By Bryan Jew, VeloNews Senior Writer
With the cancellation of the women’s race at next week’s BMC Software Tour of Houston, the San Rafael Women’s Criterium in San Rafael, California, became the final event for the women in the BMC Software Grand Prix, and Saturn’s Ina Teutenberg put on a show that was worthy of a series finale. The German lapped the field twice en route to winning both the race and the overall series title on Saturday in the city in Marin County, across the bay from San Francisco.
Teutenberg was part of a 10-rider break that was initiated early in the race by Gatorade-Olbas’s Dede Demet-Barry. Also included in the break were Kori Kelly (Procter & Gamble), Laura Van Gilder (VeriZon), Pam Schuster (AutoTrader.com), Melissa Holt (Rona), Jenny Eyerman (Jane Cosmetics), Julie Young (AutoTrader.com), Clara Hughes (Saturn) and Stacey Peters (800.com).
Teutenberg, however, wasn’t happy with the rhythm of the break, and took things into her own hands on the fast, 0.9-mile circuit with an uphill on the short side between turns 1 and 2, and a downhill heading into the final corner. “That break really didn’t work 100 percent together, and didn’t gain too much time,” said the German. “That’s why I decided to go.”
Within a few laps, the Saturn rider caught and went through the main field, out of which came AutoTrader’s Tina Mayolo, sitting on Teutenberg, but already a lap down.
At that point, with Demet-Barry, Van Gilder and Schuster in a chase group of three, followed by the remnants of the break behind, the race began to take on the look of a confused points race on the track. While Demet-Barry, Van Gilder and Schuster would slowly catch the tail end of the peloton, Teutenberg and Mayolo were already gaining ground on Hughes, Kelly, Holt, Eyerman and Young. When everything finally came together, the race looked like this: Teutenberg, two laps up; the other nine breakaways and Mayolo, all one lap down on Teutenberg; and the rest of the field, two laps down.
In the end, Kelly won the field sprint ahead of Van Gilder, to take second place, while Teutenberg celebrated with her teammates at the back of the pack after an effort that impressed even the most experienced observers.
“She’s amazing,” said Hughes, who has raced her bike sparingly while aiming for the Winter Olympics in speedskating. “Unbelievable.”
While Teutenberg celebrated on Saturday, a number of teams were upset with the cancellation of the final round in Houston, announced on Wednesday. The race organizers cited a lack of turnout as a primary reason, with only 23 women pre-registering for the event.
1. Ina Teutenberg, Saturn; 2. Kori Kelly, Procter & Gamble; 3. Laura Van Gilder, VeriZon; 4. Pam Schuster, AutoTrader.com; 5. Clara Hughes, Saturn; 6. Dede Demet Barry, Gatorade-Olbas; 7. Jenny Eyerman, Jane Cosmetics; 8. Tina Mayolo, AutoTrader.com; 9. Julie Young, AutoTrader.com; 10. Melissa Holt, Rona.