Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare) takes top step, with Carmen Small (DNA Cycling) in second and Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco) in third. Photo: Mitch Clinton
SILVER CITY, NM (May 3, 2014) UnitedHealthcare's Alison Powers stamped her authority over her rivals today, launching a crushing last lap attack on her four breakaway companions and rode clear for the win.
Carmen Small, who's guest riding with development team DNA Racing and is leading the points competition, took second over Joanne Kiesanowski (TIBCO) and Jessica Cerra (FCS).
Irish racer Olivia Dillon (Colavita) took fifth, winning the bunch sprint.
Race conditions were ideal as spectators lined the course to watch the pro women set off on 25 laps around downtown Silver City, totaling of 27 miles.
The pace was high from the start, with the first bonus sprint, around five laps in, creating an early split in the bunch. Powers, Kiesanowski, Small and Cerra quickly got a gap and held it for the rest of the race, despite Twenty16's collective efforts to bring back the break.
With eight laps left to race, Vanderkitten's Amy Charity took a solo flyer out of the bunch but was reeled back after around a lap.
As the four leaders headed into the finishing straight for their last lap, Alison Powers (UHC) has already attacked and had a small gap.
Alison Powers (UHC) launches the winning attack. Photo By Rebecca Reza
"The last lap of the race I was just suffering to try to stay ahead of Carmen, and Jo and Jessica," Powers said. "But I knew I needed to attack before the last lap because I didn't want it to come to a sprint finish, and I didn't want to lead everybody out but with two laps to go is a little far with the elevation and the racing in our legs so I waited for a nice time with a just a little over of a lap to go to attack."
Despite the inevitable New Mexico winds picking up speed in the latter part of the race, it wasn't a factor for Powers. After she attacked, one lap was enough for the US National Criterium Champion to hold on by a few seconds for the win.
None of the race jersey's changed hands the women set off on the last stage of this year's edition of the Tour of the Gila. The 68-mile race is also the Queen stage with 5,610 feet of climbing and 4,714 feet of descending. Two bonus sprints and three QOM sprints are on tap, but the bonus sprints won't matter to Carmen Small, who already has enough her sprinter's jersey locked in.
After starting at Gough Park in Silver City, the route offers up multiple climbs before the final push to the finish line in Pinos Altos, seven miles north of Silver City. The finishing sprint is on a gradually rising grade.
NRC Women Results
Top 3 on Stage 4 - Downtown Silver City Criterium
Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare)
Carmen Small (DNA Cycling)
Joanne Kiesanowski (Team Tibco)
Town of Silver City Leader's Jersey: Mara Abbott (UnitedHealthcare)
PNM Sprinter Leader Jersey: Carmen Small (DNA)
Freeport-McMoRan King of the Mountain Jersey: Flavia Oliveira (FCS)
Southwest Bone & Joint Institute Best Young Rider: Abagail Mickey (TWENTY16)