Merco Classic Cycling Stage Race – Bevin and Armstrong Overall Winners
Topsport Cycling's Merco Credit Union Cycling Classic presented by Mercy Medical Center
The Pro teams put on excellent and exciting racing over the four-day Merco Cycling Classic. Simple Green, Optum, Team Exergy, and Cal Giant were in the hunt for the Men Pro 1-2 but it as BISSELL Pro Cycling that set the standard. For the Women Pro 1-2-3, Optum, Exergy Twenty 12, Specialized-lululemon, and Now and Novartis were all in the mix, particularly for the attack-laden McDonald's Downtown Grand Prix.
For the Masters, Christopher Phipps (IronDataThirstyBearCycling.com) won the overall General Classification by a single second, out of more than 848 minutes, over Chris Lyman (Team Specialized Racing Masters). Diego Garavito (Team Clover) finished in third place just 5 seconds off the winner.
For the Men Pro 1-2, Patrick Bevin (BISSELL Pro Cycling) won the MID Road Race and McDonald's Downtown Grand Prix; both races came down to field sprints as BISSELL trains led the way late in each race. Evan Huffman (California Giant/Specialized) put in the fastest time trial, 12 seconds the better, and wore the yellow jersey before Bevin's return to the top after the Grand Prix. On the final day's Hilltop Ranch Road Race, NorCal had more to celebrate as Logan Loader (Team Exergy) raised his arms in victory 10m from the finish line, after another field sprint. Bevin took the overall GC to Loader's second place. Tom Zirbel (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) was further 9 seconds adrift in third overall.
The Women Pro-1-2-3 started with the time trial and an outstanding result from Kristin Armstrong Savola (Exergy Twenty12); Armstrong Savola set a time that would have earned her the twentieth spot amongst the Pro 1-2 Men. The Women attacked lap-after-lap at the McDonald's Downtown Grand Prix but this race came down to a field sprint. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Specialized-lululemon) beat out Joelle Numainville (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) by a bike's length. Both riders finished one-two again for the Hilltop Ranch Road Race, another sprint finish. Armstrong won the overall Omnium General Classification with the same points total, but one win to her credit, as Numainville. Overall third place went to Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).