Hagens Berman | Supermint team upset Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling’s potential to repeat in the general classification Sunday at the Tucson Bicycle Classic.
It came down to time bonuses on the third and final stage – a circuit race – for the Women’s Pro field in which Hagens Berman’s Scotti Lechuga and her teammates made up five seconds with a finish-line time bonus on Visit Dallas’ Anna Sanders, who wore the yellow jersey.
“I was really proud of the team today,” Lechuga said. “The plan that we had going into this race pretty much was exactly what happened to the T.”
Lechuga picked up first place and a 10-second time bonus and Sanders came up empty in sixth place, for which there is no time bonus. Lechuga also won the intermediate sprint, getting a three-second bonus.
Since Sanders was ahead in the GC by five seconds, Lechuga’s win made up the time and put her over the top for the overall win.
“Scotti raced really well today – super smart, everything was very calculated, you know,” Sanders said. “She came flying by on the intermediate sprint and took it, and man, just really had an awesome race and beat us fair and square. My two teammates were incredible all weekend. I have them to thank for all of our success so far, and I’m looking forward to having an incredible season.”
Lechuga said her teammate Ivy Audrain kept the field together for before the intermediate sprint so she could pick up the time bonus and set up Lindsay Bayer for a counter attack afterward to make Visit Dallas chase.
Julie Kuliecza kept the field together for the last few laps, which allowed Lechuga to sit in and have fresh legs for the finish, Lechuga said.
“We are really just trying to be cohesive as a team, and that totally happened today so that was our main objective so when that pays off with a stage win and an overall win, it’s just a little bit sweeter,” Lechuga said.
Cluster of a finish with Pro Men
The final sprint was slightly jumbled as the women overtook the Pro Men’s field, led by nine riders from Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, right at the finish line. The Pro Men’s field still was completing laps.
Kuliecza said the men passed their field about 500 meters before the final turn but then the women began to overtake them as they neared the finish line.
“The best place to go to was to the left,” Kuliecza said. “Scotti went there and everyone else got kind of boxed in.”
Sanders said it was disappointing that the right side, which was where Visit Dallas was setting up for a sprint, was taken up by the men’s field.
“It kind of made things a little bit of a cluster for us,” Sanders said. “I think it was kind of stimulation overload at the end, so even for us to try to set something up, it was almost like having a barricade in the way that we had to maneuver around.”
Nail biter race
Sanders said although she and her team didn’t get the repeat, she was happy her field made for the closest race at TBC.
“There’s no holding back,” Sanders said. “It’s not a cake walk. It wasn’t like anyone was going to go off the front and time trial away. I love to race that way.”
The two teams will go to San Dimas and Redlands next.
Jelly Belly reigns terror on TBC
Jelly Belly, who was sitting at the top six spots of GC after a road race in which they annihilated the Men’s Pro peloton with their team of nine riders, ended up with the top five spots after the circuit race with Australian Lachlan Morton getting first. Hector Rangel, who competed for Mexico in the 2012 Olympics’ road race, pushed Michael Sheehan down in the standings and took over sixth.
Arizonan Clayton Stone (Superissimo) took the stage win.
At the time of posting, full results were not yet available.