In a brand stinking new Stars & Stripes jersey, US Crit (and Road) Champion Brooke Miller (Tibco) won the bunch sprint at the inaugural Women's Criterium at the Tour of Missouri. Erica Allar (Aaron's) was second and Jen McRae (Advil/Chapstick) was third.

The field might have been small with only thirty-something riders at the start line, but the racing was big. In front of an enthusiastic crowds, the women put on a show for 55 minutes (+ 5 laps) in the Country Club Plaza, Kansas City's premiere entertainment, shopping and dining destination.

"It was such a great race out there. It's always fun when people come out and race their bikes, and it was pretty much strung out from the beginning. I get giddy in nice, hard races, I really wanted a hard race today. I had Amber and Lauren and literally they raced a flawless race, they were aggressive when they needed to be and covered everything. I had a few riders I was watching, at that 5 laps to go, that prime. Amber took it, I screamed so loud. It was really fun where you turn out with all these great riders and really race your bike your bike tactically, and Lauren and Amber just raced tactically flawlessly today. We had so much fun out there, the peloton was great, it was a real fun environment and a good exciting crowd, it was really fun." said Brooke.

"The last 3 laps, Colavita tried to get their leadout train going and then, Cheerwine took over. Going into the last lap, Cheerwine took over, and I was sitting back on Lauren, people were fighting me to Lauren's wheel because they know what a fabulous leadout rider she is. So coming over on the backside, we got shoved back, she moved up through a couple of small holes, went through the last couple of corners really fast and that's when I left her, I was sitting behind a rider I didn't know but I was watching Jen McRae, I was planning on having a little bit of a later sprint, it's a nice drag race. I jumped around 250 meters to go."

"Because Tibco, Cheerwine and ValueAct all had strong teams today and it's just my teammate Meredith [Miller] and I, we were pretty much not on the offensive or defensive. I just wanted to go with people, not necessarily chase things down, but really allow the others to do most of the work in the race today and that ended up happening." said Erica.

"It's a really long finish from the last corner to the line and I was sitting on Brooke coming in with two to go, I marked her and I lost her wheel coming into the first corner but found it again on the back straight and just hung with it, I knew she was the one to mark. As soon as she went, I just stuck to her wheel and followed it, tried to come around her a little bit but she was really strong and fast."

All photos copyright Lyne Lamoureux