Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) won the Amgen Tour of California’s women’s time trial in San Jose on Friday. Stevens, the former U.S. national champion, finished the 31-kilometer test in 55:49.
Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS) was second, at 56 seconds unofficially. Kristin McGrath (Exergy Twenty16) was third, at 1:24.
“It was really flipping hard,” said Stevens. “It was uphill, it was downhill, it was flat. And then you have that climb.”
Former world champion Amber Neben (Pasta Zara) crashed hard 15km into the race after overcooking a tight, right-hand corner on the course’s technical descent. Neben impacted the road-cut wall with her left side and crash onto her right hip. She sat on the road at the inside of the next corner, with SRAM neutral service staff attending to her, as Stevens, Powers, and Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) blazed past.
Race staff confirmed on Friday night that Neben was in an area hospital for observation, but did not expand on the nature of her injuries.
Powers and Stevens went back and forth over the course’s flat lead-in to the Metcalf Road climb. A number of times, Stevens passed Powers and other riders closely, but officials did not penalize her. Stevens would lead for a kilometer. Powers would draw even and lead for nearly the same distance. The race was on for the win; if Powers could stay with Stevens, her 30-second woman, on the flats, she would have a 30-second buffer on the climb.
The National Racing Calendar leader did so, but it wasn’t enough. Stevens stomped her way up the climb, distancing Powers and riding into the race win.
“I knew that I could win it. You have to be in the race,” said Stevens. “And Powers passed me. She passed me, so we stayed within contention. So once I got to the climb, I was like, ‘Oh man. I’ve got to open a can of whoop-ass.’”