Just four miles into the 83-mile men’s road race in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, nearly half the peloton was involved in a massive crash which spread across the width of the road causing officials to pause the race for 20 minutes. The crash influenced Rally Cycling’s race strategy in defense of the North Star Grand Prix yellow jersey — from attacking at the front to allowing other teams to jostle for a breakaway.
Anxious to start racing, many attacks and breakaway attempts were made on the rolling and slightly windy course, but none proved fruitful. Finally, a break involving Julio Padilla (Arapahoe Resources), Morgan Schmitt (Canyon Bicycles – Shimano), Michael Jasinski (Clif Bar), and Cory Lockwood (KHS – Maxxis) made it into the final four circuits.
However, Rally’s Evan Huffman was quick to join the break within the first circuit. With two laps to go, only Huffman and Padilla remained. Padilla attacked on the final uphill stretch to the finish line while Huffman stayed on his wheel. Recovering momentarily, Huffman launched his last sprint to win the stage. His Rally teammate, Brad Huff, won the sprint behind to finish third to Padilla.
Huffman’s teammate, Tom Zirbel stayed in the overall lead, one second ahead of Huff. Gateway Harley-Davidson – Trek’s Bryan Gomez is third, four seconds behind.
Rivera wins shortened women’s race by a whisker
The men’s pileup caused officials to shorten the women’s race by 12 miles. The action started at mile 17, when Ellen Watters (SPBRC) made a brief breakaway gaining a maximum of 10 seconds over a few miles. The peloton soon regrouped and Tibco controlled the pace for race leader, Brianna Walle (Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank).
It wasn’t until the final four circuits that the pace rose considerably with UHC and IS Corp active at the front. With one lap remaining, Lauretta Hanson (Colavita – Bianchi) went to the front to lead-out her teammate, Kimberley Wells, but the young, 71-time national champion Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) powered to victory despite launching an early sprint. Kimberley Wells of Colavita – Bianchi was second, and Rally’s Erica Allar finished third.
Walle keeps her overall lead by just one second to Tibco’s Lauren Stephens. Colavita’s Lauretta Hanson is third, 26 seconds behind on GC.
Racing continues Friday with an evening criterium in Uptown Minneapolis.