By Lisa Downey
Chocolate milk and blue skies kicked off stage one of the Tour of America’s Dairyland presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board on Thursday during the Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic presented by Tim Hart DDS, Jesse Smith DDS, and Jerry Pearce, Rainbow Jersey Bicycles. Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) and Ryan Freund (Verizon U-25-ABD) took out the opener and earned the first Holstein-patterned leader’s jerseys of the 10-day omnium.
Carrie Cash (Team Vera Bradley) was the most aggressive rider during most of the women’s race, which featured tremendous action on the front all day. The field sprinted every prime and chased down every sprint with few significant breakaways. In the end, it came down to an exciting field sprint with Higgins of Boulder, Colo. the first to cross the line, after her recent victory at the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic. Taking the second step atop the podium, as her follow-up to an impressive showing at the Air Force Cycling Classic, was Sarah Caravella (BMW-Bianchi). In third was Kacey Manderfield (Cycle Loft).
With a men’s field of 133 riders, from the gun it was a thrilling race marked by speeds topping 30 mph and massive primes. Kenda-GEARGRINDER was all over the front and animating the race all day. By lap five, there was a four-man break, which dropped to three men and a 15-second gap with three laps to go. By the final lap, the field was grupo compacto and headed for a bunch sprint.
On the final lap, it came down to Chad Hartley (Kenda) and Freund. Once Hartley took a look back at the 50-meter mark, Freund, who just started racing in 2008 and almost missed today’s race because of his day job as a civil engineer, launched an attack for the win.
Freund took the top spot, followed by 2009 Tour of America’s Dairyland overall champ Hartley and 2008 U.S. pro criterium champion Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati Foundation), who finished third after sneaking out of the field and heading to the line.
The Tour of America’s Dairyland resumes on Friday at the Thiensville Fiddleheads Coffee Criterium before heading to Grafton on Saturday for the Giro d’ Grafton, part of the USA CRITS series.
- 1. Ryan Freund, Verizon U-25-ABD
- 2. Chad Hartley, Kenda-GEARGRINDER
- 3. Rahsaan Bahati, Bahati Foundation
- 1. Cari Higgins, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12
- 2. Sarah Caravella, BMW-Bianchi
- 3. Kacey Manderfield, Cycle Loft