By Dave Iltis
For the first time since 2005, the Tour of Utah included a women’s race. This year’s Tour of Utah Women’s edition had a star filled field featuring Alison Powers (winner of the Cedar City Gran Prix), Coryn Rivera, Tina Pic, Amber Neben, Meredith Miller and all of Utah’s top riders: Breanne Nalder, Anne Perry, Mindy McCutcheon, Kaytie Scott, Tiffany Pezzulo and more.
UnitedHealthCare, Guru Cycles, Vanderkitten, Team Tibco, Cloud Racing, SKINourishment, Colavita, Jet Cycling, and Pepper Palace were some of the national pro level teams that came to race. Local Utah teams included Intermountain LiVe Well p/b Bountiful Bikes, DNA p/b K4, Canyon Bicycles Shimano composite team.
On a warm, but thankfully not too hot August 6, 2014, the women raced 15 laps of the 2.2 mile Miller Motorsports Park Circuit. With a bit of wind and rolling terrain, the course was fast and challenging.
Racers tried numerous times to get away. Early on, Alison Powers went and tried to soften up the field. A Colavita rider came with her, but they didn’t last long out front.
Soon after, Kelsey Withrow (DNA) attacked, but that was short lived. Anne Perry of DNA said, “The team plan was to with the early moves and try and get in the break…The team was really happy. We did a good job of executing the plan. We were aggressive and well represented with almost every move.”
A Team Tibco rider and three others tried to get away shortly thereafter with the same result – they were reeled in quickly.
Idaho’s Heather Albert (Canyon Bicycles Shimano) gave it a shot – with the same result.
The course was hard, but not hard enough to be selective with the deepest women’s field Utah has ever seen.
DNA kept at it, with Breanne Nalder attacking with 5 laps to go and holding a solo lead for 2 laps before being brought back. Anne Perry countered, and stayed away for a lap and a half. A half a lap too short.
For her effort and for earlier attacks, Nalder won the race’s most aggressive rider jersey.
UnitedHealthCare kept the pressure up on the front. National Criterium Champion Powers (UnitedHealthCare) worked to control the race and keep things together for UHC’s star sprinter, Coryn Rivera.
Describing the last lap, Rivera said, “It was a little hectic, we had a (another team’s) solo rider off the front (Anne Perry of DNA). We were a little worried about it. But we stayed patient. Come 2K to go, we knew we had to take it in our hands to chase it down. One of my teammates Scotti (Wilborne) hit the front to bring it together. With a K and half to go, it was all together and we knew it would come down to a field sprint. Alison Powers and Scotti Wilborne were definitely doing their job. As per usual, Alison Powers did her job and had a massive leadout and delivered me to the line.”
And Rivera did deliver with an incredible kick that saw her take the one in front of a thousand screaming fans.
The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition was a huge success. Race Director Alex Kim said, “It was a really fun race to watch. They raced hard. And that helped seal the deal for the race to be back next year.” While no details have been announced, look for the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition to be held again next year during the Tour of Utah, which will be held from August 3-9, 2015.
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Women’s Edition, Tooele, UT, August 6, 2014
1. Coryn Rivera, United Healthcare 1:16:20
2. Mandy Heintz, Guru Cycles p/b Haute Wheels Racing 1:16:20
3. Meredith Miller, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling 1:16:20
4. Laura Van, Guru Cycles p/b Haute Wheels Racing 1:16:20
5. Tina Pic, DNA Cycling p/b K4 1:16:20
For full results, see page 14. For a full report on the Cedar City Gran Prix, the women’s pro race held during stage 1, see cyclingutah.com.