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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

USPRO Criterium Championship - 1.3/NE

Chicago, USA, August 17, 2003

Main page    Results    Photography

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.

Vox pop

Comments from riders who didn't make it all the way to the finish...

  • "Fast paced, lot of bunching through the corners. "
  • "Slamming on the brakes through the corners ('specially the last two) … you could smell the rubber burning. And then jumping out of every single corner. "
  • "Relentless."
  • "When you wanted to move up everyone else was speeding up too .. it was difficult to move up from the back but if you didn't you would get done in the corners."
  • "The corners just picked off the weaker riders."
  • "Because there are so many smallish primes nobody wants to risk anything … "
  • "Diet Rite is so tight so strong, they will - like - die for each other!"
  • "Fairly aggressive race, for me it was a matter of the humidity."
  • "Need to maintain your position all the time because people were braking through the corners all the time."

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