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USPRO Criterium Championship - 1.3/NE
Chicago, USA, August 17, 2003
USCF Elite Women National Criterium Championship
Mayolo-Pic the victor in Diet Rite vs Saturn duel
By Trudy van Der Straaten
Defending her title, Diet Rite's Tina Mayolo-Pic charged to the finish line ahead of Saturn sprinter Laura van Gilder in the final stretch of the 31 lap USCF Women's Elite National Criterium Championship at Downer's Grove this Sunday. The final decision was ultimately decided by bunch sprint with Nicole Freedman (Team Basis) taking third place.
This is the first time the defending champ has come back with a consecutive victory in this race. Mayolo-Pic also won the $500 prize for "Half race winner" - the woman leading the race at the end of lap 20 going into lap 19.
Both the Saturn and Diet Rite teams were determined to clinch this title, and their rivalry shaped the race. A break by Charm Breon (Diet Rite) two-thirds in was the closest thing to a successful attack all race, but Breon was joined by Sarah Uhl (Saturn) after a few laps away on her own, and eventually the pair was pulled back by the field, setting things up for a bunch sprint.
In the meantime the race was livened up by numerous small primes, with Mayolo-Pic, Magen Long (OBRA), Lenora Felker and Dotsie Cowden (T-Mobile) among the money-earners. Mayolo-Pic didn't have an easy time of the $500 half-race prime, with her team assisting a full-tilt chase of Nicole Brandt ((Minute Maid/Dasani/La Grange) who tried to escape at the beginning of the middle lap. But the mighty Diet Rite train pulled Mayolo-Pic into position and the squad's eating-out money for the evening was secure.
Diet Rite's original plan was simple. "At first we'd try to get a break going. It really didn't matter who got away," said Mayolo-Pic. The second half saw Charm Breon's escape and capture, and with that strategy crumbling it was time for Plan B. With three laps to go Saturn and Diet Rite were duking it out for dominance and Nicole Freedman (Team Basis), always a danger woman in a sprint was also making her way to the front.
The Saturn vs Diet Rite showdown continued right to the line, with Breon prominent protecting Mayolo-Pic and ensuring that when the final mass dash to the line played out, Mayolo-Pic was in just the right position to edge out Saturn's Laura van Gilder for the win.
Mayolo-Pic said afterwards that she had been nervous about defending her title. "I was really nervous; there's something about defending. You think about it: 'I wonder if anyone's repeated .. what are the chances I'll pull this off?'"
Once the race was underway, Diet Rite had a plan. "Well at first we'd try to get a break going," said Mayolo-Pic. "It really didn't matter who got away and then it just turned out it didn't seem anything was going to stick. It seemed like if a break goes its not how hard the break goes, it's if the pack will let it go, if the pack will split up, and I thought for a while they might let Charm [Breon] go."
With her team-mate taking the win, Breon was not disappointed about her unsuccessful breakaway attempt, "We needed to get out there and make our presence known," she told Cyclingnews. "We had a jersey to defend. Today it was 'defend it or die', basically. And that's what we did - we all went out and made our presence known in a really definite way and it paid off."
Second-placed Laura Van Gilder made all the right moves, supported by her very strong team, but it didn't quite come together in the end for the Saturn sprinter. "We were looking to race pretty aggressively and take our opportunity whether it be in the break of in the field sprint," said van Gilder.
"I felt really confident," she said. "My teammates were working to protect me throughout. Unfortunately when it comes down to the final lap you have to be first or second through the corners. It wasn't quite fast enough, strung out, so it kind of swarmed a bit and a gap [was] created [in the second to last corner]. Nothing major, but I had to accelerate to catch back up to Tina and then came the last corner. I wasn't able to get around her before the final corner. I hoped I could overtake her in the whole sprint which was pretty short. But I've been on the podium at least five years, even before it was the National Championship so I feel like I know how to ride the race and I know how to win it. Today it just didn't play into my hands. I'm disappointed but…"
Images by Mark Zalewski/showchoir.net
Images by Bill Parsons/North Chattanooga Cycle Club
1 Tina Mayolo-Pic (Diet Rite) 2 Laura Van Gilder (Saturn) 3 Nicole Freedman (Basis) 4 Lynn Gaggioli (Velo Bella) 5 Sarah Uhl (Saturn) 6 Laura Downey (Minute Maid/Dasani/La Grange) 7 Magen Long (OBRU) 8 Sherri Stedje 9 Dotsie Cowden (T-Mobile) 10 Shontelle Gauthier 11 Shannon Hutchison 12 Candice Blickem 13 Christina Underwood 14 Kim Cunningham 15 Elizabeth Begosh 16 Emily Gleckner 17 Lara Kroepsoh 18 Kori Kelly 19 Sarah Tillotson 20 Cheryl Roth 21 Shawn Heidgen 22 Sheba Farrin 23 Jennifer Eyerman 24 Mindy Ziffren-Hall 25 Nicole Novembre 26 Charm Breon 27 Stacey Peters 28 Suzanne Sonye 29 Carla Koehler 30 Nicole Brandt 31 Lenora Felker 32 Shani Bloch 33 Jennifer Green 34 Leigh Valletti 35 Cat Malone 36 Tracy Sproule 37 Trish Bell 38 Crystal Yap 39 Rook Campbell 40 Rachel Couch 41 Ann Marie Miller 42 Elizabeth Morse 43 April Henderson Anderson 44 Kimberly Bruckner 45 Jessica Phillips 46 Kate Sherwin 47 Laura Summers 48 Katie Weber 49 Brenna Wolford 50 Rebecca Loney 51 Christine White 52 Deborah Durand 53 Josephine Babin 54 Tina Skelley-Kunstbeck 55 Rebecca McClintock 56 Kristy Scheffenacker 57 Carla Hukee 58 Brooke O'Connor 59 Sarah Hammer 60 Megan Elliot Mid Race Sprint winner 1 Tina Mayolo-Pic