Windy Snelling Ruled by International Racers
Snelling Road Race
Snelling, California - 25 February 2012
The very windy conditions at the Snelling Road Race made for tricky racing; racers were forced close to the gutter and any attempts at breakaways were held in check. In the race for Women 1/2, the Stevens Bikes p/b Pactimo team set the early pace. The field was well strung out by the second lap with several riders dropping off the back. However, along with the absence of successful attacks, a late neutralization of the race closed up a nervous field. Ruth Winder (Vanderkitten-FOCUS) took a small lead starting the bell lap but said she was eventually caught by the feed zone. "Coming over the last rollers Rhae Shaw (Exergy Twenty 12) attacked and stayed away," continued Winder, "Then Heather Van Sickle (Stevens Bikes p/b Pactimo) lead out the sprint, Flavia Oliviera (Kovarus/Wells Fargo Racing Team) was on Heather's wheel, I was on Flavia's wheel, and I just came around [in the sprint]".
Rhae Shaw made her break stick, earning the Canadian National the win. Winder came in second with Van Sickle taking third place. Oliveira secured fourth while Amber Gaffney (SC VELO/Empower Coaching) took fifth. "I'm pretty happy with the race today," said Shaw, "[It was a] hard and difficult race with the cross winds. We were certainly on the edge of the road [and] in the gutter for the majority of the head wind and cross wind sections. I was really happy to take the win."
The race for Men P/1/2 saw the same conditions and the field also stretched out in the wind. Charles Hutcheson (McGuire Cycling Team) took a stint in the lead during the first lap but it was Team Mike's Bikes putting several different racers up front as the race progressed; by the bell, Eric Riggs (Team Mike's Bikes) led a group of 20 or so racers but the outcome came down to a three-man sprint.
Tyler Brandt (Team Mike's Bikes), Chris Stastny (California Giant/Specialized), and the South African Christiaan Kriek (Simple Green) were the first to round the final corner. In the sprint up the hill, Stastny looked to have a small lead with less than 20m to the finish line. However, Kriek pipped both Stastny and Brandt for the win. Stastny dropped to second place with Brandt in third. Early leader Charles Hutcheson (McGuire Cycling Team) came home in fourth as fifth place went to Joel Robertson (Webcor/Alto Velo).
"The race kind of stuck together for the first three laps," said Kriek, "Then on the second to last lap there was a group of about ten riders coming off the [finish] line. From there we just kept the gap and I was able to take the win in the end in the sprint."
[caption id="attachment_400" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="John Piasta (Team Mike's Bikes) takes a turn in the lead"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_401" align="aligncenter" width="1024" caption="Charles Hutcheson (McGuire Cycling Team) has an early stint in the lead"][/caption]
Full race results for Snelling are posted at USA Cycling.