Trixi Worrack (Velocio-SRAM) grabbed all three time-bonus sprints on offer in the final stage to win the women’s Amgen Tour of California.
Leah Kirchmann (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) sprinted to victory in Sunday’s closer, a 54.7km criterium on a Sacramento circuit that has been used as a finishing circuit for previous editions of the men’s race.
But Worrack had been doing her work earlier, chasing those crucial bonus seconds.
“We were three seconds back, we needed to do something, it was not enough to just try to win the stage,” she said.
Worrack shot ahead to take the first time-bonus sprint of the day, which tied her on GC with race leader Lauren Komanski (Twenty 16-Sho-Air). Then she took the next, which made her the overall leader on the road.
Komanski’s team came forward then, with one more intermediate sprint remaining. But Worrack grabbed that one, too, giving her a six-second cushion over Komanski.
With three laps remaining Optum was on the front. Then BMW came forward, and finally Velocio took over for its nascent race leader, and in the end it was Kirchmann winning the final stage over Hannah Barnes (UnitedHealthcare) in front of the California State Capitol building.
“I surprised myself with that sprint,” Kirchmann told announcer Dave Towle. “I’m so excited.”
On the overall, Worrack clinched the title by five seconds over Kirchmann with Komanski third at six seconds.
“It was a hard race, and we knew we had to make up some seconds in time bonus. It was a lot of work to keep the bunch together to be able to sprint for the intermediate time bonuses,” Worrack said.
“There were a lot of attacks, they wanted to take away the bonus seconds, so we had to close down everything.
“For the end we didn’t care about the stage win, but we needed the three intermediate sprints. I won all three, and that was the major goal.
“We came here to have a good race, and it’s even better to come away with the win.”