April 2, 2011
Carmen Small used a time bonus to move up to 5th overall at Redlands today.
Redlands, California – The Downtown Redlands Criterium, the third stage of the Redlands Classic, proved to be a fast, technical and nervous affair.
“It was really a bit squirrelly out there today,” said Team TIBCO/To the Top’s Carmen Small. “There was a lot of craziness going on. The crit always is because the course is pretty technical, and it’s the first NRC race of the year. You take 100-plus girls and put them on a tight course for fast crit, and this can happen.”
While Team TIBCO didn’t figure in the top of the stage finish, the Team took advantage of the time bonuses on offer during the intermediate sprints to send a little shudder through the overall standings.
Coming to the line for the second time-bonus sprint lap, Samantha Schneider, Alison Powers and Meredith Miller lined it up on the front to put Erinne Willock and Small in position to grab a few seconds and move up the overall. The move worked, with Willock and Small taking 2nd and 3rd in the sprint. While Willock remained 3rd overall, she did move within 0:05 of 2nd overall Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Highroad). Small’s bonus time allowed her to leapfrog up one place to 5th overall.
The Team was looking to set up Small for the finish, but those plans were dashed when Powers was taken out in the final few laps of the race.
“We were already trying to save Erinne, so she wasn’t doing a lot of work today,” Small said.” We had more to cover because of that. With Ali out, it added to our work load. I’d say we did more work today than we anticipated. We had to do what we had to do though.”
Team Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt took Powers to the hospital after the race for X-rays on her elbow.
“She was just past the start/finish line, and they were flying,” Hunt Said. “A rider went down right in front of her and Ali basically went over top of her. She tucked and rolled but hit her elbow. She’s lucky. Honestly, they were going fast, she could be a lot worse off.”
Still, the damage was significant. Powers broke her funny bone and won’t be starting the final-stage Sunset Road Race.
“With Alison going down, it’s a huge hit to us for tomorrow,” Small said. “She’s a great rider. She’s super strong, and it’s hard to lose her.”
Hunt agreed with Small, but added, “the girls rode a great race today, and we moved Erinne and Carmen up a bit today. We’re going to do everything we can to move them up higher tomorrow.”
The final stage covers nine trips around the vaunted Sunset Loop, totaling 68 miles.
Photo by Jonathan Devich, Epic Images
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