Devo Wrap: Women continue flexing their muscles on the road
The women of the USA Cycling National Development Program produced another standout result in France. A rider on the team held the yellow jersey for a portion of the race before a different rider gradually ascended the general classification before finishing second in the final results. Elsewhere in Europe, a group of juniors riders have been dominating a series of kermesses in Belgium.
The Americans put forth a stellar showing at La Route de France, a nine-stage race spanning Aug. 4-12. Riding for her trade team, Evelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon) topped the final general classification while Kristin McGrath (Boise, Idaho/Exergy TWENTY12) placed second overall, just 1:10 behind Stevens.
Janel Holcomb (San Diego, Calif./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Andrea Dvorak (Crozet, Va./Exergy TWENTY12) were the next two American finishers, placing 14th and 16th, respectively. After wearing the yellow jersey through the middle stages of the race, Amanda Miller (Fort Collins, Colo./Team TIBCO-To the Top) finished 24th while Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisc./Exergy TWENTY12) and Jacquelyn Crowell (Maitland, Fla./Exergy TWENTY12) finished 33rd and 36th, respectively.
After hovering toward the top of the general classification, Miller finally donned the leader's yellow jersey after placing fifth in the third stage. Stevens assumed the top spot of the general classification after winning the seventh stage and held it through the final two contests, including winning the 113.9-kilometer ninth stage. Dvorak won the race's penultimate stage, outsprinting Edwige Pitel (FRA) after 115.3 kilometers.
On Sunday, a group of six U23 riders contested the Gran Premio Sportivi di Poggiana-Trofeo Bonin Costruzioni, a one-day race spanning 178 kilometers in Italy.
Despite a large field of 182 riders to start the race, Nathan Brown (Covington, Tenn./Bontrager Livestrong Team) and Nathan Wilson (Elk Grove, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) were among only 41 riders to finish the contest. Brown finished 29th, 2:13 behind the winner Adam Phelan (AUS). Wilson placed 39th in the final results, only 45 seconds behind Brown.
The first four laps, spanning approximately 50 kilometers, were on fairly flat terrain and a group of 30 riders, including Brown and Wilson, broke away. As the breakaway reached the first climb, 18 riders remained in the breakaway and a field group of 30 riders were chasing. In the end, Phelan outsprinted Gianfranco Zilioli (ITA) to win the race.
The other four riders who contested the race for USA Cycling were:
Robert Bush (Louisville, Ky./Chipotle-First Solar Development Team)
Steve Fisher (Bellingham, Wash./Lake Washington Velo-Hagens Berman Cycling)
Evan Huffman (Elk Grove, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized)
Paul Lynch (Colchester, Conn./Team Type 1-Development)
The juniors riders have been staying active riding in kermesses in and around the house in Izegem, Belgium.
Tyler Williams (Shafter, Calif./Team Swift) recorded a pair of podium finishes, placing second in Kooigem and third in Denderwindeke. Williams was just one spot ahead of Justin Oien (Escondido, Calif./Southern California Velo-Monster Media Racing SCVELO) in Izegem as the pair placed fourth and fifth. In a kermesse in Dadizele, Oien finished fourth while Daniel Gay (Temecula, Calif./VRC) placed ninth. In Kortrijk, a pair of juniors riders finished in the top five as Williams and Greg Ratzell (Blandon, Pa./Young Medalists-Team Rothrock) finished first and fourth in addition to Cameron Rex (Shawnee, Kan./Gateway Harley-Davidson) was 10th. Oien also placed fifth in a kermesse in Kruishoutem before coming in second in Lauwe.
In addition to competing in kermesses, they had the opportunity to tour the BMC and Quick Step service courses during their stay as well as check out the Eneco Tour time trial stage, where Taylor Phinney, himself a product of USA Cycling's National Development Program, rode to second place.
Their next and last race during this trip to Europe will be Beveren kermesse and then they will take all the skills learned in Europe and apply them to races in the United States.
Brendan Rhim (Norwich, Vt./Woodstock Bicycle Club-Killington Mountain School) is also racing with this group of juniors.
Evelyn Stevens and Kristin McGrath were the top two riders at the end of La Route de France. (Photo by Jackson Stewart)
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