Amber Pierce continued to build form off of her mid-season injury, battling with the talented Laura Van Guilder to land on the podium at the Hartford Criterium. Amber reports on the action from Conneticut.
“On Sunday, I woke to the news that my Optum teammates had just placed 4th (only 6 seconds off the podium!) in the World Championships Team Time Trial. What an incredible accomplishment! I know how hard the whole team – riders AND staff – had worked toward that goal all season long, and could not have been prouder of all of them. I give my all to every race, but I have to admit, their success gave me a bit of added motivation for the Hartford Criterium at the CT Cycling Festival.
The CT Cycling Festival is an event hosted by the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP), which works to create cycling programs for middle- and high-school students throughout the state of Connecticut. Their development programs have launched successful pro careers and have enabled countless young athletes to get into the sport of cycling, so it was an honor to support their race.
Additionally, the CCAP offered equal podium prize money for the men’s and women’s fields! Their commitment to parity drew a strong field with top sprinters like Laura Van Guilder (Mellow Mushroom), Amy Cutler (FCS | Zngine), and Sam and Skylar Schneider (Team TIBCO). The technical 8-corner course saw an aggressive start, with attacks coming from every team represented. A small cloudburst mid-race resulted in two crashes through slick corners, but all involved got up and got back in race with no major injuries.
Despite several attempts to break away in the final half of the race, the field remained together coming into the final lap. With top sprint talent in the field, I knew I would need to get a jump on the pure sprinters. I took my shot and with just a few meters to the line, saw Laura Van Guilder’s wheel coming by me at top speed. She had pipped me at the line for the win. I wanted that win and gave everything for it, but sharing the podium with a legend like Laura is always an honor.
Despite the setback of injury earlier this year, it’s great to end my season on a high note. Even better was seeing my teammates hit an even higher note at the Worlds TTT, and now we can look forward to seeing our teammates in Orange and Black represent the colors of their countries at the World Championships this week. Go Optum!”