Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage 5: Menomonie Road Race

24 Jun

Finally, an early stage!  Start time was 1:30pm.  Again, there was a chance of rain.  When we got to Menomonie it was relatively sunny and warm. 

The Course: Today we raced in Wisconsin.  It was in a very rolling and beautiful area.  It was a long race – 130km (81miles).  There were a few short and steep climbs that sapped the legs.

The Race: Game plan: get the yellow jersey (still).  Breaks went off early on, but nothing stuck.  Finally, a break went up the road that put some time into the peloton.  In it was teammate Ally Stacher.  Most of the teams were represented, so no one really wanted to chase.  However, the virtual leader on the road was a Colavita rider, meaning PB & Co. had to chase the break down if they wanted to keep the jersey.  The girls on PB & Co. did an awesome job rotating at the front.  A couple times, Kristin McGrath tried bridging to the break.  I made sure to follow her every time, as she was sitting high on G.C.  The break kept a good gap on the peloton, despite the work being done from PB & Co.  On one of the steep, longer climbs, Amber attacked.  She was able to get a gap and eventually made contact with the break.  This put even more pressure on PB & Co and Kristin Armstrong (yellow jersey).  Evie and I sat at the back of the PB & Co. train, watching riders like hawks.  At the end of the race, we did four finishing circuits.  There were several turns in the circuit, along with an uphill drag near the finish.  The break had close to 30 seconds on the field when we entered the circuit.  PB & Co. were down to just 3 riders.  They all gave it their best, but the break was really motivated to stick.  Eventually, Kristin Armstrong went to the front and drilled it for a lap.  I had a front flat going past the finish line with 2 laps to go.  After a very fast wheel change, I chased back to the peloton and made contact shortly after.  The break kept putting time into the field.  With one lap to go, we were pretty sure it would stick.  Both Evie and I were ready to counter if it did get caught.  However, Amber rode herself into the yellow jersey and finished 2nd on the stage.  Ally did an amazing job in the break and worked hard for Amber.  She moved up into 6th place on G.C. after her 5th place finish from the break, which ended up putting 1min 13seconds on the field.  It was such an awesome race for us.  All the hard work we had done in previous stages (attacking, etc.) paid off today.  One more day of racing left, only this time it was defending the yellow jersey!

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One Response to “Nature Valley Grand Prix Stage 5: Menomonie Road Race”

  1. Marc Walter June 24, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    Thanks for the recap. Sounded like a lot of excitement.
    Marc

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