April 3, 2011
Erinne Willock had her eyes open for opportunities to move up on GC all weekend. She finished 2nd overall in the hard-fought four-stage race.
Redlands, California – Team TIBCO/To the Top’s Erinne Willock and Carmen Small came into the final stage of the Redlands Classic holding 2nd and 4th overall, respectively.
“We wanted to try and put pressure on HTC-Columbia and see if we could move up a bit higher,” said Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt. “It was a great race. Things basically went according to plan.”
The plan had to be adjusted pre-race due to the absence of Team TIBCO’s Alison Powers, who was crashed out of the criterium Saturday and was unable to start today.
“It was a hard day with out having Alison with us,” Small said. “She is a huge asset to the team and she was missed.”
It didn’t take long for a lead group to form, with the peloton shattering the first time up the climb on lap one.
“We went after the time bonus trying to move Erinne up,” Hunt said. “She got second and a group of 14 including all the top riders on GC stayed away for most of the race.”
The main field eventually caught the front group with three of the nine laps remaining, “but it kept splitting,” Hunt said.
Things regrouped over the next two laps, but on the final lap, the field broke apart for good, with a group of nine riders, including Willock and Small, along with overall leader Amber Neben (HTC-Highroad), as well as most of the top overall riders staying away to the finish.
“At that point, we knew that taking the overall wasn’t likely, so we really wanted to get the stage win,” Hunt said. “Cath (Cheatley, Colavita) jumped really hard at the end and Carmen just couldn’t close the gap. We really went for it today though. I’m happy. They rode a great race.”
Instead, Small settle for 2nd on the stage, holding onto her 4th overall, with Willock finishing with the front group and maintaining 2nd overall. Willock was satisfied with the results, and happy with the way the Team worked.
“Redlands was great,” she said. “We had great teamwork and we’re happy with how things turned out. We got several stage podiums and 2nd and 4th overall. We’re already looking forward to our next stage race at Gila.”
Photo by Jonathan Devich, Epic Images
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