17th Hewlett Packard LaserJet International Women's Challenge - 2.9.1

USA, June 8- 18, 2000

Main Page    Results     Anna Wilson     Karen Kurreck     Kevin Grove

Stage 10 - June 17: Statehouse Criterium, 34.7 mi/55.5 km

Anna Wilson's report

Today we raced a 54 km figure 8 criterium in Boise. Someone calculated that we did a total of 390 corners today. We were super super motivated going into today because we knew that if I could take a lap in the criterium from Diana Ziliute, I would get the leader's jersey in the tour. And the Saturn team is a lot better at criteriums that the Lithuanian team!

The plan was to attack immediately and try to create a breakaway containing me and hopefully either Dede or Clara to help drive it, along with Sarah Ulmer who would help work so that she could pick up the sprint points and solidify her sprint jersey, and Ina Teutenberg who was keen to make life tough for the Lithuanians.

So Ina attacked from the gun and I followed but Diana soon chased us down. Then Ina attacked again and Diana set about chasing her while I got a free ride on her wheel. The field came together again and Ina attacked once more this time with Dede and Sarah Ulmer. It was the perfect move but I could see that Diana was ready to go if I made any moves so I waited just long enough to see Petra Rossner and Susy Pryde, my Saturn team-mates, move in front of Diana in the bunch. Then I jumped across to the break and put my head down and went for it. Diana had to wait for a few more corners to go by before she could get to the front of the bunch and begin chasing. We already had a 70 metre gap when she started the chase and we just went for it. It was the most incredible news when I heard over my radio that we had a 10 second gap, and then a 20 second gap and then 26 seconds and it just kept growing. Julie Young from Autotrader.com was able to make it across by herself and then the break was established. It took us 30 laps but finally we managed to lap the field.

Once back in the field we were still motivated for me to win the stage to collect the 10 second time bonus and make sure I had enough of a buffer going into tomorrow - the final stage of the tour. The whole team did a great job of helping me make it to the front for the final corner and I crossed the line in first place, and in the overall lead of the tour. Unbelievable! Ina was second and Julie Young third.

There is one stage left in the tour - 80 kms with just one hill near the beginning. Hopefully I can manage to stay with Ziliute on that climb and then I should be set to take the overall victory.

Karen Kurreck's report

Today was the downtown Boise Criterium: 8 corners, 45 laps, 35 miles total. This race is always fast and furious and it is the one stage where riders who race in the US have an edge over the European climbers. There have been several occasions where GC has changed on this stage and today was one of them. Since I have been in Europe most of the last 2 years, this was actually my first big crit since I did this race 2 years ago!

This stage was Anna's last chance to try to make time on Diana and right from the gun, a break of 5 riders got away. I think the pack almost caught on after a couple of laps, but the break accelerated away again. I had a really bad starting position and by the time I had worked my way up front, the break was already gone. I actually originally had a great starting position as they called the top riders to the line. Then we had a false start! The gun went off but they didn't pull the line with the flags that they hold in front of us. People were madly trying to scramble under the flags when the officials yelled that we should do a lap and come back and start over. Well, most of the front half of the field did this, but the back half just turned around and camped on the start line and then when we came back around, we were stuck behind them. Anna was in the same boat, but I heard she picked up her bike and somehow shoved her way to the front. Maybe I should have tried the same...

The break was Anna and Dede from Saturn, Ina from Germany, Sarah Ulmer from Elita and Julie Young from Autotrader. Julie sat on the whole time, but the other 4 were highly motivated. Anna and Sarah had GC at stake and Sarah also had the sprint jersey by 1 point over NIcole Freedman, so by her taking points in the break, she pretty much locked up the jerey. Lithuania chased really hard right away, driven by Diana, Vera Hohfeld and Zita Urbonita. Eventually the British came up to help to protect Ceris's 4th place. Longo sat in behind the chase except when there were pack primes and then she took flyers to get them (I think she was the only one sprinting). With 14 laps to go, the break lapped the field! They had good power and I they must have been much smoother in the corners than we were in the pack.

After that, things quieted down a bit. Tracey Gaudry took a flyer but was caught. In the final sprint, most people sort of gave a few inches to the people who had been in the break so they could sprint for the win with somewhat less confusion. Anna took the win and the time bonus that went with it. Ina was 2nd and Julie 3rd. Ziliute took the field sprint for 6th place. I finished 12th.

The time gap for a lap turned out to be 1:48 so Anna moved into the overall lead. Sarah moved into 3rd by 1 sec. over Longo. Tomorrow is the last stage. It is relatively flat except for a relatively steep climb of about 2 miles at mile 20. It is traditionally a field sprint, but this year we have been breaking tradition every day! The course record was broken in today's stage as it has been in several other stages.

Kevin Grove's report

Before commenting on today's stage I would like to give you an update on the Mechanic's Competition. Each year there seems to be a competition for all of the team mechanics and neutral mechanics to determine who is the best among us. The competition is comprised of three wheel changing contests, a written exam and a subjective evaluation. The winner is usually the mechanic who actually has time abandon his bikes and duties as a mechanic to participate in this three day event. I do not know of any team wrench who has participated in any of these events so far. So based on my insights in the peloton I will tell you who is winning from my objective point of view.

Knowing my fellow mechanics I have determined that we are all equal when it comes to the written exam. We are all college graduates, believe it or not, and have put our degrees to use wisely...HAHA. This leaves the wheel changes and the subjective evaluation. All of the Euro mechanics and the wrenches from Team Sports(Saturn and Timex) use diesel to clean their bikes. Which means at the end of the day they all stink!! I don't use diesel so I don't stink. So subjectively I believe I am leading. And finally the wheel changes...to spare retaliation I will keep the team names anonymous. Matt changed a front wheel in an amazing 3 minutes. Ken changed a rear flat in just over 4 minutes. I have not gotten out of the car to change a wheel yet. So because of my superior mechanical abilities I believe I win the award flat out. HAHA.

Now to today's race. Knowing full well that the Saturn team was going from the gun to try and put pressure on Diana Ziliute, our glorious leader, Mike Neel, instituted a game plan to make sure that we had someone represented in the breakaway. The AutoTrader.com ladies positioned themselves in the pack to ensure that we would not miss the boat if someone went up the road. Sure enough as the gun went off, a break formed containing many of the favorites except for Diana, and the chase was on.

This break didn't stick but soon thereafter another dangerous break formed. Dede Demet Barry (Saturn), Anna Wilson (Saturn), Sarah Ulmer (Elita), Ina Yoko-Teutenberg (German National) and Julie Young (AutoTrader.com) soon established a lead of 15 seconds and once again the chase was on. Diana had missed the boat again and was forced to chase. Without much help from her Lithuanian teammates, Diana was left to try and reel in the break by herself.

Smelling blood in the water the two Saturn ladies drove the break as hard as they could and established a lead that would not be overtaken. Once the breakaway was gone the only question remained was whether Anna could lap the field and take over the race lead. With just over 11 laps to go, the break actually did lap the field and Anna was in the lead on the road. With a lap to go Julie was positioned perfectly on Anna's wheel but just couldn't overcome the sprinting prowress of Anna and Ina as she came in a close third giving AutoTrader.com its best result this HP.

Karen and Kevin's reports courtesy of racereport@vcnet.com