Alison Tetrick employed savvy late-race tactics to capture a solo victory in the third and final stage of the BeNe Ladies Tour, a 115 km circuit race in Zelzate, Belgium. After a well-timed attack, Tetrick held a gap to the finish line, crossing just 12 seconds ahead of the charging peloton.
The team was solid in all phases of the BeNe tour, the first race of their month-long summer Euro campaign. Leah Kirchmann finished on the podium in the stage 2A time trial after finishing 7th in stage one, and the team stayed poised in the hunt for time bonuses and breakaway opportunities during two days of road racing. Tetrick and 2014 BeNe champion Brianna Walle finished fourth and fifth on general classification, :47 and :53 behind overall winner Jolien d’Hoore (Wiggle Honda). Kirchmann did not start the final stage due to a crash near the end of stage 2B. She sustained no serious injuries, and now focuses on recovering for Sunday’s La Course be Le Tour de France.
See a photo gallery of the race by Bart Hazen.
“Today was all about weighing the team’s strengths and options and racing accordingly,” said Tetrick. ”I had complete faith in the team and our race plan. When I was off the front alone, I knew any one of my teammates could have been in my position, and I knew I needed to keep riding hard to keep the pressure on the field. At one point, one of the race motorcycles came up to me to tell me how hard the team was working and how well they were controlling the race. Knowing they believed in me helped me dump every last ounce of energy into my effort.”
The third course of the BeNe tour, skirting the border of Belgium and Netherlands, covered classic terrain – cobblestones, crosswinds, and everything else that comes with the Flanders region’s unique brand of racing.
“The racing in Belgium is much different than what we see in North America,” said Tetrick. “What it lacks in elevation gain, it makes up for in chaos – cobbles, wind, huge fields, and tiny roads. I think this style of racing suits our team because everyone is so strong, and the harder the racing, the better we seem to finish. We proved that again today.”
Tetrick launched with 36 km to go, snaking her way to the front of the peloton after a lull in the pace. With 15 km remaining and her teammates controlling from the main field, her gap hovered at one minute. After she showed no signs of slowing, the rest of the teams organized a chase to close the gap, and close it they did – with 5 km to go, it was 20 seconds. With 1 km to go, it was ten. The recent Northern California state time trial champion drained every bit of energy to hold off the peloton, crossing the line alone for her second UCI victory of the year.
“It was very close. We weren’t sure she would win until they announced it on the radio,” said Performance Director Patrick McCarty. “She used a combination of smart racing and metered efforts to hold a very tight gap to the line. It was textbook bike racing.”
McCarty was happy with the team’s performance at BeNe, and saw it as an important sign of progress with three world-class races in La Course, Sparkassen Giro, and Route de France, on the horizon.
“I think everyone is a little more relaxed after adjusting to the racing abroad after a bit of system shock at the Women’s Tour of Britain,” said McCarty. “They are more comfortable with the tough competition and conditions and are starting to ride to their full potential. It will be an exciting month.”
Glaesser, Team Canada Speed to Gold on Pan-Am Track
Jasmin Glaesser continued to build on her contributions to Canada’s world-class track racing program at the Pan Am Games, helping her team to the gold medal in women’s team pursuit at Milton, Ontario’s Cisco Pan Am Velodrome. Glaesser and her teammates Laura Brown of Beveridge, Vancouver and Kirsti Lay of Medicine Hat, Alberta finished the race in a Pan Am record time of 4:19.664, edging out the U.S. for gold by less than seven seconds. Glaesser adds Pan Am gold to her impressive list of track palmares, which includes a bronze medal in team pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics. Look for Glaesser and Team Canada to make waves on the track at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Photos © Bart Hazen