Fortunately the heavens didn’t open up as Team Canada’s Allison Beveridge took home the Sprinter’s Jersey on this historic women’s stage race. With everything on the line, the Canadian National Team along with Optum’s Canucks and Jackson proved to be among the toughest challengers for the podium.
The Queen of the Mountain first climb saw Canadians Kirsti Lay and Beveridge working together attacking. But the victor in the end was American Katharine Hall (UHC) at 3:10:49. Alena Amialiusik (Velocio-SRAM) from Bulgaria, was two seconds behind just beating Lauren Komanski (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air who settled for third on podium.
In an epic day of Pro women’s cycling a field of 82 strong saw 14 teams representing 15 nations on the start line. The Amgen Tour of California, which is a decade old this year, continues to grow and celebrated by hosting four days of Pro women’s races including an ITT (to be staged with the pro men later in the week at Big Bear). Averaging over 37.5-km an hour, the Pro women showcased abundant talent and tifosi enthusiasm under threatening skies in South Lake Tahoe.
Today’s competition also showcased how strong the pro Canadian women are on the road as they controlled much of the race rivaling their American counterparts in strategy and depth as three women placed in the top ten.
It was largely about the Canadians for much of the race as national team and Optum riders fought for honors on the climbs with Lay leading the peloton over the first climb at Emerald Bay (at 25km) followed by Lex Albrecht (Optum) third and Karol-Ann Canuel (Velocio-SRAM) in 7th gaining the last bonus points. Sarah Storey (Gbr) Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours who was second broke away on her own but was joined by Beveridge as the two built up a lead of 1:25 by the halfway point.
The following climb at Spooner Lake (95.2km) saw Storey first with Beveridge 2nd. Albrecht was right behind in third with Lay just behind her as the two breakaways were then caught. On the final climb (at 119.5km) to the finish Jackson came roaring back and was in good position among the top seven finalists taking 6th in the final brutal ascent before kicking toward the finish line.
In the overall Queen of the Mountain classification Lay came back vying against Sarah Storey for the top spot to finish 2nd on the day, while Albrecht and Beveridge were 4th and 6th, respectively. Beveridge, only 21, whose efforts put her into the Sprinter’s jersey admitted, “It was a really hard to day despite getting lucky on the weather since I was expecting rain or snow, but that’s what makes it exciting. When asked about defending her Sprinter’s jersey tomorrow on a very different course, she grinned, “Well, we didn’t expect this, but we will try.”
The team’s efforts were commendable considering that they just off the plane two days ago from Belgium following races at San Dimas and Redlands, California. With no time to preview or ride the course beforehand, Team Canada stuck to their plan of attacks and controlling the talented field. They were a major force in pushing the race around the perimeter of the highest alpine lake in the USA on the border of California and Nevada.
Beveridge also talked about the, “…momentum of this race as a gateway to building women’s cycling as well as to extending this race to more stages.”
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Canadian women also flexed their muscles with Kirchmann and Albrecht pushing the pace. In fact, the announcer predicted Albrecht as the victor in a sprint finish, but the last three km were explosive. With the field in shards, the Candians gave it their all, but Albrecht “exploded” on the final descent as three Canucks landed in the top 10.
Jackson, at 14 seconds behind the winner, was also heavily in the mix at the finish with her TWENTY16 teammate Komanski taking a podium in third and Jackson 6th for the best-placed Canuck today. “I was working to put Lauren Kominski on the podium today and I felt really good out there, but the last climb was a reality check,” commented Jackson.
Saturday’s 79.5km Stage 2 sees tough ascents looping around the ski resorts with promise of time gaps and climbs that will surely pop some legs.
Stage 1 Jerseys
Amgen Race Leader Jersey: Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team
Visit California Sprint Jersey: Allison Beveridge (CAN) Team Canada
Lexus Queen of the Mountain Jersey: Sarah Storey (Gbr) Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International
SRAM Best Young Rider Jersey: Hannah Barnes (Gbr) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
1. Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team 3:10:49
2. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Velocio-SRAM 0:02
3. Lauren Komanski (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air
4. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM 0:04
5. Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Ale Cipollini 0:11
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air 0:14
7. Andrea Dvorak (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air
8. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:18
9. Lauren Stephens (USA) TIBCO 0:22
10. Lex Albrecht (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:27
17. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Velocio-SRAM 0:46
21. Kirsti Lay (Can) Team Canada 0:56
28. Annie Ewart (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 1:12
32. Christina Smith (Can)
39. Denise Ramsden (Can) Team Canada 1:22
47. Laura Brown (Can) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team 1:41
54. Rhae-christie Shaw (Can) BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental 2:00
56. Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Can) Team Canada 2:08
60. Stephanie Roorda (Can) Team Canada 2:36
61. Allison Beveridge (Can) Team Canada
65. Shoshauna Routley (Can) BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental 2:39
69. Annie Foreman-Mackay (Can) Team Canada 12:55
1. Allison Beveridge (Can) Team Canada 5 pts
2. Sarah Storey (Gbr) Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours 3
3. Alexis Ryan (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team 1
1. Sarah Storey (Gbr) Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours 19 pts
2. Kirsti Lay (Can) Team Canada 16
3. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Velocio-SRAM 14
4. Lex Albrecht (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 14
5. Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Women’s Team 10
6. Allison Beveridge (Can) Team Canada 9
7. Malgorzata Jasinska (Ita) Ale Cipollini 8
8. Lauren Komanski (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air 7
9. Allie Dragoo (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air 7
10. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM 6
11. Elena Berlato (Ita) Ale Cipollini 6
12. Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Ale Cipollini 5
13. Alison Jackson (Can) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air 4
14. Andrea Dvorak (USA) Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air 2
15. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Velocio-SRAM 2