Team High Road's Emilia Fahlin won her second race of the weekend in the Merco Cycling Classic Road Race on Sunday March third in Merced, California. Fahlin easily won the bunch sprint ahead of Tibco's Rushlee Buchanan who also finished second in the Saturday Criterium, and Proman's Virginia Perkins.

Her teammates Kim Anderson and Anche Wichman kept the pace fast at the front of the field and then Fahlin looked after herself in the final meters. "I had Anche and Kim with such good help in the last corner and the climb so that just perfect. I headed off from Anche's wheel and then I didn't see anybody." said Fahlin.

With her back-to-back wins, Fahlin was enjoying the weekend. "It's been a really good weekend for all, the team is racing really strong, it's been fun and we learn to race with each other."

The 72 miles, or 3 loops of a rolling hill course surrounded by blooming almond trees were raced aggressively. Attacks were unsuccessfully launched until High Road's Mara Abbott launched her solo foray on the second lap just before the feed zone.

"The plan was to try and be aggressive, we did a lot of attacking in the second lap, but it's really windy so if you don't have anyone with you, it's hard to stay away. Mara managed to stay away for the most significant break of the race but she was on her own." said High Road directeur Kristy Scrymgeour.

Mara Abbott attacks the field

The other teams including Tibco and Proman let Abbott dangle in front always in view and gobbled her up in the last lap.

"Mara Abbott was up the front, we had some people at the front, and Proman was at the front and we were just watching Mara, making sure she didn't get out of sight." said Buchanan.

After the catch, the peloton slowed down, preparing for the final attacks and counter moves and the final bunch sprint.

"With 10k to go, some attacks again were started from my team, we tried to get something going, otherwise we go for the sprint." said Fahlin.

In the last kilometer, Amber Rais (Tibco) and Abbott attacked, increasing the speed of the peloton, and launching the sprinters.

"Coming about 1k out there, it's a bit rolly and Amber and Mara attacked and they crested the hill first and then I just jumped on the High Road train, but Emilia just got the jump on me, she's really strong." said Buchanan.

Fahlin doesn't consider her form to be close to one hundred percent. "Because I'm used to starting my season in April, so I didn't think I was ready to race at all at this time of year but it has been going better than I expected so that's just great, maybe I can hope for a good year."

Emilia Fahlin enjoys his victory

Top 10 Results
  1. Emilia Fahlin (Team High Road - Women)
  2. Rushlee Buchanan (TEAM TIBCO)
  3. Virginia Perkins (PROMAN Racing)
  4. Laura Charameda (Dewars Racing Team)
  5. Taitt Sato (ValueAct Capital)
  6. Amanda Seigle (code 3 racing)
  7. Ginger Hsieh (Team Rock)
  8. Ashley Dymond (Team Rock)
  9. Morgan Kapp (South Bay Wheelman)
  10. Heather Sborz (Vanderkitten)
All photos copyright Lyne Lamoureux.

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