St. Louis, MO - Brooke Miller and Team TIBCO have swept the four-race Women's Tour of Missouri Series, part of the Gateway Cup in St. Louis this Labor Day weekend. The four-rider squad, which included Katharine Carroll, Alison Starnes and Rushlee Buchanan, had to contend with full rosters from teams like Colavita/Sutter Home and Team Type 1. Yet they still delivered Miller to four consecutive victories.
This morning, on a course that covered part of the circuit for today's opening stage of the men's Tour of Missouri, Miller once again took advantage of a stealth leadout from Carroll.
"It's our new tactic, leadout from behind," Miller joked.
Coming into the final lap, Miller was situated behind the Colavita train, with Carroll behind her on her wheel. With about 500 meters to go, as she had done Saturday, Carroll launched from behind Miller, who jumped on her wheel. Carroll dove the final two corners and dropped off Miller coming out of the last turn with 200 meters to go.
Miller powered up the slightly uphill finishing straight for the victory. "I tried to be patient with my sprint because it was uphill," Miller said. "I was sitting behind Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Kelly Benjamin (Colavita) and Tina Pic (Colavita). Tina was really going for it today. But Kat put a monkey wrench in Colavita's plans."
With just four riders, Team TIBCO needed to race aggressively and intelligently all weekend. But most important, they had to race cohesively to pull off the wins.
Today's race was another fast and aggressive affair. There were a lot of attacks early, but with the course layout, including a downhill section on the backside, nothing was sticking.
With two laps to go, Starnes went to the front with Buchanan to set up a leadout, but also to keep an eye out for late attacks. Riders from both Value Act Capital and Lip Smackers put in late moves, but the TIBCO duo shut down everything. With Starnes and Buchanan burning matches keeping things together, Miller and Carroll used their experience to work off of their rivals' leadouts, with Carroll perfectly positioning Miller for the final sprint.
Sunday's race was the closest of the four, with Miller narrowly holding off Benjamin for the win. As with today's race, Starnes and Buchanan were covering late moves Sunday, so the full Team TIBCO leadout train wasn't an option.
Instead, Carroll took over the front of the race with one lap to go. Kori Seehafer (Team Type 1) was on her wheel, while Miller sat behind Seehafer, with Benjamin on her wheel.
"Kat opened it up on the hill on the backside of the course," Miller said. "Because it was downhill from the final corner to the line, I knew it was going to be a long sprint. So I decided to go early."
She came out of the last corner in good position, sitting third wheel, but Benjamin was right on her. When Miller went, it actually allowed Benjamin to slingshot off her wheel. The Colavita rider came up alongside Miller on her left, and from there, it was a flat out drag race to the line. Miller put out just enough power to hold on for the win and keep the Team TIBCO winning streak alive.
Including her win at the Chris Thater Memorial last weekend, Miller finished out the season by winning five races in a row.
"The team raced great this weekend," she said. "This was a fun way to finish off the season."
Tamayo takes 2nd in Atlanta 10K Classic
Atlanta, GA - Team TIBCO's Lauren Tamayo finished off her season with 2nd place at the Atlanta 10K Classic this morning. The unusual race is run on a wide, straight 10km stretch of road in Atlanta, with three rollers, the last one cresting 400 meters from the finish line. The race, which started at 7:20 a.m. local time and was over within 20 minutes, amounts to a cross between a time trial and a sprint.
"There were a couple of attacks early," said Tamayo, who raced alongside teammate Emma Rickards. "We left a lot of the work covering moves to other teams. Emma and I countered some of the moves. But everyone was pretty much interested in keeping the race together."
Coming over the final hill, three riders were dangling off the front. "It's the kind of finish where if you can get a gap over the top of the last hill you can hold it downhill to the line," Tamayo said. "So I jumped just after the crest of the hill and caught the three girls out front. Unfortunately, I also gave Erica (Allar, BMW) a leadout to the line."
Allar took advantage of the situation to come around Tamayo for the win.
Photo (c) John Pierce