Orange & Black Take Stage Win, 2nd Overall in Vermont

Denise Ramsden raced to 2nd overall this past weekend at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont after battling over four stages and 140 miles with teammates Amber Pierce and Courteney Lowe. Ramsden lapped the field in stage 4’s criterium to win the stage, while Amber Pierce showed promise in her ongoing recovery from an early-season knee injury by taking home the sprinter’s jersey. All together the trio brought home an impressive haul with 6 top-ten finishes, a stage win, three podiums, the sprinters classification, and 2nd overall for Ramsden.

Amber Pierce shares her thoughts about the weekend of racing on the Eastern Seaboard:

“While our teammates race in France and prepare for the world championships in Spain later this month, the three (stateside) Optum Musketeers – Courteney Lowe, Denise Ramsden and I – used teamwork to gather some good results at the Green Mountain Stage Race.

Despite some mechanical difficulties in the opening time trial, we came back strong with a 2nd place in stage two’s criterium where Denise and Courteney helped me go for the sprint jersey and led me out for the finish. Former Optum rider Lex Albrecht (TWENTY16 Pro Cycling) pipped me at the finish, which tied us for sprinter’s jersey points.

In stage 3 we faced a 65 mile ride that started at Sugarbush Ski Resort in Fayston and finished with a tough climb in Hancock. Our goals were to win the intermediate sprint points to take the green jersey, and then launch Denise on the final climb with the best shot at gaining time and GC placings. Courteney bridged a dangerous move leading into the intermediate sprint, setting me up with a perfect leadout from which I took full points and moved into the green jersey. From there, Courteney and I were fully committed to helping Denise, who said her best shot would be to make Lex tired before the final climb. We went on the attack and gave it our best shot, but Lex was in excellent form. Denise climbed into 2nd place on GC behind Lex, with a solid advantage over 3rd.

The final stage was a criterium, and we decided Denise and Courteney would go on the offensive to scoop up sprint points and protect the green jersey. Denise attacked first and got away with one other woman, and the two of them lapped the field. I swept up the remaining sprint points on the intermediate bonuses (they went 4 deep) to solidify our hold on the green jersey. Denise won the race solo, and I won the field sprint for 3rd. Courteney was unfortunately caught up in a crash, but thankfully walked away without any serious injuries. It was a very productive week, and I am feeling stronger on the bike every day, thanks to my teammates!”

– Amber

Amber Pierce steps up to the podium for the second time in as many races to take home the race’s green sprinters jersey. A solid performance and comeback after an early season knee injury kept her sidelined for the majority of the 2014 season.

Amber Pierce steps up to the podium for the second time in as many races to take home the race’s green sprinters jersey. A solid performance and comeback after an early season knee injury kept her sidelined for the majority of the 2014 season.

When one finishes a tough four day stage race by lapping the field in the final criterium a special honorary prize is definitely in order. Nicely done Denise!

When one finishes a tough four day stage race by lapping the field in the final criterium a special honorary prize is definitely in order. Nicely done Denise!

Courteney Lowe and Amber Pierce take a much deserved ice-cream break after completing an impressive four days of racing at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont.

Courteney Lowe and Amber Pierce take a much deserved ice-cream break after completing an impressive four days of racing at the Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont.

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