Jonathan Chodroff and Carmen Small led the 18th annual John Early Memorial Valley of the Sun Stage Race going into Sunday’s final stage in downtown Phoenix.
The weekend’s racing — a time trial, road race and criterium — kicked off Friday with a 14.2-mile race against the clock in Buckeye, some 50 miles outside Phoenix.
Chodroff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) took the men’s race in 28 minutes and 35 seconds, 49 seconds faster than Luis Amaran Jamis-Sutter Home) and 1:21 up on Andrew Talansky (California Giant-Specialized).
Molly Van Houweling (Metromint Cycling) took top honors in the women’s race, clocking in at 33:09. Small (Colavita-Baci p/b/ Cooking Light) was second at just four seconds back with Catherine Dickson (AllSport GPS) third at 59 seconds.
Saturday’s road race was run on a 16-mile circuit in Casa Grande, with elite men covering 89 miles and women racing 57. Eric Marcotte (Team Pista Palace) won the men’s race in 3:24:15, outkicking Talansky and Amaran. But Chodroff finished ninth in the same time to hold onto the overall lead, 43 seconds ahead of Amaran and 1:10 up on Talansky.
Jane Robertson (Metromint) likewise took a bunch sprint in the women’s race, beating runner-up Nicky Wangsgard (Roosters Endurance p/b/ Edge Composites) and Small. Small moved into the overall lead, two seconds ahead of Van Houweling and 1:02 up on Dickson.
Sunday brings the Landis Cyclery Criterium in downtown Phoenix, run on a flat, figure-eight-shaped 1 mile course. Men race 70 minutes, women 40.
Floyd Landis fans may be interested to learn that their guy was kitted up and racing in Arizona this weekend. He finished 22nd in the time trial, 2:53 behind Chodroff, and 49th in the road race, 11:45 back of Marcotte, leaving him 41st at 15:08 going into the finale.