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Tour of California Women's Criterium - NE
Santa Rosa, California, USA, February 15, 2009
Fahlin wins soaky crit in Santa Rosa
By Kirsten Robbins in Santa Rosa, California
Swedish sprinter Emilia Fahlin, the youngest member of Team Columbia-Highroad, won the women's Tour of California criterium with an impressive performance besting second placed Lauren Tamayo (Tibco) and third placed Rachel Lloyd (ProMan) in a sprint to the line.
"I was third here last year so it was nice to win it this time," said Fahlin in a post race press conference. "I really enjoyed the race last year with the big crowds, so I wanted to do better. Getting to win here was really fun and great way to start the season; very motivating."
Talks of the women's one day event flourishing into a three-day stage race for 2009 fell through. The idea of becoming a stage race will continue to develop for 2010. "Returning to Santa Rosa for the second-annual criterium was an obvious choice after the incredible turnout last year," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.
"There are a lot of passionate cycling fans watching the stage race so we wanted to utilize that opportunity to showcase the amazing talent of these professional women cyclists as well. We remain committed to presenting women's cycling and will look for ways to help promote and grow women's cycling in the coming months and years."
Sunny California was not so sunny at the start of the women's 60-minute criterium. The foul weather conditions continued to pour down on the international field as they were individually called to the line.
"As much as I hate the rain I don't mind racing in it and I know other people have a harder time with it," said Tamayo. "You have to have the right mindset going into it. The conditions were the same for everyone and you just have to race your bike and try to be safe. I'm looking forward to the season with Tibco, we've put an awesome team together. This result was a good way to start the season off right."
The women's flat, four-corner circuit catered to a bunch sprint; however, the rain, winds and cold weather added an element of surprise to the outcome of the race. A twelve-rider group split off the front of the peloton mid-race. Most of the riders represented in the break did not realize there was a separation until it has been well-established at 20 seconds.
"I didn't realise there was a breakaway," Fahlin said. "I tried to stay as close as I could to the front because when it is raining and windy that is the best place to be to stay safe. I was told over the radio that I was in a breakaway and I should continue. My teammate Kim came across too and so that was really good to have two of us up there."
The riders in the breakaway included Fahlin, Tamayo and Lloyd along with Kim Anderson (Columbia-Highroad), Meredith Miller (Tibco), Kelly Benjamin (Colavita-Sutter Home), Robin Farina and Kristin McGrath (Value Act Capital), Olivia Dillion and Sarah Bamberger (Touchtone Climbing), Jen Riether (Vanderkitten), Karla Kingsley (Sugar CRM) and Kathryn Curi-Mattis (Webcor).
"It was really cool being in the break today and then placing on the podium," said Lloyd who recently completed a very successful cyclo-cross season over in Europe. "Whenever it is raining like this I feel like it is better to make the race fast so that we are strung out through turns and able to take safe lines. I know that I can compete with the top girls in the world and today was all about position in the end."
The break away zipped through down the lengthy start-finish line straightaway relentlessly attacking one another in hopes of reducing the rather large group. Tibco riders Miller and Tamayo proved to be the most aggressive rider putting forth multiple at escaping the front group. Columbia-High riders Anderson and Fahlin took turns reacting. Other strong attacks came from Farina and Mattis.
"I wasn't sure if I was doing too much," said Tamayo. "With ten laps to go I wanted to be aggressive but I also thought I should be thinking about the finish. I guess I did a bit of both.
Meanwhile, back in the bunch multiple threatening sprinters waited patiently as their lead out trains slowly formed with 9 laps to go. The speedsters included Canadian national criterium US national road and criterium champion Brooke Miller (Tibco), Gina Grain (Webcor), Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home), Laura Van Gilder (Sugar CRM) and Ina Teutenberg (Columbia-Highroad).
The break away riders came barreling to the finish line in a heated sprint for the victory and continued to maintain a 20 second margin on the field. Fahlin launched her sprint with three hundred meters to go with Tamayo on her wheel. Lloyd followed the pair and the three finished with several bike lengths on the remaining breakaway riders.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mitch Clinton/www.clintonphoto.com
Images by Garrett Lau/garrettlau.smugmug.com
Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com
1 Emila Fahlin (Team Columbia Highroad Wm) 2 Lauren Tamayo (Team Tibco) 3 Rachel Lloyd (Proman) 4 Karla Kingsley (Sugar CRM) 5 Sarah Bamberger (Touchstone Climbing) 6 Kelly Benjamin (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 7 Kristen McGrath (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team) 8 Olivia Dillion (Touchstone Climbing) 9 Katheryn Mattis (Webcor Builders Cycling Team) 10 Robin Farina (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team) 11 Jenifer Reither (Vanderkitten) 12 Kim Anderson (Team Columbia Highroad Wm) 13 Meridith Miller (Team Tibco) 14 Ina Teutenberg (Team Columbia Highroad Wm) 15 Brooke Miller (Team Tibco) 16 Gina Grain (Webcor Builders Cycling Team) 17 Martina Patella (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team) 18 Vanessa Drigo (Hopkins Honda) 19 Mary Maroon (Vanderkitten) 20 Laura Van Gilder (Sugar CRM) 21 Alexandra Wrubleski (Team Columbia Highroad Wm) 22 Mary Ellen Ash (Sugar CRM) 23 Jenifer Wilson (Vanderkitten) 24 Kristen Drumm (KD Enterprises) 25 Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 26 Helene Drumm (Proman Hit Squad) 27 Janel Robertson (Metromint Cycling) 28 Amy Dombroski (Webcor Cycling Team) 29 Amber Rais (Team Tibco) 30 Yukie Nakamura (Metromint Cycling) 31 Cari Higgins (Proman) 32 Anna Davenport (Zeitgeist/Ultimate Fit) 33 Kristen Meshberg (BH USA) 34 Carol Irving (Touchstone Climbing) 35 Starla Teddergreen (Sugar CRM) 36 Emily Zell (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team) 37 Jadine Riley (Team Group Health) 38 Lauren Hecht (Webcor Cycling Team) 39 Patricia Bailey (Wines of Washington) 40 Liza Rachetto (Sugar CRM) 41 Nicole Evans (Webcor Builders Cycling Team) 42 Rebecca Much (Webcor Builders Cycling Team) 43 Christina Ruiter (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team) 44 Heather Logan (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 45 Shontell Gauthier (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 46 Erica Allar (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 47 Lindsey Meyers (Sugar CRM) 48 Rae Brownsberger (Webcor Alto Velo) 49 Alison Rosenthal (TIBCO) 50 Melissa Sanborn (Vanderkitten) 51 Alison Starnes (Team Tibco) 52 Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders Cycling Team) 53 Stacy Marple (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 54 Nichole Wangsgard (Colavita Sutter-Home/Cooking Lt) 55 Mara Abbott (Team Columbia Highroad Wm) 56 Kristen Sanders (ValueAct Capitol Cycling Team)