UnitedHeathcare’s Coryn Rivera showed the pro women’s field a clean pair of heels today at the North Star Grand Prix in Cannon Falls. The 71-time national champion won by more a bike length ahead of Kimberly Wells (Colavita-Bianchi) and Erica Allar (Rally Cycling) after 71 miles of racing through Eastern Minnesota farmland.
Samantha Schneider (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI) and Joelle Numainville (North Memorial Health Care) rounded out the top five.
Before racing got underway, a major crash in the men’s field caused long delays for the women, which caused officials to shorten Stage 3 by 12 miles. When racing resumed, the action started at mile 17 when Ellen Watters (SPBRC) attempted to break free of the peloton. Watters gained a maximum of 10 seconds over a few miles, however no one seemed keen on bridging up to the solo rider who eventually went back to the pack. However her efforts weren’t all for naught – Watters was awarded the Surly Most Aggressive jersey at the end of the stage.
From then on, the field was content to ride together. Team Tibco controlled the pace for the race leader, Brianna Walle and no rider was willing to take their chances off the front for the rest of the stage.
On the way toward Cannon Falls, Erica Allar picked up enough points (10) to put her in the Sport Beans Queen of the Hills jersey and Sophie MacKay (Supermint-Hagens Berman) followed suit in the K’ul Chocolate sprint competition.
When the field reached the four final circuits around Cannon Falls, the pace rose considerably. UHC and IS Corp were active at the front until 2 laps to go, when Tibco swarmed the blue train and took over proceedings. With just one lap remaining, best young rider leader Lauretta Hanson (Colavita/Bianchi) went to the front to lead out her teammate, Wells, but it was the young speedster from Southern California who powered to a win despite starting her sprint relatively early.
In the overall competition, Walle remains in yellow heading into stage 4.
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