeled in brief escapes before the separation reached five seconds.

"To be honest I think they gave up the race by playing defensive," said Teutenberg. "But, each team to their own. They said they wanted to practice a lead out today and they did a great job at that, leading everyone out including me. They did a really good job at it, there's no doubt about that; it was fast and no one could come around it. Brooke was second on the finish line and Lauren third. They have a strong team and there are still a lot of strong riders missing."

Rounding the last lap, Tibco rallied to find one another and executed an impressive test-run lead out for Miller. "Everything went perfect except I was trying to be patient and go around Lauren on the left. Ina jumped around me on the left first and I stuttered to go around Lauren on the right. That slowed me down and the second Ina has time on me I just can't bring that back. This is a great race and it is fantastic for us to have a local race with such a strong field to use for practicing things like this."

The Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic weekend will continue in the Foot Hills Road Race held in Snelling, Merced. The women will complete three large circuit totaling a 115 kilometre event through the notorious orange groves of California's Central Valley.


1 Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Team Columbia Highroad Women)    1.13.28
2 Brooke Miller (Team TIBCO)                                   
3 Lauren Tamayo (Team Tibco)                                   
4 Kelly Benjamin (Colavita/Sutter Home p/b Cooking)        0.01
5 Beatriz Rodriguez (Kahala LaGrange)                          
6 Megan Guarnier (PROMAN Racing)                               
7 Karla Kingsley (Team SugarCRM)                           0.02
8 Liza Rachetto (Team SugarCRM)                                
9 Olivia Dillon (Touchstone Climbing)                          
10 Katharine Carroll (Team TIBCO)                          0.03
11 Betsy Bloom (Kahala La Grange)                              
12 Stacy Marple (Colavita Sutter Home P/B Cooking)             
13 Mary Elizabeth Maroon (Vanderkitten)                        
14 Kimberley Anderson (Team Columbia Highroad Women)           
15 Vanessa Drugo (Hopkins Honda)                               
16 Kristen Lasasso (Kahala LGrange)                        0.04
17 Melodie Metzger (Vanderkitten)                              
18 Yukie Nakamura (Metromint Cycling)                            
19 Nichole Wangsgard (Colavita Sutter Home P/B Cooking)    0.05
20 Starla Teddergreen (Team SugarCRM)                      0.06
21 Rebecca Rising (Unattached)                                 
22 Kate Ligler (Dolce Vita)                                    
23 Elis Bradshaw (Metromint Cycling)                       0.07
24 Patricia Black (Morgan Stanley /Team Spine/ Sp)         0.11
25 Morgan Kapp (Kahala Lagrange)                               
26 Amanda Seigle (Metromint Cycling)                       0.13
27 Janeen Thorpe (Chico Corsa/Sierra Nevada)                   
28 Lindsay Myers (Team SugarCRM)                               
29 Emilia Fahlin (Team Columbia Highroad Women)                
30 Alison Starnes (Dolce Vita Cycling)                     0.14
31 Sarah Bamberger (Touchstone Climbing)                       
32 Jessica Phillips (Unattached)